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Mystery Contractor’s Work Truck


Last week one of our readers emailed us about an International truck that they just purchased at an estate sale. Apparently it had been parked since 1968! It is solid though and has some interesting hand-painted lettering on the sides and tailgate. They have done some research in an attempt to find more information about the previous owner or the associated company, but haven’t had any luck. So, they hoped that we might be able to dig something up. Thanks for sharing this with us Sherry!


We all love old work trucks, but even more so when they have their original logos and lettering still intact. Looks like this one was once used by L.C. Smith Contractor & Builder of Chester Springs, Pennsylvania. Chester Springs is a small town, so there could be a few old timers still around who might remember the previous owner. It has been parked for a while though and there is no telling how long the proprietor was in business.


Luckily the new owner has the good sense to leave the exterior alone. They plan to just clean up the interior, make it safe, and drive it. Well, after getting rid of the snakes of course! This one reminds me of a similar truck that Josh and I spotted about a year ago. It too was an International complete with hand-painted lettering. Makes you wonder how many old work trucks are still out there waiting to be found.


So, any suggestions of how to locate more details about this truck’s past? A simple internet search doesn’t turn up anything, but there has to be some printed records somewhere that could yield a few clues about its past. What do you guys think? Either way, this is a neat old truck that any of us would be proud to have in our garages. Please keep us updated on your progress Sherry! We would love to see how it turns out.


  1. JP

    Town hall, perhaps? Should be some business records there… Love the truck!

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  2. sunbeamdon

    How cool that fellow barn-finders are willing to preserve history; I would clean-up and straighten as much as possible without changing the character of the truck. Improve safety and drivability, enjoy. It wouldn’t be too far fetched to slide the body onto a modern drive train and have the best of both worlds!

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  3. jim s

    that truck looks great. still ready to work after all these years. i would love to see this on the road. please keep the pictures coming. i would push the front bumper back to get it closer to the fenders, but not replace it. but then again a peice of 3″ or 4″ channel iron would make a fine front bumper, i have done that on some of my trucks. i would rather drive something like this then any of the new truck on the market today. great find

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  4. Leo

    Cool truck. I would restore all the mechanicals and lightly sand the body with. 1200 just to take a smidge of the surface rust off and then clear coat it. Had a 64 Ford F-350 with a 9′ stepside bed that i was going to restore but ended up selling it. Regret it. :(

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    • Brian

      Leo, I like your idea of a clearcoat preservative. A good painter, or maybe even an airbrush artist could probably do some touch up, after the small rusty spots are cleaned up and de-rustified, and make the new paint appear aged. Maybe a flat or satin clear would help maintain the weathered look while providing protection, so long as you can match the new clear to whatever old paint in on there. I’d be kicking myself if I sprayed the wrong clear on there and it lifted the paint I was trying to preserve! Yikes!

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  5. jim s

    that is a great truck and find. it looks like it is ready to get back to work after all these years. i would push the front bumper back closer to the fenders, but not replace it. but then again a piece of 3″ or 4″ channel iron would do just fine, i have done that to some of my trucks. i would love to see this on the road. i hope the new owner will keep us updated. i would rather drive this then the new trucks they sell today. thanks for sharing.

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  6. Idaho_Guy

    Contact the Chester County Historical Society

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  7. Idaho_Guy

    Also doing a search on Ancestry.com if you have an account for “L.C. Smith” and “Chester Springs, Pennsylvania”
    Should find lots of records–newspaper and town phone directories, by year. Also 1940 Federal census will list occupation, address, etc.
    Good luck.

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  8. stanley stalvey

    Oh, I love this stuff, especially old towing rigs. I drove a mid seventies IH pickup with a long bed for the Navy back in 1976. You could be cruising at 70 mph then stomp the gas pedal and it would do a burnout with tire squall at that speed. The clutch was so hard with heavy duty springs it hurt the bottom of my foot just to mash the pedal. I really enjoyed the power of that truck routinely.. It’s my only experience with an International Harvester product.. Loved it.!!!

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  9. geomechs geomechs Member

    Looks like a ’40 D2 (earlier ones didn’t have the park lights on the fenders) LWB. Good find! A good cleanup and then a careful preservation. With the dents to the fenders and grill, I’d be tempted to get those straightened out and touched up. Might even give the fenders a re-spray but nothing too glossy. No need to perform a total restoration (I’ve got a ’38 but it’s rough and the only way for it is a body-off job). This one would be good to drive and enjoy.

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  10. Leon

    Look in library for old city directories and phone books

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  11. Dave Scott

    She could check at the supply co. in the town of Chester, hardware stores, Look for the older guys. lol.. Look at the city for lic. for the co. Something can be found. Good luck

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  12. rancho bella

    My favorite things in life are dogs, old sport cars and old pickups………..
    what a delight this is.

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  13. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    You’d think that whoever is selling the estate would be related to Mr. Smith. Or at least whoever is conducting the sale would know of relatives. Especially since the truck has been in the barn for 46 years.

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  14. John

    Local historical society should have old business directories. If the owner isn’t too close to the historical society he may be able to get the info over the phone.

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  15. gunningbar

    No respraying fenders…..no fender fills…maybe straighten the bumper a little…light preservation only (stop the rust). Beautiful find.

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  16. Smitty

    You can also join the Chester Springs FB page and ask. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chester-Springs-Pennsylvania/109820232370537

    Someone there might know the guy or can find an old phone book.

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  17. Leon C Smith

    I would like to own this truck. It’s got my name all over it, in more ways than one. It’s been a while since I’ve had an IHC truck.

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    • Erica

      L.C. Smith stands for Levi Calvin Smith of Chester Springs, PA.

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    • Leon Smith

      Hey, what’s your middle name? I’m Leon Charles Smith in Fultonville NY.

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  18. Carguy

    Personally, I would do a complete restoration and include the painting of the letters and signage, it would make a real nice historic resto. Kind of like the whole keep it original thing too, but I would be too afraid of tetanus, and it degrading further. All in all nice find, lucky guy, Love the history.

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    Hey Rancho – is there limit to the cars (and trucks) we are smitten with?

    I think not!

    As to dogs – if it’s got Lab’ blood in its lineage – well that’s as good as it gets – mongrels are for living!

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  20. ConservativesDefeated

    Too cool for school.

    I sure hope they send some pix in when its up and running.love to see more detail.

    Lucky folks!

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  21. Shilo

    Just go to a local Chester Springs diner that was around in the sixties. Strike up a conversation with the waitress then go from there. Small town people would love to tell you about it. Better still drive it there. Super cool truck. I would love to have it!!!

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  22. Brad

    There’s an L.C. Smith listed on a background check site… says he’s 71 and still lives in Chester Springs. Could be a relative… another site (newspapers.com) mentions a 1952 wedding for Franklin, son of L.C. Smith of Chester Springs. A Franklin Smith is listed as being 98 and still living there – a phone number is listed too. Lastly, another old scanned article from 1954 says he had a daughter named Margaret Ann.

    It’s a long shot, but would be fantastic to find a living relative and see if the truck appears in any old family photos.

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    • Sherry

      could you e mail me the phone# you found for Franklin Smith. Also tried the newspaper link, but I don’t have an account. Thanks for all your help!

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      • Debra Millsap

        I believe you are the owner of my grandfather’s truck (mystery contractor’s truck). Your last posting requested a phone number for Franklin Smith, who was my Uncle, but is deceased. Please contact me about the truck!!!!

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  23. Brad

    Sherry, I don’t see any way to email you privately… but since I googled this info easily, I guess there’s no harm reposting the link:

    I didn’t have a newspaper acct. either, there was a transcript of the newspaper scan at the bottom of the vague announcements he was mentioned in. Good luck, and do keep us posted! That truck is quite a score.

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  24. Alan (Michigan)

    This for me is top 5 ranking among the coolest Barn Finds ever posted here.

    Love this truck! What a beauty.

    Hope we get updates when it is rolling on the road under its’ own power.

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  25. bruce

    phone co. in chester, especially if there is any recognizeable phone no. prefixes

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  26. chris duerr

    I own the LC Smith property that the truck came from. Call me I want the truck!!!!!

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  27. Debra Millsap

    I just saw the article for Mystery Contractor’s Work Truck from August, 2014. I am the granddaughter of L.C. Smith, who owned the truck. My grandfather started his own business when he was 16 years old and it was the only truck he owned for his business. I would love to talk to the owner, as I had many rides in the back, when I was a little girl.

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  28. sunbeamdon

    Good morning from Seattle – sunny, warming, nary a cloud in the sky, a Perry Como kinda’ morning.

    Drabra – this is one of the best BF threads ever – the only thing better than getting a ride would have been your re-acquiring this old beauty – “preservating” it for family and friends.

    Best of luck in the quest; some of us old farts (are you there Rancho) love these nostalgia pieces. Now back to CPAing it.

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  29. chris

    Here is the truck at my residence back in the day.

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  30. Woodie Man

    Chris’ post makes what Barn Finds is all about…..connecting us to shared experiences . I’ll bet Debra Milsap above is going to be tickled pink. Her grandfathers truck AND house appear like magic on this site.

    Great fun. I hope she sees it

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  31. chris

    My barn find in 2005. It needs LC’s old pickup to keep it company.

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  32. Joshua L Smith

    Does anyone know where this truck is now? It was my Great Grandfather’s and I would love to know what happened to it. Thank you in advance for any information about it.

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