No Reserve Montana Ranch Truck: 1956 IH S-120 4×4

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I’ve had the pleasure of writing a number of articles about old, simple ‘n plain survivor pickups that were real workhorses. One spent its life in an orchard in Utah, another got their bumps and bruises doing grain elevator duty in North Dakota, and this one here has lived its life in the Big Sky Country of Montana involved with ranching, hunting elk and deer, and fishing. The sellers states the same ranch family owned the truck from 1961-2022 and has a copy of the 1961 Montana title with the ranch name on it. Currently located in Winston, Montana, this 1956 International Harvester S-120 4×4 is for sale at No Reserve here on eBay. As of this writing, it had generated 29 bids with the top one sitting at $6,350. Another thanks to T.J. from Big Tips Country for sending this cool survivor pickup truck our way.

The seller says this was a barn find but doesn’t go into details, but nonetheless, it’s one cool looking survivor with an authentic amount of personality, patina, nicks, and dents. It even has an old-school winch in front which the seller identifies as a Braden LU-2 PTO 8,000-lb. winch. Trucks were getting more comfortable and fashionable in the mid-50’s, and even offering two-tone paint. A paint sheet from ’56 showed 12 very colorful two-tone schemes including Cambrian Coral and Magnolia Ivory, Willow Green and Black Canyon Black and this truck’s combination of Harvester Red and Magnolia Ivory. I’m sure it was very attractive when new, but now it’s faded, especially the Harvester Red, and has the usual patina sunburn from working and playing outdoors for nearly 70 years. Overall the truck looks solid and all there, but I wish the seller had included a photo of the bed.

The cab’s Magnolia Ivory color is continued inside the simple, rather spartan (and mostly metal) interior. It looks original and hasn’t been monkeyed with. The radio-delete instrument panel and gauges look good as does the steering wheel and glass and there are a number of photos showing the condition of the floors. The bench seat is original and obviously needs to be reupholstered and the seller says the headliner needs work as well. The window crank is missing from the passenger door.

There’s one photo of the S-120’s cool-looking front hood (that opens from the right or left side) and its dusty power plant. According to the longterm owners, the 240-cubic inch, 141-horsepower six cylinder engine is original and was in good running condition when the truck was parked in a barn several years ago. The engine turns over and will start with priming gas but isn’t currently drivable. It will need ignition, fuel, and brake work and the other usual things needed to make it roadworthy again. I really like the looks and mojo of this rugged-looking old survivor 4×4. Ford and Chevy trucks get most of the attention, so it’s a nice change of pace to show what other truck manufacturers (in this case, International Harvester) were offering farmers, ranchers, and folks in the mid-1950’s.

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. HoA Howard AMember

    Another of IHs “1 hit wonders”. The S series was only for ’56, and was pretty much the same offering as previous years. The A series, also 1 hit wonder, came out in ’57, a totally new truck, although, IH, and others, used this cab well into the 70s in a variety of equipment. To be clear, the hoods on these tilt right or left, or could be removed altogether. I believe this is the BD240, about 108 hp, compound low 4 speed, and VERY low gears, like 5:13s, and ANY highway travel should be carefully reconsidered. The rear bumper tells me it was a clearly a “farm” truck, and pulled a lot of wagons, I’m sure. Cool find.

    Like 13
  2. Harvey HarveyMember

    Neat old truck.

    Like 6
  3. PeteMcgee

    Talk about rolling history! Belongs in a museum. Howard is right, new owner will want to stay off the high speed roads and highways, the angry raging soccer moms in SUVs and the posuers in big boy lifted trucks won’t be happy behind this old war horse! Gotta get to the Starbucks quick you know. Guess that’s what is so great about this rig, it’s from an era where there were no angry raging soccer moms, dudes in bro-dozer trucks, or Starbucks.

    Like 21
    • Eric B

      Indeed. I’ve been searching for a time machine for years now. I think the best we can do to try to escape it is to hold on to relics from the past as a reminder of better days.

      Like 5
  4. geomechs geomechsMember

    For the time these were the most popular 4×4 out west. I’m looking for parts for these all the time.

    My dad bought one back in the day and even though he got turned off of 4×4 (misinformed decision) that S-120 still sees daily operation on another ranch, east of us, in the Sweetgrass Hills.

    Very tough truck. I would love to take a project like this one on. Chrome pieces can be challenging and frustrating to find, especially when you find out that you can still get the headlight rings for the L and R series from Navistar. Lots of good Facebook pages on the L through S Series. You’ll be surfing through them…

    Like 10
  5. TheOldRanger

    I remember seeing one like this back in 1956 when I lived just outside Yelm Washington on a strawberry farm. I was a kid working in the fields during the summer months, but picked several different items besides strawberries… hated the raspberry with those thorny vines.

    Like 5
  6. BigDaddyBonz

    Cool old truck. If only I was 20 years (make that 30) years younger. What a great project to work on with my son. Leave it looking stock with some fresh paint and interior work. Fun to dream ‘what if?’

    Like 2
  7. Chris in WNC

    Tow-Mater.
    I love it!

    Like 0

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