No Reserve Workhorse: 1953 International Harvester

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It’s a common fear among us gearheads that we’ll find an awesome project and then proceed to have life get in the way of ever working on it. And, because car collecting is a disease, it’s just one more project on a plate of projects that is seemingly always too full. The seller of this well-patina’d 1953 International Harvester pickup here on eBay is overloaded, and letting his latest find go at no-reserve. 

That weathered paint job is so perfect, I hope it never gets re-painted. This also goes to show you that those individuals who attempt to “fake” years’ worth of sun damage, weather damage and half-assed repaints have nothing on the genuine article. The seller claims says it was parked in 2002 needing a new clutch and the carb rebuilt, which is how he bought it. He has the parts but never found time to do the work.

The truck does have some rust, but it’s difficult to assess under the multi-colored paint job. What’s reassuring to me is how well the doors, hood and fenders still seem to line up with the body. Although I’m not an expert on old International pickups, one could say the body is quite straight, but we’d need more information on where the rust is hiding. To me, the best part of the design are the split windows on the back of the cab.

Under the hood, things appear to be pleasingly original, but no word on if the mill is numbers-matching. Other issues include a missing rear tailgate and non-original seats in the cab. If the rust isn’t too prevalent, these are simple issues to sort, along with getting the truck running if it is indeed only sidelined by a bad clutch and old carb. At no reserve, it could be worth the risk – what do you think?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. HoA Howard AMember

    Wow, if this truck had a 1 piece back window, and a 3 on the tree, I had this exact truck. Same blue/primer. That’s the Silver Diamond 220 six, about 90 hp, and that’s a creative tail gate there, good luck finding a stock one ( that someone would actually part with) No front bearing cap, so that’s shot, but that front grill is good. Mine, the parking lights ( not turn signals, originally) and most others I’ve seen, were gone. Not the best for today’s roads, straight front axle, meager brakes and a resto-mod would probably be the best thing for this. I used to take mine on the highway, but 55-60, that ol’ SD was a hammerin’ away ( but never failed) Nice find.

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  2. Ed P

    I find it amazing that Cornbinders had OHV engines when most other vehicles had flatheads.

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    • geomechs geomechsMember

      Hi Ed. Binder ran a flathead six in the smaller trucks right up through ’49. It was known as the Green Diamond and it came in 213 and 232 CID displacements. The larger trucks used OHV configurations from the KB6 on up. 1950 was a major change in the design and styling and Binder brought out the Silver Diamond 220 for the smaller trucks.

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      • jackthemailman

        I learned to drive in the summer of 1962 in a ’47 International. Damned flathead six was so weak, I had to back up steep hills. Pops traded it for a ’53 Chevy with a rebuilt stovebolt six. I thought I’d died and gpone to heaven.

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      • Ed P

        Thanks geo

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  3. geomechs geomechsMember

    Wow! What goes on here? Has Barn Finds now joined forces with Binder Planet? This looks like a great project but it’s got to be done up the right way. No sin in fixing it up properly. If you wanted a tad more power and speed, you could up the axle ratio and drop in a BD 240/264 that will get you up to 60. Myself, I’m content with 55 so the SD220 will do just fine.

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  4. Beemoe

    I’ve a ’53 in my shed and have owned quite a few. These old beasts were commonly feared to run at a meager 45-50 mph, but with the right gears keep up with highway traffic quite well. Even the brakes hold up if adjusted properly (which often isn’t the case). IH trucks have always been overbuilt and these are no exception. They were built to run all day long, but at the lower end of the rpm range. Over rev them and they will be short lived.

    I once bought a ’54 with a frozen engine. Put Marvel Mystery oil in each cylinder, let it sit a few days, put in a new 6v battery, gas in the carb and vrooom. A week later Indrive it from Baltimore to Springfield OH to the IH Nationals.

    This one has a few optional upgrades, including the chrome headlight rings and hood latch handles. It also has the hard to find (in decent shape) front bumper and optional deluxe oil filter.

    The bed is the big question mark, since it’s covered with a big sheet of steel. Otherwise it looks like a very solid truck.

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    • Beemoe

      Danged edit tool timed out on me. Feared = geared above. 😬
      Also, these trucks rode much better with a heavy load in the bed.

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  5. G.P.Member

    I will never understand why anybody would think that a car/truck with this many old, ugly paint jobs looks good. It’s butt ugly. Nice paint, nice looking truck.

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  6. JunkieTruck

    Another one of my dad’s favorite old trucks, he wouldn’t drive anything else.I have fond memories of sitting beside him when I was a kid,cruising out through the country in an old international just like this,going nowhere in particular, just going for a drive. This is a nice old truck, I would get it roadworthy and save, and just drive it like it is.

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  7. JunkieTruck

    Safe, not save. Voice text.

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  8. HoA Howard AMember

    This truck is missing the grill emblem. Did you know, that IH emblem is supposed to be the front view of a person on a tractor? I always thought, as a kid, it said “HI”.

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  9. Jerry A

    my very first vehicle was a 1954 L100 International p.u. solid truck with ‘three-on-a-tree’. i was in high school in the ’70’s when i got it. the truck above looks like a ’54 because i was given a 1953 L110 with a ‘4-on-the-floor’ transmission and the grill was different, with vertical slats (i actually preferred the earlier version). kept both trucks until the late 80’s and had trouble GIVING them away at the time. who’d of known…? gas guzzling, slow-pokes, but a lot of fun at the time. the L100 had more of a heavy car suspension with a shortbed, whereas the L110 was more standard truck fare with longbed. i’ve never seen another L100, but wish i had the room to have kept the L110.

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