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Preppers Paradise: 1972 IH 1710 Rolling Lab

I have to admit – it’s always been a dream. Not to have a “…mobile command center with a controlled environmental room…”, like the 1972 International Harvester found here on Craigslist thanks to reader AMXBrian has, but to retro-mod a very cool RV. Surprisingly, I bet this zombie apocalypse worthy vehicle just might be a great base to start with!

Granted, you have to stretch your imagination a bit to get past the Breaking Bad look, at the Prison Bus feel – but the bones of this build are there. The interior of the cab on this 1972 model 1710 looks to be in good shape, and (as are all of the Harvester’s from this era) – is purely utilitarian. With minimalism all the rage today, you have to appreciate the starkness of its design. That theme carried into the construction of the Lab-Line 21-foot rolling laboratory – but you can see from the seller’s pictures that they packed quite a bit of function into a small space.

Piecing together what’s pictured, the driver’s side has a full double sink, steel countertop leading to a long wood workbench, high-voltage electrical and an expansive of shoulder height cabinets. On the passenger side seems to be a Formica drafting table and sliding drawers that lead to a shower-sized freezer. You can see ventilation and cooling units, and a horrifying little wooden door that I fully expect blood-thirsty clowns to jump out of after purchasing it.

Still, if you were able to ward off the clowns, it’s not hard to envision an amazing off-road style modern RV, or a Preppers Paradise. Personally, I’d make it a vision of stainless steel, flat black cabinetry, and all the modern trappings of modern recreational vehicles – massive TV, full bathroom, full kitchen, even a roll-out porch area (since the seller says it has a ramp in the rear!). A trailer for my twin Ducati Monsters’, a full ‘fridge, the single malt collection safely stored – and I could easily ride out the end of days in this set-up!



  1. Beatnik Bedouin

    You’re right, Garr, this ‘Binder would be just the thing for the next zombie apocalypse or extraterrestrial attack…

    Like 4
    • Jack Quantrill

      Great picture from my favorite sci-fi movie!

      Like 2
  2. Dirk

    Walter White? Is that you?

    Like 6
  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    This one would make a great RV. Just modify it into a camper like was just mentioned and enjoy it for many miles ahead. Those old cab-overs were everywhere once upon a time but now, it seems that they’re almost extinct…

    Like 8
  4. Scott

    Rolling meth lab

    Like 6
  5. Neal

    I wouldn’t want to haul that big barn around. Although come to think of it, maybe it could be a portable laundromat. Or even a food truck!
    Anyway, I’ve had my eyes on these older International cab-overs for a while, but in much shorter wheelbase form.

    Like 6
    • Wrong Way

      Those short wheel bases will rattle your teeth lose and give you a whiplash! LOL, just sayin!

      Like 1
  6. Chebby Member

    Perfect for the serial killer on the go.

    I like it BTW.

    Like 2
  7. Tom Justice

    A 90 mph speedo? Who is kidding who?

    Like 3
  8. Howard A Member

    Sure went off on a tangent about the box, which I couldn’t care less about,(this would make a great rollback) and not much about the truck itself. This 1710 series was kind of IH’s answer to the C series Ford. An asphalt company I worked for in the 70’s had these as their liquid distributor trucks. The tight turning was it’s advantage. It was always boiling hot in the cab, the shifter, a 5 speed and 2 speed electric rear, was the typical cabover “find and grind” , and tilting the cab for it’s “daily” repairs, was a nightmare.I remember one truck, someone let the cab down without lining up the shifter. That truck never shifted the same. One older truck had the 5 speed on the column. “Daily” repairs aside, they were great, hard working trucks, and always got you back to the yard,,,as long as you took your toolbox, that is.

    Like 3
  9. rod444

    Built in freezer, you say? Excellent. You’re gonna need somewhere to stack the “leftovers.”

    Like 1
  10. chrlsful

    Yes, redo the box to yer desire but U still have a cab over – beat the s4!+ outta U, hot, etc (C above comments).
    They R good for (nuttin) what they were designed 4 – short turns. That’s it.
    So…untimely – don’t destroy the box, some1 may need it equipped that way, in the city. But still, not much besides.

    Like 1
  11. Alan Robbins

    Back in the early 80’s I drove one of these beasts from Los Angeles to north of Bakersfield and back. Hot, noisy, and pitifully under powered. Climbing the pass just north of LA I think we made 20 mph.

    I can’t imagine a vacation driving one of these would be fun…

    Like 1
    • Mike

      Were they still using the Grapevine ? Or had I-5 remained open long enough for your journey .

      Like 0
  12. Big Len

    This looks to be much taller than the average RV. You may have problems with low branches and under height bridges.

    Like 0
    • Wrong Way

      As long as its not over 14 feet high your good on the interstate system everything else read posted height before you go under! LOL

      Like 1
  13. Pete

    A long time ago I worked for an electrical contractor. They had several job trailers they would move from job to job. But they also had a cab over 1960 chevy this thing had no side mirrors, cracked windshield, trashed interior. The box on the back was solid though and the thing ran. So I was tasked to drive the thing from one job to another about a 50 mile trip. Going straight on country roads was no big deal. The turns a lil hairy, but when I hit the small towns I had to drive through it was just frightening. I couldn’t see to either side. I remember taking a tight right turn and felt the box pivot around a telephone pole on the corner. The super driving the chase pick up wanted to go off on me for doing that. I told him that if he could do better with no mirrors, I would be happy to drive the chase truck and let him at it. He then started to say something else and i told him to STFU. I hit no other vehicles and I didn’t die. Wouldn’t do it again though. LOL

    This truck though is in better shape. I would turn it into an RV and use it for remote jobs I might have to work. Beats living in a tent. Then again you could just buy a used Iveco truck and do the same thing for less.

    Like 1
  14. Lucile Gieswein

    Thanks for writing such a cool story about the truck, The truck is still for sale, here is the new craigslist link


    All clowns have been exterminated.. :)
    The wooden door is the inside of the rear door which is metal….
    Please save this vehicle from the scrapers, I really need it gone before it starts snowing. The price is very negotiable.

    Like 0

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