Sportop Project: 1966 International Harvester Scout

On first glance, this 1966 International Harvester Scout 800 Sportop sure looks like it could easily drive right to our garage. I mean, right to your garage..  It’s listed on eBay with several bids totaling over $2,500 as I write this, but the reserve hasn’t been met. It’s located in Correctionville, Iowa, a city that’s about two hours north of Omaha, NE. Thanks to Matt Williams for submitting this Scout!

In 1965, I-H upped the ante a bit with the Scout 800, topping the former Scout 80. It doesn’t look like this Scout is really that far away from looking like this. But, there are a few issues and the seller has provided quite a few underside photos to show the extent of the rust that’s lurking under this very decent looking body. I hope that the next owner has amassed an inventory of replacement panels and has a lot of welding experience.

You can see the rust-through under the wheel wells and it’s everywhere underneath, unfortunately. How the body can look so good and the underside look so bad is beyond me? Maybe it was stored outside for years/decades on tall grass? Maybe the body was restored at some point but the underside is original?

This Scout interior does look complete and that’s always a good thing. The Sportop-top and rear tire cover have seen better days, but the framework for the sloping Sportop is there. You can see that the interior will need just about everything soft replaced but I love the look of the triple-shift levers with white knobs and the interior layout, in general. The passenger door looks good and the door panel even looks like it could be saved. There’s a crack in the steering wheel so that’ll have to be restored or replaced.

This isn’t the 266 V8, it appears to be the base 152 cubic-inch four-cylinder with around 93 hp. The 152 is half of a 304 V8. In decoding the VIN, this is a late-1965 Scout 800 and as such the 196 cubic-inch four-cylinder wasn’t available yet. There was also a turbo version of the 152 with just over 110 hp available. A turbo Scout from 1966! Now that would be a find, maybe even better than a V8, at least for unusual points. The turbo was dropped in 1968 in favor of the 194 four-cylinder which had about the same power but better MPG. The seller says that this particular engine will need lots of work. The carb is missing and it’s been “soaking it in diesel fuel and it will move about 4 inches.” I know that feeling.. If a person was a Michelangelo of the mig welder and was looking for a nice winter project, this is it! Can this Scout be saved? How would you restore it: back to factory spec or would you kick it up a notch?


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  1. RayT Member

    My father bought a new Scout 800 in 1966. Ours had the same interior trim, but a full metal top. Took a little time to learn to deal with the two gas tanks (one in either rear fender): there was a manual tap, and a separate switch to change the fuel gauge reading from one side to the other.

    It ran poorly from the start, mainly due to the air pump smog device, which caused backfires that blew out a succession of mufflers. The interior plastic didn’t last too many years either. And, of course, there was rust.

    On the good side, it would go almost anywhere — I learned four-wheeling skills in it — and never really broke down. The best way to put it was it aged rapidly.

    My ex-brother-in-law wanted to put a SBC in it. I wish my father had gone for the idea. The slant-four was a heavy, underpowered lump. I drove a 304 at the dealer’s the next year and it was front-heavy and not much faster.

    All that aside, if I had space for multiple vehicles, wouldn’t mind having a Scout in decent shape. It wouldn’t be here for a week before a 350 Chevy got lowered into the engine bay.

    • Dave Wright

      The only smog device on a Scout in 1966 was a PVC valve………

    • Dave Wright

      There is very little plastic in these as well……that dash is 95% steel.

  2. Moxman

    When I was growing up, in the mid-sixties, a high school buddy of mine had one of these. However, his was different. His had a screaming 327 Chevy motor in it! I don’t know if the 327 was from a Corvette, but that thing ran! We had a lot of fun driving around in that Scout. I still think the best thing to do with a Scout is put a small block Chevy in it. The IH engines were just not up to par with horsepower per pound, like the small block Chevy.

  3. JW

    Most likely the under carriage rusted before the body is someone drove it in our Midwest winters where salt is a cars worst enemy and the owner washed off the exterior panels but never hosed off the salt and snow from underneath. I grew up learning you must do this after each snow or your car will fall apart in 5 years. We had a real nice Standard gas station car wash not far from our house and after each snow the cars were lined out to the street to get washed and under carriage cleaned, I think the place is still in business today.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi JW, while I agree with “washing the salt off”, but when it’s 9 degrees below zero and nary a garden hose in the county is movin’, it’s not an option, besides, by then it’s too late anyway, you’ll never get it all out.

      • JW

        Hi Howard, your right about the temp but that’s why most of us then used the neighborhood gas station full service car wash that not only cleaned the exterior but had a under carriage wash and they dried the exterior by hand and wiped down the interior along with vacuuming it. Like the movie ” CAR WASH “.

  4. Neal

    I check eBay for Scouts and Travelalls all of the time. Dreaming. I skipped right over this sportop. Those earlier Scout 80’s and 800’s just aren’t my cup of tea.

    This rig, however, I can’t get out of my mind:

    It’s in a totally different state of finish and cost, of course, but if I had some lottery money for a Scout, I think I’d send it East asap to die a quick but smile-inducing rusty death.

    • James

      Ahhh,, that Traveler has the Polycast wheels!! Original and unique…

      • Neal

        Yes. The polycast are definitely unique and cool as original. I personally prefer the chrome rallye wheels, but these look good on this rig.

  5. Howard A Member

    Hang a plow on it and park it next to the shed. About all this is good for. Scouts were great trucks, this ones cashed. They all are. Anything 4×4 was driven in the salt. End of story.

  6. Todd Zuercher

    Learned something new today – I didn’t know they made Scout Sportops that were soft tops. We had a ’67 in this exact color, same engine, and same hubcaps, with the Sportop hardtop. We owned it about 2.5 years before Dad finally got sick of it and traded it in on a ’69 Bronco, which I am still driving today.

    • tasker

      Wanna sell it Todd? :)

      • Todd Zuercher

        Hahahaha! No thanks tasker!

      • half cab

        Wanna sell urs Randy😛

  7. Karguy James

    Very cool truck. That would look awesome restored in period colors. Never saw one before and I thought I had seen most everything auto related.

  8. Francisco

    Correctionville? Is that where the Iowa State Penitentiary is located?

  9. JimmyJ

    My buddy in high school had an old scout we called it the “intersmashable” pretty sure it was a 6 cyl 4 speed.
    We kicked the sh#t out of it and couldn’t break it!
    I heard the Toyota boys will pay big bucks for the diffs.

  10. Dave

    A friend has his dad’s early ’50’s corn binder pick up in the shed at the old farm place.
    Next time I go there I’ll look at it.

  11. Johnrm

    perhaps a body swap is in order? Get a clapped out body with nice frame and swap it over.

  12. Jon Hellinga

    I live close to this Scout if anyone wants me to take a look for them

  13. AutoArcheologist AutoArcheologist Member

    You definitely don’t see a lot of these.. correct me if I’m wrong but I think they only produced about 800 of these Sportop models.
    Just recently sold one.. with aforementioned plow…

  14. chad

    I don’t get the 4 windows on the sides…a slider in back? Never saw the sport top, luv the 80 & 800 body style.
    In ’80 I bought a ’70 Bronk cuz the Fed law wuz “U only gotta make prts for 7 yrs after bankrupcy.” & IH wuz goin outta da ‘car business’.
    Still have the Bronk, still wonder if the Scout (w/ALOT of mods) would have created more smiles.
    Neil: those Scout IIs had a (wuz it Izussu or Nissan?) straight 6 diesels as an option a decade or 2 B4 the cazy computer controlled current dodge cummins.

    • Neal

      Yup. Nissan inline six diesel. From ’76 through the end. Lots of the 80 model year scouts had the turbo diesel for a few more hp, and they were trying to use up their stock before shutting doors.
      Our ’79 (new in Nov. 78) had a 345 with thermoquad.
      Bouncy fun till mom sold it in 92.

  15. Tony, Oz.

    I had a 78 Scout Traveler (long wheelbase), for a few years and spent many an Easter 4 day weekend ‘playing’ in the sand dunes along our southeast coast. The low revving 345 Inter. truck motor made them almost impossible to stop, with the tires down to 12 pounds we spent the weekend pulling Toyotas and Nissans out of the dunes. Great truck but the rust started to sneak in so it was time to let it go. The local Scout club is still going but the numbers are dwindling sadly, Toyotas and Nissans are taking over because they have more cup holders in them, I mean how many do you need, my Scout had BEER CAN holders, to hell with water, that’s for radiators and w/screen washers !

  16. Jim C

    I had a 68′ Scout with the 4 cly, 3 speed not 4 Wheel drive. I bought mine for $50.00 back in the 70’s. I had it for 8 years. It was my back up car for awhile, it would sit months at at time, give it a jump & it was back on the road. I sold it for $150. & you would think the kid who bought it had just got a brand new car.

  17. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Winning bid:US $5,100.00
    [ 24 bids ]

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