Stunning 1947 International Harvester KB6

This fabulous 1947 International Harvester KB6 road truck shows no trace of barn dust, but it’s too impressive not to share. Thanks to reader Fred H. for spotting this heavy duty beauty from Fredericksburg, Virginia. Heavy trucks lack the commodity status of a 1969 Camaro, and restoring them is nearly always more labor of love than investment. However the $50,000 Buy It Now price here on eBay would certainly take the sting out of selling a pet project. Just looking at this thing makes me want to don a brimmed hat, shake my fist, and bark “Why, I oughtta pound you!

While this KB6 may look too pretty for work, it’s certainly capable of pulling a load. The seller describes it as having an 2001 International air ride suspension.

The fifteen-speed transmission provides options for hauling a parade float… or an Abrams M1 tank! The attractive tufted seat cushion looks far more comfortable than the vertical seat back. No slouching, or I’ll feed you a knuckle sandwich! The simple steering column reminds us of a simpler time when no one questioned the wisdom of aiming a metal spear at the driver’s sternum… in a vehicle with no seat belts.

Built between 1975 through the early 1990s, the workhorse Caterpillar 3208 produced between 210 HP and 375 HP, and even more with turbocharging (thanks to for some details). Torque ranged between 480 and 620 lb-ft of torque. This award-winning show truck appears to need nothing, though I might suggest screens to keep grade-schoolers from chucking *whatever* into the giant exhaust stacks. Personally I’d borrow this beast and fill up the rear view mirror of every lifted pickup I could find; little dogs should stay on the porch. What would you do with this heirloom-quality hauler?


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  1. Rube Goldberg Member

    Thanks Todd for redirecting my attention after the rat rod comments that shook up my soda. Naturally, an old trucker will be intrigued by this, up until the 3208 part, that is. Dependable motor, ( for a school bus) but I wouldn’t be pulling any Abrams tanks with it ( 62 tons) I’ve sat behind those motors, and are not the most powerful. ( turbo a bit better) This truck looks familiar. A trucking outfit in Reedsburg, Wis. Skinner Transfer, had a bunch of restored IH K models and Westcoasters. They were the old man’s, and when he passed away, the kid got rid of them. They were all red with black fenders and all looked like this. Quality restorations. Just a toy, folks, maybe pull a lowboy with your vintage trucks or tractors, but nothing to make a living with. Have a hard time hooking up an ELD to this. Pretty cool, tho.

  2. jcs

    Beautiful restoration…except for the engine spray job. It’s a shame they didn’t do a little masking before pulling out the spray can of yellow and spraying the engine and everything that was attached or in close proximity to it.

  3. Bob

    Those pointy lug nuts on the front wheels would make a mess of somebody on a bike or a motorcycle!

    • Francisco

      Different lug nuts in different pictures. Did you notice?

    • Rube Goldberg Member

      Those pointy lugnut covers may be illegal in some places. Depends on the cop, I suppose.

    • Rustowner

      They are ABS plastic that is chromed.

      • That Guy

        That’s good to know. The few times I’ve seen these I’ve wondered how they could possibly be legal, and what sort of antisocial personality would install them. Even if they are only plastic I bet they’d hurt if you scraped your leg on them though.

  4. Madmatt

    This looks beautiful..😍..! I have been listening to
    Nothing but old trucker songs for the past few weeks,
    And this doesn’t discourage me one bit…🤔..!We should all thank
    A trucker every day…!what tales that cab could tell…..!😘
    Tales of mystery and imagination…..and of discomfort,and despair..!
    Keep on “Trucking”…..that’s a big 10/4…..😀

  5. geomechs geomechs Member

    KB5? I’m thinking KB6 and larger. The KB5 used the more integral fenders of the lighter duty trucks.

    • Todd Fitch Staff

      Thanks, geomechs and others. I edited to show KB6. I tried to use a “strikeout” font to show it had been updated, but it looked crappy so I just changed the 5s to 6s. Consensus seems to be that it’s definitely *not* a KB5. Much appreciated!

  6. geomechs geomechs Member

    As far as dropping a Cat 3208 engine in this truck, it might fit but I’m thinking that the old six-banger might rival the Cat in the torque department. Of course the KB-6 could’ve come with a Blue Diamond (259 CID) which did its best but could’ve used more. It could’ve also been powered by the Red Diamond 401 or even a 450 that was an unbelievable performer as long as you could keep it full of gas….

    • Rube Goldberg Member

      Good one, geomechs, I was so enamored by this thing, I didn’t even notice the KB5 listing. KB6-KB11 had this style. This could be a KB12 (I read, there were no KB9’s or KB13’s, for obvious reasons) and the biggest, the KB14 had flat fender tops) The longer hood was for the mombo Continental engine. I like your idea of the RD450. Bulletproof motor, and it’s gas, a lot more civilized than the diesel. I’ve driven both and they had about the same power. The diesel may have gotten a bit better mileage. Regardless, foot to the floor all day for both.

  7. 86 Vette Convertible

    Beautiful rig here, the comment on the engine means nothing to me as I don’t know diesel engines. Add a proper flatbed trailer and that would be one heck of a car hauler.

  8. KSwheatfarmer

    Rube and geomechs are spot on with the 3208. Oilfield called them ‘throwaway cats’. Just not enough power or torque to get much work done .I’ve read where CAT doesn’t support these any more,not sure if thats true. Truck looks good from the outside, to bad about the engine compartment.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi KS. I heard that Cat is putting the 3208 to bed too, but so far, I haven’t had any problems finding parts for them. We still get the odd 3208 (and even the older 1100/3100 series) in the shop and a lot of parts still come from Cat. Of course we haven’t needed any major parts like crankshafts, blocks or heads for a long time so those might have gone the way of the dinosaur. But with Cat, you never know. Not long ago an acquaintance of mine needed an armature for a magneto on an R-2 and got one overnight from Cat. But then, I was overhauling the fuel injection pump on a DW-20 and I had to take some parts to the machine shop, because they were obsolete….

  9. Rob M.

    What a beauty! Makes me want to learn to grind some gears and put the hammer down!

  10. mtshootist1

    I think I still have my old Red Sovine LP with Gitty Up Go as the featured song, along with “Give Me Forty Acres to Get this Rig Turned Around”

    • gaspumpchas

      Ah yes, Trucker songs–lets not forget Wolf Creek Pass by CW McCall-
      ” Me and Earl was haulin; Chickens on a flatbed outa Wiggins”…..”
      “400 hundred head of Rhode Island red and a couple of burned out Roosters…”

  11. Alex

    Wow I saw this on Ebay a day ago looking at semis for sale and now you guys have it on here. This is a small world when I saw this on Ebay knew it was to go to be true but nice find.

  12. Stu

    Pointed lug nuts have always served as a great deterrent when you’re being overtaken by a chariot.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Yeah, I keep looking for Charlton Hesston every time I see those pointy lug nuts….

  13. JW

    Very cool truck, just no use for it at my house.

  14. Gay Car Nut

    Sweet looking International Harvester. I’ve always been a fan of American trucks of the 1930s and 40s.

  15. chad

    ATHS (or sompin like that – historical trucks) has a convention every yr here (Deerfield, MA) in May (40th comin up). You’d see some like this there.
    My fav R the small Brockways (I think) look like a big ’60s Mack but are p/u sized. Imagine em in the cities haulin dwn narrow st.s.

    • Rube Goldberg Member

      You are referring to ATHS, American Truck Historical Society. I was a member for many years, and took my 1972 Pete 359 to the show in Milwaukee in 1993. You can ( barely) see the decal in the wing window.

      • Jer

        That’s a sweet Pete!

  16. Rodney

    After having read all of the above comments, I have a real desire to drink an entire bottle of 100 proof testosterone. Anyone else? My treat!

  17. pete

    I’d put a big sleeper on the back with a toilet and register it as a motorhome

  18. Bear Short

    I love the rig myself I have one I’m starting to build a welding truck

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