That Thing’s Got A Hemi? 1960 International Metro

Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

Yeah, actually it does got.. I mean, have a Hemi. You’ve all see the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercials? Think of this one as somewhat similar to that theme, except other than “You’ve got chocolate in my peanut butter!” / “You’ve got peanut butter on my chocolate!”, this is more like “You’ve got a Dodge in my International!” / “You’ve got an International on my Dodge!” This 1960 International Metro custom is listed here on eBay with an unmet opening bid of $15,000 and there are a couple of days left to get your bids in on this crazy custom. It’s located in Columbus, Ohio and it “can be driven home”, according to the seller. Thanks to Scott R. for submitting this one!

As if an IH Metro van wasn’t already cool enough, this example has been customized. And, by that I mean that it has basically been dropped onto a “Late model donor Durango with the 5.7L Hemi and AWD.” All-wheel drive, too?! Now that’s cool. Of course, it was a feat of engineering and design to get everything to work, and the seller goes into a lot of detail as to what has been done on this conversion. I would want to add some much-needed insulation to the back if I were going to drive this one in the winter, though. I drove Dodge vans for years and it made a big difference to insulate those thin, cold, steel walls in the back. I’d also want to work on that exterior finish, such that it is.

The IH Metro van had a long run of almost forty years, from the late-30s until the mid-70s. The bodies were actually built by Metropolitan Body Company in Connecticut and they came as a cab and chassis from International, typically. IH bought MBC in the late-1940s.  This Metro, I believe, is an LM-122 model which has a 6,600 GVW rating and it looks like a 9.5-foot Metro body to me. The 9.5-foot body has a 115-inch wheelbase, which is pretty close to a 119-inch wheelbase for a 2004 Dodge Durango, the chassis that it’s now sitting on.

Now that’s a restomod! Chunky steel next to soft curves and modern gauges. There aren’t many interior or even exterior photos which is unusual for such a custom vehicle, you’d think that there would almost be an overload of great photos. But, it does look pretty cool from what is shown. I can’t imagine that the view for the rear seat passengers is that great with no side windows. Sitting under that sharp-angled doghouse is a 5.7L Hemi V8 with around 335 hp, or that’s what it would have had when it was new and sitting in a 2004 Durango. That’s quite a bit more horsepower than what most likely powered this van, IH’s Black Diamond 220.5 cubic-inch inline-six with around 113 hp. I can think of a few uses for this cool restomod van. What do you think about this IH meets Dodge mashup?

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Comments

  1. Scott R

    Lots of videos of it here – they act like it has a high center of gravity when driving it – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1s20YBw2G5QyoOK_77s53w/videos




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  2. TC

    There’s a few vids of it on youtube.. https://youtu.be/WF3KgJSAmxA “Grenade Motorsports”..




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    • jdjonesdr

      Amazing how many ‘thumbs down” his video has. What’s wrong with those folks?




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      • TC

        I was surprised to see that as well. Can’t please everybody.. That van has a ton of potential. Or just do a few things to make sure it’s safe, and drive it as is. At first I thought $15,000 was a lot to be asking, but after watching what all went into it, I can see more clearly as to why the number is what it is. Looks like the body to chassis marriage was done well.




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  3. Rob

    Hope that airbag is removed… or, in the event of a crash, one would have that logo permanently stamped on their face.

    With all that work to put an old vehicle on a new chassis, it looks like they should have spent more time blending the old and new on the interior. Granted I guess that is the job of the new owners…




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  4. LAB3

    Love it! With having a more contemporary drive train underneath the choices as to what you could use it for are limited only by your imagination.




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  5. Rube Goldberg Member

    This is pretty cool. My biggest question is why? I’m sorry, I really don’t want to drive around in a modified bread truck. These were designed to go 35 mph from one store to the next. It looks well done, from what we can see. I’d like to see more of the underside and engine. You just never know what’s going to show up here, which makes this such a cool site. Thanks Scotty.




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    • Bobsmyuncle

      If you can’t fathom why, I think you are missing out on an extremely large and popular part of the automotive hobby. Customizing, and hotrodding go back to the day after the first car was sold.




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    • steve

      Some poor person will pay the exobitant $15,000 and THEN go looking for parts….GOOD LUCK WITH THAT!!




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      • Bobsmyuncle

        Why do you think parts will be a problem?




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  6. Steve R

    If the main selling point is the late model drivetrain and chassis swap, but seller can’t be bothered to include any pictures, that says something.

    Steve R




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  7. Grenade Motorsports

    Any questions feel free to contact me through the You Tube channel or our Website. I’m the one that built it.




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  8. Dave Mc

    Watching their you tube,
    I like the light hearted honesty these guys put out. Makes me want to buy something from them that I don’t really need.




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  9. geomechs

    Well, I don’t know if I’d do something like that. A step-van, like Rube says, is more of a 35 mph vehicle. I rode in a similar rig to this (only stock) and upwards of 45 mph the wind noise was deafening. Of course I might have to add that it was over 40 years ago, and during a time when a lot of surplus vans were getting a new lease on life with a new sub-culture. And there was something wafting through the air…. Ahem! I think that a more subtle conversion would be more practical on something like this. Don’t get me wrong, the builder did a lot, and I think it took a lot more effort than restoring what was there.




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    • Dave Mc

      I’d keep the bullet holes for sure.




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  10. Mark S. Member

    Well built, my concerns would is the suspension is it stiff enough to allow fo decent cornering and do those front wheels rub when cornering or taking a pot hole. The thing about modern trucks as apposed to the IH original suspension is they are much softer. In my mind I’d want at least some upgrade sway bars and stiffer shocks to handle all that top heavy weight displacement. I would also want the body finished on the outside. I’m not into rustina, all that effort and its left half done but all said and done my above mentioned concerns could be done at any time.




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    • Bobsmyuncle

      I’d just about guarantee that this body is lighter than the Dodge. Modern vehicles are notoriously heavier than old vehicles, and this is nothing but an empty tin box.




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  11. Ken Carney

    Hmmm! I see wheelchair van prospect here. The reason I say that is
    because I, and a group of friends built one for a friend who really needed
    one. A new one would’ve cost over $10K–a lot in ’70’s cash for the time.
    We started with a ’64 shell similar to this one. For power, we used a 250
    Chevy 6 mated to a powerglide tranny. We then equipped it with hand
    controls that would allow him to drive it himself. Of course, when you
    do that, the driver’s seat has to go to allow the use of his wheelchair
    in that capacity as he was driving the vehicle using his hands to steer,
    accelarate, and stop. Since the floors were gone, we fabbed up some
    new ones made of smooth heavy grade steel, which allowed him to
    roll his chair about the van once it was stopped. Around back, we
    screwed together a Tommy lift to move the chair into, and out of the
    van whenever needed. It was made with parts we scrounged from
    some totalled work trucks we found at the wrecking yard. Can’t recall
    what color we painted it, but I still recall the joy it gave the family when
    we took it over to him.




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    • Rube Goldberg Member

      That’s a great idea, only this would be a bit overkill. I like your straight 6 idea better. Be a good business, turn old Divco’s and these into classic wheel chair assist vans.




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  12. Michael S

    All-wheel drive??!! Perfect bug-out vehicle for the coming Zombie-Apocalypse. GVWR should handle lots of cases of Vodka & Honey [commodities with no expiration date], as well as necessaries for in the wilderness. Only question is what color to paint it: Black [sinister], Camouflage, White [blend-in work vehicle]?




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  13. David Miraglia

    With the proper restoration, this van can still be used. Like the uniqueness of the design.




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  14. Cmarv Member

    That is a cool build . I would have liked to see it done with a Trailblazer SS donor (I’m a Chevy guy) . As I watched the video I sensed the builder was a bit trepidatious about the handling . After reading the EBay listing it seems the guy that owns it now may be scared of it too . Maybe some suspension mods are in order ? All in all it’s pretty damn sweet . JMHO .




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  15. Ken Carney

    Hi Rube! It took us 5 months to build it from start to finish. We got help from our
    Auto Shop teacher along with one other
    shop class that chipped in. Most everything we used was picked up at
    wrecking yards around town. The shell
    came from Triangle Truck Parts, while the
    engine and tranny came from a T boned
    ’67 Biscayne sedan. All the parts we gathered up were completely rebuilt by
    both classes before installing them on
    the truck. As for the paint, it was ’67 Ford
    Butter Yellow with Black accents inside.
    We polished it off with a set of Astro rims
    and a set of Firestone wide oval tires. I’m
    thinking I may have to do this again. as my mother in law will soon be needing a
    wheelchair van. Only today, a new unit
    is now far north of $300K here in Fl.
    And yeah, Rube, I’d like to do a business
    like that if my health were stronger. I guess everything can be re used if you try.




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  16. ccrvtt

    This is the perfect vehicle for the next Muppet Movie.




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  17. JW

    I could see using this for a micro brewery to promote their business at local parties. Have a couple tappers coming out each side with a flip down counter. Charge by the disposable cup and let them fill their own. No need to take nation wide on the interstates just local area.




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  18. Grenade Motorsports

    Here’s the update- Check it out. https://youtu.be/O9CvmLLo6eI




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  19. Neal

    I’ve been dreaming of one of these Metro vans for a possible food truck waffle wagon someday. I’ve wondered if reliability would be a problem with all original running gear. Hard to base a business on an antique. One of these conversions might be the ticket. I wonder why the seller is selling though. I think I saw this same truck listed on eBay not too long ago from the original creator.




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  20. Neal

    Patina has its place, but a nice paint job works too.




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  21. chris

    This Metro sold on eBay this past September for $19.4K. It’s strange that the opening bid is $15K with no reserve. Seems like a pretty easy way to potential loose some money on the flip.




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    • JoeBazots

      Yeah, I thought I remembered this truck. Pretty cool conversion, but still needs some interior work to not look like so much of a mashup.




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  22. Tom S.

    Someday vintage Durangos will be in demand and the true folly of this will become apparent. Oh, wait, that’s never going to happen.




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  23. CJ

    The U.S. Air Force had vans like this in the 1960s; not with hemis of course! Drove them numerous times on base and off base picking up hospital laundry and prescriptions that the base hospital had to special order. No A/C, floor mounted shift, top speed 50 mph (maybe)……




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  24. chad

    ele motor is the way, yes – just for urban/exurban/suburban business.
    Batteries keep weight down low, & Y the AWD in this one?
    Chop the top (if keeping the awd) & go off rd…




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  25. DonS

    Sold for $18,600.




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