Turbo Diesel Power: 1980 International Scout II

What is the definition of a unicorn in the collector car world? Well, it might be this unique 1980 International Harvester Scout II powered by a Nissan-built diesel inline six-cylinder engine. The SUV was produced in the last year of production for the Scout by International Harvester. The truck is located in Gentry, Arkansas, and is listed here on eBay. The Scout is currently bid to $15,000 with 3 days remaining in the auction.

International Harvester produced the long-running Scout model from 1960 to 1980. The first generation of the Scout was equipped with a 152 cubic inch inline four-cylinder engine that was rated at a mere 93 horsepower by International Harvester. As later models were introduced, they had bigger and more powerful engines including a larger inline 4 cylinder, an inline 6 cylinder, a 266 cubic inch V8, a 304 cubic inch V8 engine, and a 345 cubic inch V8 engine. In 1979 and 1980, International Harvester offered the Scout II equipped with a Nissan-built 198 cubic inch turbocharged diesel inline 6 cylinder. The SD33T six-cylinder diesel engine is turbocharged and was rated at 101 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque from the factory. The engine is backed up by a 4-speed manual transmission.

The first generation Scout was called the Scout 80. It was manufactured from 1960 to 1965 and was a bare bones 4WD. The next generation of Scout was called the Scout 800 that was produced from 1966 to 1971. The final generation of the Scout was called the Scout II (like this one) and was built from 1971 to 1980. It was much more refined and came with more options and colors. As you can see, the interior of this Scout is nice but the driver seat fabric is worn and will need repair.

The body on this Scout has some rust bubbles but the frame and undercarriage looks great. There are some upgrades on this one but I think they are desirable. The exterior color is Code 8547 Embassy Gray and it has been repainted at least once. The drivetrain includes front and rear Dana 44 axles. There are problems with the fuel gauge, air conditioning and clock. This would be a great edition for a collector to add a rare Scout II to their collection.


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  1. Harvey Member

    Nice scout,out of my price range for a snow plow.What’s up with the site?
    Thought I was paying to not get bombarded with ads.

    Like 5
    • ace10

      The site became unviewable overnight. If you’re getting even half of what’s going on on my screen, then I truly feel for you.

      Pop ups. Ad players. Pop unders. Whack-a-mole.

      Good grief. I won’t ever pay to create content for a website, so I’m not exactly being harmed here, but I’m gonna take time off and maybe these guys can get this under control.

      Like 2
    • Chunk

      AdBlockPlus is free and it works well.

      How well? Until you poor guys started up, I didn’t know that there WERE ads on the site.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      @Harvey – We were doing updates but the errors are all fixed now.

      Like 5
    • Steve Clinton

      I’m not seeing a problem…knock on wood.

      Like 1
  2. nlpnt

    FWIU (and it may be one of those automotive urban legends) IH was putting the Nissan diesel in every 1980 Scout unless built to customer special order with a different engine specified, to use up as many of them as possible from what they were contracted to buy before production ended.

    Like 1
  3. Chuck

    International started using the Nissan built diesel in 1976, they only went to the turbo in 1980. I think you will find out the reason for the push on the diesel was because of the strike against IH had gas engines in short supply. They were still using the 345 in medium duty trucks at that time.

    Like 4
  4. Neal Klinman

    A nice rig. I still hope to have one someday. I have grown to like that exterior Embassy Gray, and I appreciate that non-stock stripe. I might have color-matched the stripe to the blue plaid interior instead of the red, but I like both. I grew up with a ’79 from late 78 through 92, but it got real rusty as a Northeast daily driver. But then, all cars did. My mom loved her truck!!! I have grown more interested in these mechanical diesels too. I’ve heard that they’ll run a good long time if you keep ’em cool and don’t push them too hard. Hard and expensive to replace if needed, though. Even though I like connecting about Scouts, I really wouldn’t mind if sites like this wouldn’t start to ignore Scouts for a while to let their popularity cool off some. I fear that by the time I have time and money for a classic, these will be even more out of my price range.

  5. geomechs geomechs Member

    The Diesel engine came along when there was a highly increased fan fare going for it. Back then Diesel engines were coming out in everything. I’d rather have seen something of International’s own make but to design, build, certify and warrant an engine from scratch is an astronomical task. I worked on a few of these. The SD33 was essentially an SD22 with 2 extra cylinders. Definitely NOT a powerhouse but reliable enough. A new turbo is going to put you in the poorhouse. The engine will last you long enough but it will become a “mosquito-killer” down the road. The advance mechanism is incorporated into the injection pump drive gear and it sludges up to the point where it is completely seized. It’s a lot of work to pull it out and clean it up. Parts are like the winning Powerball. Some of the earlier versions of this had that same insane starting fuel/running fuel/shut down mechanism that the Nissan pickups had, complete with the same problems. Those extortionately overpriced devices would have been better to be deported back to the Rising Sun and given back to the designers as a suppository. Just run a couple of Bowden cables; they seldom break. Despite all its shortcomings I would like to have a truck like this, complete with precup combustion noise, eye-burning exhaust and finger pointing. You might have to push it to get it moving but if would be quite the novelty…

    Like 3
    • connbackroads

      Thanks Geomechs !!!

      I’m a diesel enthusiast (I’ve run several IH 7.3 IDI’s, Peugeot XD2S’s, VW 1.6’s, and a Toyota 1-CT on french-fry oil).

      I always enjoy reading your diesel comments.

      This one cracked me up !! LMAO

      Like 2
  6. Steve Clinton

    I consider this to be a bargain, compared to what a similar Bronco brings. Also, it is a much rarer car.

    Like 1
  7. BR

    For originality, keep the Nissan engine. For longevity swap it out for A Mitsubishi. And FWIW the Scout ll’s were available with IH’s own D301 diesel engine. I sold three from the IH factory branch I worked at in ’71.

  8. chrlsful

    last 2 yrs I believe? the non turbo the 1st & turbo the 2nd (SD 32 then 33?)…I too remember them. ‘S Y I got my EB (got in ’82, still have) when they went out of business (in light trucks).
    Yeah the ford courier (perkins 4.135 much earlier) and chevy luv (isuzu, not Mikiado as that wuz 4WD gas may B even extended cab) had ’em too – “gas crisis”. I’d take one, even the vedub p/u as that was FWD (rabbit, golf caddy 1979) also in diesel or gas. Fella hasa fleet of ’em here…
    Lub da mini p/u.
    Vedub has brought 1 back I think (looks kinda japanese mini-ish).

  9. Car Nut Tacoma

    Beautiful looking Scout. This is the best looking Scout I’d ever seen. I like the idea of a Turbo Diesel engine. It’s a damn shame it was discontinued after this.

    Like 1
  10. Craig

    International was just a few years away when the SUV started it’s rise to the forefront. There were some pretty cool updates on the drawing boards when they gave up the Scout.

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