Vintage Delivery! 1961 International Metro Van

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The International Metro Van, made by International Harvester, is a step van (aka walk-in or multi-stop delivery truck). It was one of the earlier, mass-produced forward control vehicles, once commonly used for milk or bakery delivery. It was designed by none other than Raymond Loewy, who gave us Studebakers like the iconic Avanti. This 1961 edition of the van has been off the road for years and will need a lot of attention, but what a cool vintage delivery vehicle it could make! Located near Kansas City, Kansas, this Metro is available here on craigslist for $6,000. Hats off to T.J. for this tip!

Built between 1938-75, these vehicles were also used as ambulances, mobile offices, and radio transmitter vans. Body styles included 1/2, 3/4, or 1-ton panel trucks that allowed the driver to stand or sit while driving the vehicle. They employed six-cylinder engines borrowed from IH’s truck series and paired with 3-speed manual transmissions. They were discontinued after 1975 along with all other IH light-duty trucks except for the Scout (it was gone in 1980).

We’re told this 1961 Metro spent most of its life in either California or Texas and – as a result – has a minimum amount of rust. The body carries its fair share of dents and dings, especially on the roof. The rear door has some tears through the sheet metal and the front right corner had some bodywork started that needs finishing. The seller says the engine is original to the van but doesn’t turn over and hasn’t run in years. The odometer reading of 34,000 is an estimate.

If you dig old vans like this and wanted to start a food truck or ice cream delivery business, this might be a cool project to restore. The operation of these vehicles is simple but expect to keep your body shop guy busy sorting out all the metal. We suspect the seller is a dealer as delivery can be arranged within shorter distances.

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Comments

  1. Fahrvergnugen FahrvergnugenMember

    I see an Aerosmith tribute van in the works…

    Like 15
  2. Howard A. Howard AMember

    Okay, “re-log #4”, stupid Hollywood Aerosmith reference aside, the Metro was without question, THE most popular vehicle of the 50’s and 60’s. As Americans ventured into the suburbs, package delivery became HUGE. “Supermarkets”, which was a “SUPER-MARKET” were gaining steam, and needed to be restocked by smaller vendors. Bread, snack foods, flowers, beer, newspapers,dairy products( those cooled with ice didn’t last long), you name it, the Metro delivered it. They rarely, if ever, ventured outside city limits,( “Metro” short for “Metropolitan”) and most became tool sheds “out back”, so you never see one on the road today. I suppose one could live in it, you should see what people are living in out here,, but I really can’t think of any useful purpose for the old Metro,,,maybe a tool shed?

    Like 6
    • Jim

      Wow stupid Hollywood Aerosmith reference what did Steven Tyler do to you? Back in their beginning That’s how they got around in a van like that. In fact they have it displayed at some of their shows.

      Like 12
      • Howard A. Howard AMember

        It wasn’t the “Aerosmith” part that was stupid, the “Hollywood” part is what I don’t care for. Hollywood ( American Pickers) shmalzed it up, but the time the group spent in that van wasn’t exactly their finest hour, and I never really liked Aerosmith anyway. They were no Lynyrd Skynyrd, that’s for sure.

        Like 6
    • geomechs geomechsMember

      I find myself chasing parts for these quite frequently. Out west they didn’t get salted up like they did in the rest of the country so there are a lot of them still out there. Chassis parts are typical International but the body parts are getting slim to none. But–people like them. And so do I…

      Like 1
    • geomechs geomechsMember

      And they show up at the strangest places. This one was on the concourse at MSP a year ago. Maybe Scotty’s seen it…

      Like 4
  3. microbuss

    these vans were also made into buses too!
    those are hard to find!

    Like 3
  4. Grog

    I would consider a camper for close by camping. I don’t know if a person would want to travel very far or long distance.

    Like 1
  5. Steve Clinton

    I remember when these IH vans were EVERYWHERE! (Yes, I AM old.)

    Like 11
  6. Jim

    Wow stupid Hollywood Aerosmith reference what did Steven Tyler do to you? Back in their beginning That’s how they got around in a van like that. In fact they have it displayed at some of their shows.

    Like 3
  7. Charlie Gaffe

    These wonderful trucks were the backbone of my Uncle’s laundry business, and my Dad was one of the drivers. I used to sit on the engine cover when he took me with him in the summer. It was hot, but I was with Dad, so who cares? They were built like tanks and with a full laundry load would be great in snow. They just ran and ran. Both these and Divco’s are the default delivery trucks of my memories. If I had a 10 car garage one of these would be in it.

    Like 0
  8. Charlie Gaffen

    These wonderful trucks were the backbone of my Uncle’s laundry business, and my Dad was one of the drivers. I used to sit on the engine cover when he took me with him in the summer. It was hot, but I was with Dad, so who cares? They were built like tanks and with a full laundry load would be great in snow. They just ran and ran. Both these and Divco’s are the default delivery trucks of my memories. If I had a 10 car garage one of these would be in it.

    Like 9
  9. James

    Wow is this becoming a new facebook ? It is not letting me post.

    Like 4
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars

      At least you’re not Jim. His comments were posted TWICE! The problem I see with a project like this is the bodies are sometimes made of something other than mild steel. Between body and frame, and things like seat posts and engine bay brackets these field-find Metros don’t hold up too well after years in the elements. One look at the infamous Aerosmith van and you can tell where the metal separated once the tin worm began its journey.

      Like 2
  10. Thanos

    Even a small gust of wind could blow that van over

    Like 1
  11. AndyinMA

    In my body shop days we restored one of these. Just felt like acres of surface rust and a million little dents. Just don’t paint it black! Thankfully that body line about halfway up makes for a nice two tone scheme.

    Like 2
  12. chrlsful

    GREAT.
    We use 1 to haul closed trailer w/race car etc. In this one is ‘the personal’ comforts.

    Like 0
  13. Miminite

    I like these old IH vans. Upgrade it a bit but keep factory looks of it largely the same. Too big a project for me, but hopefully someone gets it and does it right.

    Like 0
  14. John

    Back in the day I drove a “Mini-Metro” for a cleaners, was a neat little truck..was imported I think

    Like 0
    • Charlie Gaffen

      Towards the end of my Dad’s employment at the laundry, my uncle bought a Mini Metro for the short routes close by, in town. A couple of times Dad had to use it because his was in the shop. He hated it. It was neat tho’.
      Dad’s favorite was the ‘47 he had, because it had I believe 16” wheels, so when the snow tires were on, it was great. I don’t remember him ever being stuck in snow.

      Like 0
  15. Mike Brown

    My “hippie” uncle had a Metro back in the mid 70s. In its previous life, it was a delivery truck for our local branch of Nickle’s Bakery delivering bread and other baked goods to local stores. He painted it green with a roller, finished the inside as a (sorta) RV and lived in it for a while. It was in decent shape and ran well when he got it but he never knew how or had the money to take care of anything so, both he and the van ended up in our pasture eventually.

    Like 2
  16. RC Graham

    The one to have is the Chevrolet/Grumman-Olson Kurbside. Body was aluminum. Had a friend with one that, much like nearly everything else in his fascinating life, remained an unfinished project until his passing.

    Like 1

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