Vintage Work Truck! 1953 International Harvester

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Vintage vehicles, specifically vintage trucks are a hot commodity. Over the past few years, they seem to be coming out of the woodwork at every turn. It wasn’t long ago, a truck like this 1953 International Harvester would have been left to rot in a field or sold for scrap. But as these trucks become rarer, the value goes up. This one can be found here on eBay with an asking price of $850. Located in Charleston, West Virginia, the truck looks like a pretty daunting project. Continue reading below to decide for yourself if the low asking price is a good value or not.

It appears this truck spent a hard life as a work truck. Probably the neatest part of this truck is the door lettering. People spend a lot of time and money to re-create vintage door advertising to make a restoration into a “shop truck” but this one appears to be the real deal. I’ve even seen people buy just the doors off of a truck like this for several hundred dollars. It’s a little hard to make out the details, but you can see something like “Virgel Stepnus” on the driver’s door. The passenger door reads “Bloom…” on the bottom. Maybe “Bloomington?” The ad doesn’t have any clues on what the history of the truck is. Too bad the lettering is not more visible, that would increase the value of the truck dramatically.

The upholstery is pretty ratty, but that’s typical for a truck of this vintage. The good thing about restoring this type of truck is they are very simple to work on. You could reupholster the bench seat and get the gauges working for next to nothing.

The engine is a straight six and probably measures 220 cubic inches. The ad states that the seller hasn’t tried to crank it over, but that’s it. No information on the condition, miles, anything. There is also no title with the truck, so that is something to consider with the purchase price. Some jurisdictions are easier to get a replacement title than others.

The other part of this truck that is probably holding back the price is the long box. Old trucks seem to make the best hot rods or restorations if they are short beds. There’s just something sportier about a short bed. While the $850 asking price might seem great, the new owner is going to have a ton of money in the truck just getting it running, let alone restoring it. Let us know if you think this project is worth saving.

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  1. geomechs geomechsMember

    Definitely well-used, but looks like it could be restored without too many problems. The grill is obviously out of commission and would have to be replaced. I would also look for a better hood although the pickings could be slim. These old Binders were easy to work on and the drivelines were almost impossible to wear out. There is one problem that crops up with the throttle linkage, which has a shaft through the block that tends to rust solid. But it is a 1-ton and it will be a rough riding truck. Just the same you could have a lot of fun with it…

    Like 4
    • Howard A. Howard AMember

      Well, that didn’t last long. It looks rough, but someone got a good ol’ fashioned deal. Those parking lights disappearing was a standard item with these R and L series trucks. Nice to see they aren’t all $10g’s,,,yet.

      Like 3
      • DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

        Yep, the old “error in the listing” trick….

        Like 2
  2. azd

    Nice! I really like this one, especially the 9 foot bed and those “big truck” wheels. $850 seems fair for what it is. Looks mostly complete, too, and not beat to death either. These trucks are very, very simple machines and easy to work on if you have even the slightest mechanical ability.

    Looks like a Black Diamond “tilt valve” engine with single barrel Carter YF carb, so either 220 or 240 cid. Can’t remember when those came out, may be a replacement on this truck. Good engines, heavy and built tough, solid lifters, low revs but torque curve like a straight edge ruler. That, and a nice burly rumble without a muffler…

    Lots of parts interchangability with the 1/2 tons, the only real rare parts are the brake drums. That and fuel tanks, nothing aftermarket will fit without some sort of modification.

    Fun story, I had a 220 Silver diamond (same basic engine) that had sat for 25 years but still turned free. Put on new plug wires, rebuilt the carb, and darned if it didn’t fire on the very first crank. Not even a puff of smoke either – just a mouse nest that blew out of the rusted muffler. I was very surprised. After a tune up it pulls 16 inches of vacuum at idle and just ticks away happily.

    Like 6
  3. Gaspumpchas

    Had a customer who had one that he wanted to restore; ran great but we couldn’t get a clutch disc for it, and the throwout bearing shaft that ran thru the bellhousing was seized. He gave up on it. Good luck with this one- I bet that 6 banger will fire right up!


    Like 1
    • Howard A. Howard AMember

      I’m surprised to hear that. Most parts for these are still on the books in many parts places. This outfit in Ft. Wayne should have had a disc for you, or rebuild the one you had.

      Like 3
  4. stillrunners

    Dang…1 tonner with the long bed….cute…..and goooone !

    Like 1

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