International Travelall – the Suburban Alternative

I have been looking for a Suburban to put my family of four kids and two adults in. It is not a lot of fun to continually look for one specific make and model of vehicle. I know about the Ford Expedition Max, but those are too expensive currently for our budget. I wish there were more options in the eight-passenger full-size SUV segment with actual cargo space behind the third row.  So I started to look in the past for other full-size SUV options. This lead my to International and the Travelall, and many questions.

How many seats did it have? What were the powertrain options? Can I get it in four-wheel-drive? Why did the International Travelall not do better?

Maybe it’s because the ads presented it as a wagon.

Competition

The Travelall is similar in size to Suburbans of the same time period. The Travelall in the ad above represents the fourth generation of the Travelall (1969-75) compared to the SIXTH generation of Suburban (1967-72). The GM model name entered production 18 years before the first-ever Travelall arrived on the market. There wasn’t any competition from Ford or Dodge at the time. The early Broncos were still relatively small in size. The Dodge Ramcharger didn’t enter the market until the end of the Travelall’s model run.

The Travelall’s wheelbase is shorter than the Suburbans (119 inches vs. 127 inches). The overall length was shorter too (203.9 inches vs. 215.5 inches). The 2021 Suburbans are going to be 225 inches. Ten inches longer than the 1969-72 versions.

The Travelall’s only true competitor was the Suburban.

Powertrains

Both Travelall and Suburban were available with an inline six-cylinder engine. The Suburban also had a V6 option that the Travelall did not. The Travelall had an optional 6.6L AMC V8 and three different displacement International Harvester V8s (5.0L, 5.7L, & 6.4L). The Suburban also had an optional V8. Five to be exact: 4.6L, 5.0L, 5.4L, 5.7L, & 6.5L.

The Travelall has four different manual transmissions: a three-speed, a four-speed, a five-speed, and a five-speed overdrive manual transmission. There was only one three-speed automatic transmission in the Travelall.

The Suburban had a three-speed and a four-speed manual transmission. The Suburban also had the patented Powerglide (two-speed automatic) and the Turbo-Hydramatic (three-speed automatic) transmissions.

Both of them drank a lot of fuel. The Travelall had a stock 17-gallon fuel tank. The Suburban’s tank was 21-gallons. That’s like forty to fifty miles more range.

Lasting Value

Yes, I know it’s the wrong generation of Suburban. Did you know that the Suburban was nicknamed the “Texas Cadillac?”

Capacity

The Travelall and Suburban had different seating capacities. The Suburbans could seat up to seven passengers using three rows and the Travelalls had a maximum of six in two rows. The center seat on the front row for both trucks had to do some dancing around the gear shift for the manual transmission-equipped trucks. Suburbans may have been able to hold more people, but this generation of Suburban only had three doors: one for the driver and two on the passenger side.

International Travelall Interior

The cargo capacity of the Suburban was larger. With the third-row seat in place for the Suburbans, then the Travelall would have more capacity, but that also meant two more people in the ‘Burb. Both trucks in these generations had the fold-down tailgate. The Suburbans could also be found with the barn-door style rear doors.

International Travelall Interior

Destined for a ‘Burb

I know that we are headed towards a Suburban. It makes the most sense (other than a minivan) for our “growing” family. We are not adding any more kids. It’s just that they are literally growing right now. My oldest is approaching teenage years and we can’t keep up with his food intake.

The second-row captain chairs, third row, and cargo space make a lot of sense. I still want a full-size van, but that is a campaign that I am currently losing. We’ll see if travel this summer can help that.

I hope that we see more Internationals restored. Parts are hard to come by, but they have interesting looks. The Internationals don’t look like everything else. It would be a shame to see these succumb to the rust and be lost. We didn’t even talk about Scouts at all.

International Travelall Restomod

Icon’s 1,000hp Suburban Build

By |2020-01-24T14:08:29+00:00January 24th, 2020|Cars You Should Know|21 Comments

About the Author:

Christopher Tracy
Chris works in marketing by day and writes offroad automotive pieces by night. Chris daily drives his 1994 Toyota Land Cruiser, #TheLandYacht. Just a dad trying to get his kids outside more. IG: @overlandingdad.