Project Cars: International Scout 810 – The Beginning Of The Scout II, And The End Of My Social Calendar / Savings Account

International Harvester Scout 810 II
I have this unfortunate character trait.  I love purchasing a downtrodden vehicle.  Much like a bad choice in a relationship, or a rescue animal that bites and vomits on your carpets, I have a hard time starting off with a project that’s easy work.
Instead, I gravitate toward hulks that have been used without maintenance, or shelter, or compassion, for decades.  I know what to look for when buying an old car, but I just can’t get past wanting to give these pound puppies a better life, and restore them back into prideful, automotive art.  Enter my umpteenth vintage vehicle, and the current vacuum for all things time and money.  My 1971 International Scout 810.

Now, at this point most of you are asking, “What the hell is a Scout 810?”.  Well, it’s pretty much a 1971 Scout II, but an early number of them were made as 810s, to follow the 800A and 800B Scouts that ended in the early part of 1971.  Shortly after production began, and before any were sold, IH changed the name to Scout II – slapped some badges on the rear fenders and boom.
There are small differences between an 810 and a II that are fairly minor, but are easy enough to locate if you are searching for one of these rare cinder blocks.  There are fender well seams that stick out a touch over the wheels, the front grill is without the triple chrome trim, and it is welded to the lower valence, a decal in the glove compartment explains Scout 810 load capacities, the glove door button is a push button vs the Scout II key versions, and the horn button has an IH logo in a round circle.  I’ve been told that the sheet metal is a bit thicker than later Scouts, but at no time have broken out the micrometer to test this theory.
I was jazzed on this particular Scout because of it’s original, uncut dash components, steering wheel, and dash pad (sounds trivial, but it’s hard/expensive to track down decent dash parts for these). It is a 4×4 model with a 304 v8, and 4 speed transmission.  Also, someone along the way had done a front Dana 44 swap, so it had front disc brakes and Dana 44 diffs front and rear. What it lacked was power steering and a quality booster for brakes.
1971 International Harvester Scout 810

The condition of this particular vehicle was less than stellar, but I got it for a decent price, and I had a Scout II before, so I felt a bit better equipped to conquer it’s demons.  Of course, with each new ancient acquisition comes a brand new batch of demons.  This Scout had rusty floors, front fenders and sills.  The front frame has a pinch where the previous seller was teaching his daughter to drive stick, and she navigated into a wall.  The front leaf springs had a smaller lift profile than the rear and the brake lines were stretched from the lift.  It leaked oil anywhere it could, and belched exhaust from the manifolds. The engine ran rough, the wiring crumbled like graham crackers, and the front axle had a busted stub shaft, which made 4 wheel drive inoperable.  The seats were dirty, beige 80’s GM seats ,and the paint was a rattle can potpourri of greens, oranges and blacks.   That was plenty of an uphill battle to get going.
International Scout II
Normally, I would jump into the drive line first, and get it running and driving really well before diving into the esthetics, but we were only going to be renting our warehouse space for a short time longer, and I wanted to try my hand at painting.   So I took off the hardtop, my compadre Bill Mertz helped me get a roll bar in it, and I got to removing layers of old Krylon.   I found a better set of front fenders locally and ditched the rotted ones.  They don’t look too bad in these photos, but believe me you, they were more of a mesh than a steel panel.  The front grille was in pretty good shape and originally color matched to the body, and although I do like that look, I decided to go with a 1972 grill that had chrome surrounds and paint it stainless steel, close to the color used on my old 1974 Scout.
1971 International Scout II
Test fitting the front fenders, 1972 grill and valance, I find that the later fenders have a noticeably less amount of bolt holes than the 1971 fenders.   Deciding what colors to choose, I went with an orange close to the IH Omaha Orange it was originally painted.  Here you can see the grill painted stainless without it’s chrome surrounds on or headlight brik a brac.
1971 International Scout II
Now, I hate sanding like every other human on the planet hates sanding, but I did what I could in the low amount of time I had.  Could I have done a better job ?  Way better.  Can I live with the work I did here ?  Kinda.  Green paint now gone, lots of priming and more freakin’ sanding.  Next was to order some paint, figure out how to build a booth, and then build a booth. (Notice the super rare 1960’s BMW 700 right in front of the truck. It was apparently pulled out of a dumpster. )
1971 International Scout II
While the paint was on order, and I was figuring out the best way to not get orange on a warehouse full of vintage cars, I decided to use my time to get some much needed tuning and safety repairs done.   I figured since I already had dana 44s front and rear, and that meant front disc brakes, I might as well just install a 1974 and later brake setup, which would have ran those same components, and easily bolt in.
I bought a used booster and master cylinder from a mid 70s truck (which I later installed a brand new master), purchased all new hard lines for under the truck, extended lines to get from the wheels to the body with lift clearance, and some nice braided lines from the master to the proportioning valve, which was also new.   I purchased a used Saginaw power steering box, pump and bracket, and installed those.  Did a quick tune up, sealed and painted the valve covers that were puking oil, and installed some exhaust manifold gaskets and donuts.
1971 International Scout II
The booth.
After much consideration about my space size, money, and time,  I decided to make a large, plastic sheeting booth.  It turned out to be 12’x 12′ x 20′.  I could fit my truck in and walk around it with enough space for a paint gun to do it’s job properly.  I bought a 100′ roll from Home Depot and was able to cover all walls, ceiling and floor, mounting it using an electric staple gun, and duct tape for closing seams (side note: when using an electric staple gun, you will fire at least one through your finger, and scream like an eagle – prepare for that).
I left a flap in the front to get in and out, installed a free, street found box fan in the rear to push air out, and another box fan in front to get some fresh warehouse quality air in – both of which had cheap A/C filters strapped to the sides to catch paint.  Plenty of light came through the plastic, and outside of some final cleaning and taping, I was almost ready to start spraying.

This is the “look who’s a painter now” photo.  I had an extra can of new Omaha Orange, that did not match the IH version, so I used it to get comfortable with the paint gun.  Moon landing suit, blue gloves and Adidas combo would become all the rage in the following year.  Fortunately, the week I decided to paint, the temperature would climb to over 90 degrees, making it a sweat box that would test the limits of my physical fabric.
1971 International Scout II
The color chosen turned out to be called Tangerine Twist, and was more of a dark, tomato-orange color.  A few passes of color and clear coat on some smaller parts had me confident enough to give the full body a go.  Notice the fully maxed A/C filter in the background after a bout of painting.  There was a 1960’s Alfa Romeo right on the other side of that fan, so I mowed through a dozen of those filters as to not destroy things already beautiful.
International Harvester Scout II1971 International Scout II
Four coats of color and four coats of clear were about all I could squeeze out of this paint kit.  This took me a full day in 100 degree heat.  Orange sweat was pouring into my eyes, that housed orange contact lenses.  The truck looking pretty good, I was ready to head home and get some fresh air up into whatever amount of brain cells I had remaining.  The clear coat was the real killer – even painting with a respirator, I was breathing like a Skeksis from the Dark Crystal that evening, trying desperately to stitch syllables together, through an inch of lung plastic, and with use of maybe a half dozen brain neurons.  I have 5 years less to live in this photo than I did the day before.
1971 International Harvester Scout II
With the booth torn down, the paint came out better than expected by a first timer.  Next paint job I will be spending more time on buffing it out afterward, as this paint job has it’s share of orange peel to live with.  But, you know what distracts your eye away from orange peel ? Big ass white stripes.

Here’s my good man Adam, with a beer or two in him, a bottle of ActionTac, squeegee, and the striping application on it’s way.  This was a two man job to get those huge stripes straight and flat before they took hold.  I chose a rarely used 1976-77 Scout stripe kit, because I love the way the stripes climb up on to the hood, where they end in the word Rallye.  White and orange, full Creamsicle colors.  I was happy to have something different than the ‘black out everything’ trend that was currently popular.
1971 International Harvester Scout II
Finished stripes and painted grille, with International logo installed.  It is at this point, that what I had hoped was finally starting to come together.  This is the look I always wanted my truck to have, and it was getting there in short time.
1970's Jackman wheels
Jackman Wheels
There were a few items I really had to track down for this build.  The hardest, for sure being a full set of original Jackman 15×10 wheels from the 1970’s.  Yes, there are white spoke wheels around, but nothing as burly and as Baja as an original set of these.  I found a set in Ohio on Craigslist, and convinced the seller to drop them off at a pack and ship, and get them out to California.
They were plenty crusty when they arrived, but a trip to a Les Schwab tire center, and I had them powder coated for under a hundred bucks.  A local deal on 33 x 12.5 x 15 Adventuro mud tires had me a set mounted for $500.  Just look at how fat the welds are where the spokes meet the rim.  Each wheel has a J logo stamped into one of the spokes.  Super 70s, off road vibe.
1971 International Harvester Scout II
To get the interior the way I wanted it, I had to locate a couple of hard items, but most of the stuff was available new from Scout parts suppliers.  The seats are Corbeau Baja RS.  Comfortable, reclining, and they match the vibe of the rest of the truck.  A Tuffy center console lockbox houses the actual stereo, which allows the AM radio to remain proudly in the center of the dash.  Fortunately, the dash itself, and pad, came with the truck in good shape. Original knobs I found at junkyards, and new shift decals for the 4 speed and transfer case gave some cool, subtle details for a largely black cabin. The IH logo in the horn button was changed by the 1972 production year.
1971 International Harvester Scout 810
With the wheels strapped on, I added new poly body bushings, front springs, and shackles to get the stance correct, with proper clearance for the bigger tires.
1971 International Harvester Scout 810
Lots of time spent at night detailing emblems, and fortunately located an original push bar for the front, so I can get some fog lights mounted up.  The rear step bumper was painted stainless steel to match the grill.  The chrome grille trim offers a subtle difference from the actual steel paint – the body color, stripe and wheel combo offer the real pop.
1971 International Harvester Scout 810
Seen here with it’s bikini top, this truck will be used more as a California beach, and camping rig rather than a Rubicon crawler.  With a rear bike carrier I can take my XR400 to the forest, tow a travel trailer, and find the occasional mud hole to dampen it’s good looks.  Stay tuned for the electrical overhaul using an American Autowire kit, as well as my battle with the vicious IH valley pan leak, front axle repairs, and some new floors and sills.

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16 responses to “Project Cars: International Scout 810 – The Beginning Of The Scout II, And The End Of My Social Calendar / Savings Account”

  1. nanoop Avatar

    This is amazing, paint and stripes and all. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for keeping her on the road!

  2. John Goreham Avatar
    John Goreham

    That is really fantastic!

  3. mdharrell Avatar

    I’m really more of a devotee of the 1970 International Harvester line, but I’ll admit this ’71 is okay, too.

  4. outback_ute Avatar

    Nice work and the result certainly looks good. You don’t want to make it too nice to use

  5. Scoutdude Avatar

    The stainless grille opening trim isn’t a 72 thing, it is a custom exterior package item. My 72 grille doesn’t have it.
    Nice looking truck.

    1. David Link Avatar
      David Link

      Ah – I stand corrected. 71 and 72 had the same grill, and the chrome was an option. The grill was changed all together by 1973.
      Excellent intel good sir.

      1. Scoutdude Avatar

        The new 73 grille went back to being spot welded to the valance and being body colored. Then for 74 they went back to bolted and painted silver. That same grille showed up again in 75 but the square plastic bezels were added around the headlights. I have a 72 Travel Top that came to me with a 75 grille, sans bezels that I’ve since replaced with a 72 unit w/o trim from a parts truck. I also have a 73 Cab Top.

    2. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      …oh, hi Scoutdude!

  6. Victor Avatar

    Top notch work,well done.

  7. Alff Avatar

    I have heard that clear should not be shot with a simple respirator but with a fresh air setup. Am I misinformed?

    1. DoctorNine Avatar

      Depends on how well you like your lungs.

    2. David Link Avatar
      David Link

      That sounds plenty correct, but sometimes you just roll with what you have, and live a little shorter. Next time, It’ll be a healthier setup.

      1. Alff Avatar

        Don’t get me wrong – I’ve done the same. But I only had enough nerve to do it in the driveway with the gun at arm’s length. If it had been anything better than a beater, I would have at least used a HobbyAir.

  8. DoctorNine Avatar

    Absolutely beautiful.

  9. ayuvar Avatar

    I think part of the problem you might be having with the vapours is that you seem to have the wrong filters on your respirator. 2097s are for “nuisance level” vapours (basically just filter out the smell). They’re more for stuff like airborne dust (sanding, particulate, asbestos, etc.)
    For painting the 3M filter I usually use is a 6001 organic vapour cartridge, which has a charcoal filter and a bunch of other stuff in it. They take the same bayonet fitting as the 2097.
    They’re the “big chunky” filters, not the little disc ones. It’s the same one you get if you buy a 3M Tekk “paint project” kit.

  10. Nick Berger Avatar
    Nick Berger

    Hey David- any chance there is another site to see the pictures from this thread?

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