- The International Scout was introduced in 1961 as the first competitor to the Willy Jeep.
- Like the Jeep, the Scout had a removable roof, a fold-down windshield, and four-wheel drive.
- This first-generation Scout, which is both impressively restored and unmodified, provides a rare look at one of the earliest SUVs.
Volkswagen is planning to resurrect the Scout nameplate for a lineup of battery-powered SUVs and pickups, and while we have yet to see what they’ll look like, VW would be hard-pressed to capture the purity and charm of the first-generation International Harvester Scout. Unfortunately, the harsh duty cycle of most off-roaders, combined with the original Scout’s extreme propensity to rust, means that an OG Scout is a rare sight today. That’s what makes this 1964 example all the more striking. Up for auction on Bring a Trailer, which like Car and Driver is part of Hearst Autos, it has been restored to a stock appearance—rather than a modern, bro-dozer reinterpretation—and serves as a reminder of how basic 4x4s were at the dawn of the SUV age.
Check out the interior: vinyl bench seat, metal dash, metal door panels, fabric check-straps for the doors, and manual everything, although there is glovebox—plus a heater and a defroster.
This Scout is powered by a 152-cubic-inch inline-four (actually half of the I-H 304-cubic-inch V-8) fed by a single-barrel carb and paired with a three-speed manual gearbox. The part-time four-wheel-drive system has manual locking front hubs, and this Scout rolls on 15-inch black steelies.
Later Scouts would grow larger, (somewhat) more mechanically sophisticated, and (a bit) more comfortable. The second-gen Scout 800 arrived in 1965 and the Scout II in 1971. With vintage SUVs of all stripes seeing keen collector interest, Scouts are being restored and typically upfitted mechanically for greater capability or just a more extroverted look. It’s interesting, though, to see the one in its original form, the result of a design brief “to replace the horse.”
The auction ends September 7.
Deputy Editor, Reviews and Features
Joe Lorio has been obsessed with cars since his Matchbox days, and he got his first subscription to Car and Driver at age 11. Joe started his career at Automobile Magazine under David E. Davis Jr., and his work has also appeared on websites including Amazon Autos, Autoblog, AutoTrader, Hagerty, Hemmings, KBB, and TrueCar.