IHC R-Line 1953-1955 | Octane Press

IHC R-Line 1953-1955

The Lost Chapter Part 10: Light-Duty People-Movers

This material was discovered during the research for the International Scout Encyclopedia by Jim Allen and John Glancy. For this series Author and historian Jim Allen is sharing extra material that didn’t make the book, along with photographs from John Glancy’s extensive collection.

The R-Series trucks were definitely an extension of the success of the L-Line rigs. In many ways, they were the same as the L-Line but with many important upgrades that would bring the International Harvester Company (IHC) closer to the Scout. The first of those is the addition of four-wheel drive models in some of the GVW classes. Though it’s rare, the lowest GVW offered as a 4x4 was the R-120 three-quarter ton but the R-130 and R-140 4x4s were pretty common in the era.

The other significant addition in the R-Line was the Travelall, which was offered in this era only as a half-ton R-110 model. The Travelall is almost as famous as its little brother the Scout but may be even more ubiquitous as a symbol of the ‘50s and ‘60s. The Travelall had been prototyped in the previous L-Line and, besides the Woody conversions that dated back to before WWII, coachbuilders had converted KB Panels into people haulers as far back as 1949.  No 4x4 Travelalls were available in this era but the Travelall began earning its chops and moving up the IHC sales food chain. It was the big return of the IHC into the light-duty people-moving category after a long absence.

The R-Line era would mark the official entrance of a key player in the Scout story. Ted Ornas, who had done some contract styling work for IHC earlier, would work on the new R-Line as a freelancer and garner enough respect that a position would be shortly be created for him in the company as the official stylist. Ornas would have a hand in just about every truck built by IHC from that point on.

The Lost Chapter series is from Jim Allen and John Glancy's upcoming book, one so thorough it couldn't all fit into the final cut, so if you enjoyed this post check out the International Scout Encyclopedia for the full story.  

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