Googling The Monster – The Work Rod

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Going to car shows is all very well and taking pictures is all very well, but what do you do if you come home with a find that you can’t identify? If you’re lucky it will be a registered entry and you can harvest information from the show placard – if it is just an interesting vehicle in the car lot with no owner about, you are on your own.

Thank goodness for Google. I puzzled for a long time about the basis for this pickup – I knew the rear wheel guards were a modern product because I have seen that chamfered profile before on tray-tops. And the bed and box might be just anything. But the basis – the cab shell – was the sticking point.

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I ran through Dodge, Ford, and Chevy with no real hope – I know their shapes intimately. I tried to convince myself that it was Studebaker, but pictures proved otherwise. I knew there were no Olds, Buick, or Cadillac pickups…and Mercury was Ford-shaped anyway. Then I remembered that we once owned an International Harvester Scout…

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Sure enough – mid-fifties International 1/2 ton pickup. I’ve found examples in the US from 1954 to 1956 with that distinctive little chromed side vent on the edge of the bonnet. All the rest of the build may indeed be a Frankenstein’s monster, but at least I know the main source.

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I like it, and I think the owner has done an interesting job of it. I particularly like the choice of the black and green scheme for cabin top and interior but probably not for the same reasons that the builder does. You see this scheme always echoes the Euclid earthmoving scrapers, trucks, and belly-dumps that I was familiar with in my youth. Of course they generally were covered in dirt as well as scratches. Most of them had fewer skulls attached to them as well…

Aw, that is just being fussy. This International has more chrome on it than the originals but that is hot rod style. The basic shape of the pickup was excellent and rewarded nearly any of the factory paint schemes of the time with no chrome at all. And they could look good as stock highboys, too.

I think rat rod is too harsh a word for it – let me propose a new one….work rod.

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