1958 International Harvester Receives A Technology Transplant – Extracurricular Projects
As we focus on the future of personal use transportation at AutoPacific we find that history really does repeat itself. When it comes to cars and trucks, many people really enjoy the styling of yesteryear but generally prefer today’s technology. The aftermarket was first to pick up on the public’s obsession with this fusion of ‘old school’ styling and modern technology by stuffing new drivelines and HVAC systems into show vehicles. These types of vehicles could be seen strutting their stuff at SEMA or events like your local car show. But in the last decade manufacturers have answered the call with a myriad of retro-styled NEW vehicles. Some suspects are (or have been) the VW Beetle, Mini Cooper, Ford Mustang, Ford Thunderbird, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Chevrolet HHR, Chevrolet SSR and the Toyota FJ Cruiser.
Design Inspiration from the Past – Does Nostalgia Sell?
Fans of these retro styled vehicles may remember the original examples used for design inspiration. These original vehicles were built when fuel was cheap and steel was the material of choice. The times have changed however and as with most new vehicles, using plastic as a build material helps cut costs, reduce weight and improve fuel economy. This heavy use of plastic may come as a turn-off to loyal purists but many do a quick cost/benefits analysis and realize that ride, handling, fuel economy, safety, etc., etc., are much improved over the respective vehicles ancestor. Aside from too much plastic the resurgence of these retro vehicles has been well received, documented by the overwhelming popularity of these vehicles.
People have realized that purchasing a new FJ Cruiser is much easier and more efficient (in both time and money) than rebuilding or restoring an old FJ40. Many other issues arise such as
• RARITY (older vehicles are in short supply – it may be hard to find an unmolested, prime example that won’t break the bank)
• EDUCATION (every vehicle has it’s quirks, issues, or Achilles heal)
• SPACE (where are you going to perform the restoration of a vehicle),
• FOCUS (there is so much involved in a restoration focus is needed to concentrate efforts on one key component at a time) and
• PATIENCE (kiss your friends and family goodbye and let them know that you will see them again in a few years – a restoration can turn into a full time job).
Something About Owning HERITAGE
Nevertheless, there are still a few people out there that, for whatever reason, decide that there is something about restoring and owning a vehicle with a history, heritage, and a little ‘patina’. They decide that the blood, sweat, and tears they shed will only strengthen their pride of ownership and the work they put into the vehicle creates a bond that goes deeper than sheet metal.
Restorations performed decades ago may have been limited by the original manufacturers parts department or the aftermarket, but not any longer. Today both OEMs and the aftermarket have grown into what is now a multibillion dollar a year industry. With the depth and breadth now provided by the automotive aftermarket only time and money seem to be the constraints. Now the restoration enthusiast has the ability to incorporate the newest technology into their choice of body and frame. Fusing a classic ride with modern technology has formed the newest type of automotive restoration that many in the industry are calling ‘restomod’.
1958 International Harvester Travelall – Now In Process
As it turns out I am one of those guilty few who have decided to begin a project that will fuse the steel of yesteryear with the technology of today. The journey began a few years ago after attending a party hosted by some family friends. The conversation shifted towards automobiles and eventually their tired ‘truck’ resting in their side driveway. By the end of the night the fate of a 1958 International Harvester Travelall had changed hands and plans to resurrect this once loyal 4-wheel-drive companion were about to be set in motion… $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
To Be Continued