Forget The Bronco, Say Hello to the Carolina Scout
There are few vehicles as iconic as the ’66-’77 Ford Bronco. With the 2020 Ford Bronco coming soon, most purists hope that Ford’s modern revamp will have the soul of the first-generation off-roader. However, while the Early Bronco gets the notoriety for that familiar open-top SUV styling, it wasn’t the first to create the look. In fact, it was International Harvester (IH) in 1961 who rolled out that classic flat-nose, two-door 4x4 silhouette with the Scout.
Fast forward over five decades later and the Scout platform remains a sought-after classic. Unlike the Early Bronco platform, which continue to demand a premium price on the open market, Scouts can vary wildly in price. This makes far more accessible for those looking for the classic lines, but don’t care so much for the Blue Oval. While the last Scout rolled off the assembly line in 1980, you can still find many pristine examples of the trucks rolling along the highway and in farm fields today. An excellent example of this can be had with Jerry Lachman’s 1976 Scout II.
Starting off with a fairly clean Scout II, Lachman’s goal was to create an almost showroom-new vehicle with a bit of modern touches. It would be a balance of preservation, performance, and tribute as this full frame-off build would take nearly a year to complete. Of course, we’re fans of vehicles new and old, so we caught up with the Carolina blue Scout in Wilmington, North Carolina to check out the details on this unique classic.
Found in 1902, International Harvester’s first combustion-powered contributions were more focused on agricultural equipment, not trucks. It wouldn’t be until 1961 that the company would branch out into the mainstream automotive world with the Scout. You can still find many of its tractors and Scout platforms working on farms across America today.
The Scout II could be had with a variety of powerplants. These included a V-8 and short-lived Nissan diesel option. To crank up the power, and add a little reliability, a GM crate engine was installed. This fuel-injected 350ci V-8 is backed by a 727-automatic transmission.
The original Dana 20 transfer case, along with the OE Dana 44 axles got a complete rebuild before going back under the rig. Fresh 4.10 gears help move the Scout II along, while a 3-inch Rough Country Suspension lift offers a subtle boost.
For tires, a set of 33x12.50R15 Nitto Trail Grapplers were wrapped around 15x8 wheels that were coated white. The balance of the Trail Grapplers aggressive pattern, but competent on-road manners made this set an excellent blend of old and new.
Inside, custom seats, along with a one-off roll bar, update the interior. New AutoMeter gauges line the dash, while a Vintage Air system makes the ride more comfortable on hot days.
Fixed Auto Restoration out of Castle Hayne, North Carolina, performed the majority of the work on the Scout II. This includes the full body-off restoration, Carolina Blue paint job, as well as the custom rear bumper you see here.
The front of the Scout II has a host of modern cleanly mixed in with a mix of LED headlights and auxiliary lighting. The front bumper was actually designed for a Jeep Wrangler JK and modified to work on this platform.
This Carolina white and blue theme is very deliberate as the owner is a die-hard North Carolina Tar Heel’s basketball fan. In fact, flip down the driver’s visor and you’ll find head coach Roy William’s autograph.
Digging this classic? Be sure to check out this pickup with a Preserved Patina.