Interior Restoration of an International Travelall
Once upon a time, if you wanted a big, sturdy four-door “wagon” (the term “SUV” hadn’t yet been invented), there was really only one choice: head to your local International dealer. Until Chevrolet finally got wise, and slowly started adding rear doors, one in 1967, the other in 1973, the Travelall pretty much had that market all to itself. And in those times, the word “Travelall” was as iconic and familiar as “Suburban” is today. It was an institution of higher function, and a very highly regarded one.
In 1961, International took a very bold step forward: a completely new chassis featuring a torsion bar independent front suspension, with the front wheels set further forward, both allowing a significant lowering of the body. Well, now that was going against the trend in more recent decades. But at the time, many folks were still a bit averse to the “truckiness” of utility wagons and pickups. IH’s trucks now sat very low indeed, and made them so much more palatable during the lower, longer, wider era. And available automatic transmission, and power steering and brakes meant Mommy was much more likely to share Daddy’s dream of a Travelall.
Between sitting so low, and all that glass, visibility was superb. In fact, I’m surprised it sits as low as it does, given that this one is a 4×4. This was also a significant departure from the Big Three 4x4s: they rode sky high, and on punishingly hard springs. Their market then were serious off road work applications, like utilities and loggers and such. Of course, the International could handle that too, but it didn’t require a big penalty to have four wheel drive with one.
by Paul Niedermeyer