Recently we were invited to attend the Barrett Jackson Northeast – Mohegan Sun show based in Uncasville, Connecticut, in the duPont REGISTRY booth. This was an opportunity we could not pass on. After loading up our re-imagined 1961 International Scout 80 we hit the road for the long drive to New England. Nothing could have prepared us for the overwhelming reactions along our journey.
Our Scout’s are modern masterpieces, tucked away under the classic styling of a 1960’s workhorse. A simple radio, round multifunction gauges, and simple top-mounted wipers are complimented by modern electronics and safety features, ensuring a safe trip. Four-wheel disc brakes with fully functional anti-lock brakes give you the confidence to blast down the interstate at 65mph, something that could not be done in 1961. A fuel-injected 3.8L V6 under the hood rumbles the miles away without breaking a sweat. We even managed a cool 17mpg with cruise control set at highway speed.
As we passed from town to town, the Scout was a celebrity. Waves and cameras kept us company as we passed from state to state. A scenic detour through the farms of eastern Pennsylvania brought us into the lives of many fans of International Harvester. After being waved over into a gas station, a gentleman told us the memories he shared with his father, working on the farm using his Scout. From snowplows to spreading feed, these simplistic trucks did it all.
Leaving Pennsylvania behind, we entered the city life, where the modern suspension really began to shine. Coil springs supplemented with Bilstein 5100 shocks tackled the pothole-ridden roads with confidence. The 42RLE automatic transmission simplified bumper to bumper traffic without a second thought. Finally stopping for food and gas in Greenwich, Connecticut. The bright red Scout drew everyone’s attention from the masses of Land Rover’s and Maserati’s. The diamond-stitched leather seats and oak hardwood truck bed felt right at home in this hideaway of luxury.
A few hours later we found ourselves at Barrett-Jackson in the duPont REGISTRY booth. Loading in we saw everything from roaring muscle cars to exotic Italian supercars. A sea of haulers (even a couple Internationals) covered the parking lot landscape. We joined the parade of cars into the expo center, lead by a Shelby Cobra, and followed by a Callaway Corvette, somehow the Scout still stole the attention of bystanders. As the Bronco builders looked on, our bug covered International drew a small crowd within the duPont REGISTRY booth, many blown away at the new capabilities of a once purpose-built farm truck.
The Barrett-Jackson show was a symphony of events, all taking place in harmony. From the auction to the expo center, an army of event staff, vendors, and bidders all flow through the booths taking in the show. Unable to fathom the number of people, we told our story of how we found ourselves there in such a recognizable vehicle. We met old International mechanics, current and previous owners, even owners of dealerships where they were sold. Many would sit in the drivers seat to recall the view over the flat, heavy steel hood. Many more would share their experiences growing up around these tools of transportation. With no other Scouts in sight, we were a must-see on the tour through Mohegan Sun.
After a long week of everything automotive, it was time to go. Again we loaded up our Scout 80, stacking suitcases and signs on our stainless steel and oak hardwood bed, setting the GPS for home. Leaving Connecticut we found ourselves in a line of thunderstorms. Wipers rocking back and forth we tackled down trees, traffic and detours. The Scout didn’t skip a beat. Left and right camera phones pointed our way as we turned the radio up and patiently waited for things to clear. LED headlights and marker lights shined bright, even through the heaviest rain.
Finally, New York City, a right of passage for anyone traveling the I-95 corridor. Skyscrapers and endless cars surrounded us as we approached the George Washington Bridge. Of course, we had to take the upper level while we wondered when the last Scout 80 would have passed the same road. With slider windows open, we slowly made the trip across into New Jersey. The bittersweet feeling of a road trip coming to a close overtook us. We made our Facebook posts and updated our live feed as we left the sea of traffic behind us. The state lines seemed to fall like dominoes as we continued our way south. With only a few hours to go we stopped for our final fill up in Richmond, Virginia.
Now after midnight, we turned onto I-85 south. Greeted with 70mph speed limit signs we pushed the cruise control up, set a course for Cary, North Carolina, and motored on. Reality began setting in as we contemplated what we had accomplished. The late nights, problem-solving, and creative solutions of building such a unique vehicle were lifted off our shoulders as the mile markers passed. From a body on a rotisserie, an engine-less frame on a jig, and idea sketched out on paper, it all became real. Pulling in the driveway, finally at home, a bit of sadness came over me as I realized the adventure was over. Even after 1600 miles, all I could think was “when can I do this again?”
Presented by Taggart Scout
With age comes wisdom, and we have come to the following conclusion: Classics and exotics are our wheelhouse and are what we love! Whether you take delivery of a Scout we create or have us customize one to your desired specs, Taggart Scout has all your bases covered.