1917 IHC Auto Wagon

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Project by rustfever posted 10-12-2009 02:05 PM 4357 views 3 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As I told a few days ago, I completely rebuilt this ‘Auto Wagon’ over the last several years. It is a 1917 International Model ‘H’. It is rated as 3/4 ton. It has a 4 cylinder engine capable of producing something near 20 hp. and was cabable of top speed of near the same.

I just took the truck to it’s first show, and you can see the wife and I, riding over to load into the trailer. I also included a pic of the truck as found, and 4 pics of the reconstruction in progress.

The machinery runs well, albeit a bit cranky to get running. Once up to operational temperature, it runs very well. The top speed I’ve had it is about 12 MPH.

One side note…the wood wheels had some deterioation that need to be stopped and corrected. I elected to give the wheels each a 4 month ‘bath’ in a specially constructed tub filled with boilded linseed oil. After the bath, the wheels were allowed to dry for three months, then scraped, sanded and 5 coats of spar varnish.

-- Rustfever, Central California

29 comments so far

View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 4371 days

#1 posted 10-12-2009 02:22 PM

Sweeeeet! Great job!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 4066 days

#2 posted 10-12-2009 02:23 PM

Rustfever, Am I seeing the fourth picture correctly? Is the motor sitting in there backwards with the radiator facing the firewall? If so, that’s the first time I’ve seen that. Great restoration!

-- John @

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1596 posts in 4346 days

#3 posted 10-12-2009 02:24 PM

WOW! Very nice, love to see this restored piece of history, excellent work too! Interesting orientation on the engine. Now lay off the gas pedal, we don’t want to hear about any speeding tickets.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4771 days

#4 posted 10-12-2009 04:05 PM

The motor is in backwards! How about that?! Beautiful restoration Rustfever!

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View firecaster's profile


574 posts in 4199 days

#5 posted 10-12-2009 04:14 PM

Does this truck have wooden brake drums?

-- Father of two sons. Both Eagle Scouts.

View SteveMI's profile


1157 posts in 4075 days

#6 posted 10-12-2009 04:37 PM

That looks like you are having way too much fun.

View dustyal's profile


1319 posts in 4256 days

#7 posted 10-12-2009 05:14 PM

Phenomenal restoration… by the way… when you get that old, you have the right to cranky in the morning and hard to start… it takes a bit longer to get warmed up, too…

Wheels are original… could you save any other wood components? Steering wheel was saved? Just curious… loved looking at the oldies when we lived in Hershey, PA and they had their huge fall meet.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4366 days

#8 posted 10-12-2009 05:17 PM

Very nice looking vehicle wish it were mine, have fun friends . LOL Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View gary46's profile


6 posts in 3930 days

#9 posted 10-12-2009 05:21 PM

Great job! You’ll probably be in many parades.

-- Gary, Arkansas

View Loucarb's profile


2388 posts in 4226 days

#10 posted 10-12-2009 05:30 PM

Fantastic restoration.

View ohwoodeye's profile


2436 posts in 3934 days

#11 posted 10-12-2009 05:33 PM

Any time you need a chauffeur – GIVE ME A CALL!!!!!!!!!!!

-- "Fine Woodworking" is the name given to a project that takes 3 times longer than normal to finish because you used hand tools instead of power tools. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View rustfever's profile


793 posts in 4091 days

#12 posted 10-12-2009 07:26 PM

Huff and Dado.
Yes, the motor is in there backwards. So is the raidator. This was so the teamsters, could not back their freight wagons into the radiator, crushing it, thus rendering the ‘smell, noisy’ automobiles useless. The French started this style, calling it the ‘Berloit’ or something close to that. Many makers picked up on the practice, including Mack and International. This orientation proved poor, at best. In 1924, International brought out a new line of truck, moving the raidatior back out front. But they added a set of bars to prevent the teamsters doing damage. The bars were call a ‘Grill’.
Now you know why all automobiles today, have a ‘grill’

-- Rustfever, Central California

View rustfever's profile


793 posts in 4091 days

#13 posted 10-12-2009 07:29 PM

No the brakes are not wooden. They are made from raw ‘Asbestos’, 3” wide. I was forced to have new brake shoes made, at no small cost. But the do stop the truck in a very short space. In fact, you need seat belts or you will get dumped over the sloping hood, if not holding on very tight.

-- Rustfever, Central California

View rustfever's profile


793 posts in 4091 days

#14 posted 10-12-2009 07:31 PM

You have a good eye. Steering wheel is original. That is the only piece of original wood left on the truck. I spent over 25 hours, just dismantling, scraping, clean, piecing it back together, and revinishing. Of course it has recieved 5 coats of spar varnish, too.

-- Rustfever, Central California

View a1Jim's profile


118066 posts in 4358 days

#15 posted 10-12-2009 07:35 PM

Great job what a fantastic truck.


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