Rare survivor 1953 International Travelall passenger truck

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International
The Travelall was International's answer to the Chevrolet Suburban

Rarely seen today in any condition, the Pick of the Day is a 1953 International Travelall passenger truck that has survived as a preserved time-capsule with low mileage and an engaging back story.

An early precursor to the SUV, and competitor of the better-known Chevrolet Suburban Carryall, the Travelall has had just three long-term owners and shows a mere 35,500 miles on its odometer, according to the St. Louis, Missouri, dealer advertising the truck on ClassicCars.com.

International
The truck-based wagon has three rows of seats

The International stands as an all-original example, fully documented, with only wear items such as tires, belts and hoses replaced during its sheltered lifetime, says the dealer, adding, “The example here survives remarkably with just 35,535 original miles, and so beautifully original, one really has to see it in person to admire fully.”

The story of this Travelall starts when it was bought new on August 25, 1953, by Bremerton, Washington resident, Albert Tapp, who planned to use it “for family hunting outings and camping trips to Yosemite and Yellowstone,” according to the ad.

“Sadly, Mr. Tapp was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and the truck went into dry storage after he was no longer able to drive it,” the story goes. “He had named his Travelall Old Faithful, and it stayed with the sentimental family long after his passing.

International
The spartan interior looks to be in great condition

“Always detailed and protected, it would come to the attention of Harrah’s Automobile Collection researcher Reed Doph in January 1978. Once hearing of the truck’s availability, he promptly boarded plane for Seattle with only a toothbrush and briefcase carrying cash. He then drove his new acquisition back to Reno, Nevada, covering 800 miles when the odometer only read 31,000 miles.

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“He held onto this wonderful Travellall for 22 years before parting with it in 2000 to its third and final owner, Mr. Mohrschladt. He kept this vehicle very well-maintained and dearly loved these past 17 years.

“It continues to start perfectly and run down the road with utter ease. Truly a remarkable time capsule in every sense.”

International
The clean engine compartment shows high quality of preservation

The seller says the truck includes plenty of original paperwork and equipment.

“It will come with a host of original documentation that includes original purchase and ownership history, service stickers, Mr. Tapp’s driver’s license, maps of Olympic National Park, tool box, umbrellas, operator’s manual and original brochure,” the seller says.

With these sturdy trucks most often used up on farms and work sites, and scrapped after they became too old and battered, this Travelall is indeed a very special find after its life of ease and careful preservation.  As such, the asking price seems reasonable at $49,900.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

 

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

2 COMMENTS

  1. To my knowledge, the International Harvester Travelall has never had anything whatsoever to do with the Chevy Suburban. It’s related to the International light duty pickup trucks with which it shares components and even service manuals.

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