Editor’s note: The ClassicCars.com Journal will be covering all of the action during Arizona Auction Week in Scottsdale, Arizona. Check out our other coverage here.
American four-wheel-drive vehicles, particularly the Chevrolet Blazer and Ford Bronco, have enjoyed quite a renaissance in the past few years, becoming mainstays at collector car auctions. But the next big thing on the classic 4×4 scene could be the International Scout.
Late last year, Hagerty tabbed the Scout as the “bargain alternative to the Blazer and Bronco.”
Hagerty valuation editor Andrew Newton said in October that 1961-71 Scouts are rarer than their competitors, though International Harvester isn’t as well-known a name as Chevy and the Blue Oval.
“The more established names are top of mind,” he was quoted. “A lot of people don’t even think about International Harvester.”
Granted, Scouts have not caught up to the top 4x4s in terms of price, but Hagerty may have spoken too soon in labeling the Scout a bargain buy. In the same piece, the classic car insurance company said insurance-quote values for the vehicles had increased about $1,500 (about 12 percent) from 2017 to 2018. That’s not an enormous jump, especially in the collector car world, but it could be a sign of the times to come, as values had been practically flat in the three years prior.
Nice Scouts typically fetch somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000 at auction (as the lone Scout on Barrett-Jackson’s 2019 Scottsdale docket did), but some prime examples have been going for tens of thousands more.
ClassicCars.com auction expert Andy Reid said he had an acquaintance who bought an exceptionally nice Scout II for $30,000 last year. Months later, he was offered $80,000 for the vehicle.
“They’re the next big thing, but no one’s really talking about it yet,” Reid said, adding that his acquaintance did not take the deal.
Another sign the Scout may be ready to take off is the increasing difficulty of finding them. While already more scarce than the Bronco or Blazer, low-cost first-generation Scouts (produced between ’61 and ’71) are getting snapped up, leading more prospective buyers looking at the second generation, which was produced until 1980.
Once those run out, the law of supply and demand could apply and drive prices — and the Scout — into the same range as the Bronco and Blazer.
And those are running out. Consider, for example, the 2019 Arizona auctions. Barrett-Jackson had the aforementioned vehicle on offer, while Russo and Steele had two. The other auctions? None.
Meanwhile, Barrett-Jackson had plenty of Broncos and a few Blazers. The other auction houses also had them.
Hagerty said the primary people looking to insure their Scouts are in their mid-40s, and the ownership group is getting younger each year. The insurance company theorized that more buyers are turning to the Scout because of their relatively low prices compared to Broncos and Blazers, but Velocity Restorations owner Brandon Segers has a different idea.
“These are their high school cars,” he said. “These people getting into their 40s are becoming higher-ups, becoming executives and they want to buy their old high school cars or that car they always wanted back then.”
Segers’ company specialized in fully custom builds, particularly 4x4s. He said his phone has been ringing off the hook for years about Broncos, but calls are coming in recently about Scouts.
He had about four or five of the vehicles in his Pensacola, Florida shop, which sources, builds and fully customizes, when we spoke during the Barrett-Jackson sale.
But if there’s one blockade to the Scout becoming the next hot classic 4×4, it’s the price not of the vehicle but of the parts.
“They’re more difficult. Parts are not really out there on the market,” Segers said, adding that some Scout parts cost 10 times more than those for the Bronco, simply because of supply and demand.