1971 International Harvester Travelall Review May 3, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)
The Travelall was an SUV manufactured by the International Harvester Company, an agricultural equipment manufacturer that also produced a range of light trucks in competition with the larger automakers. International was one of a number of small manufacturers that were once able to offer innovative and niche vehicles to consumers in addition to the Big Three, and the Travelall was available between 1953 and 1975. We’ll admit that we have a certain nostalgia for these small companies that built these amazing vehicles on a small budget. The 1971 models are part of the fourth and final generation, which began with the 1969 model year. While this model was orphaned when IHC stopped producing passenger vehicles in 1980, the Travellall is still popular today for its funky styling and durability—if you can find one.
Quacks Like a Truck, Walks Like a Truck
If you aren’t familiar with the International Harvester Travelall, you should know that this full-size SUV was based on a truck. International Harvester manufactured construction equipment and commercial vehicles such as tractors, delivery vans, and tractor-trailers. The company branched out into passenger vehicles including motor homes and pickup trucks based on their light-duty vehicle platforms. For buyers at the time, this meant that the Travelall rode like a truck with the durability and fuel efficiency to match. If you were to compare it to a current model, it is most similar to full-sized truck-based SUVs like the contemporary Chevrolet Suburban and the Ford Expedition.
The first passenger model was a panel truck introduced in 1953 based on the IHC R Series but with its own “Travelall” badging. By 1971 the last generation of the Travelall had been upgraded with modern styling for the time and a spacious interior. It had been released in 1969 based on the D-Series 1000 pickup truck but with styling similar to the smaller International Scout off-road model. Following the Chevrolet Suburban, the fourth generation Travelall was one of the first full-size SUVs and paved the way for modern models. Despite a dedicated following, Travelall sales could never compete with more popular models from larger manufacturers. It was discontinued in 1975 and International became Navistar in 1986.
In 1971, there were several different versions of the International Travelall available, including the 1010, 1110, and 1210. Most models came with 2WD while the 1110 and the 1210 came standard with 4WD. You may find a Travelall from 1971 with either a 3-speed manual gearbox or a 4-speed manual. Rare models might have an Adaptive Braking System, operating only on the rear wheels, that was introduced in late 1971. Due to the expense, it was a rare option and finding a working model will be highly unusual.
There were three V8 engines available across the lineup. These eight-cylinder powerplants came straight from IHC and came in 304, 345, and 392 cubic inch displacements. Due to a shortage of their in-house eight-cylinder mills, IHC also sold the Travelall with the AMC inline six until 1972 and the rare Travelall V-400 with the AMC 401 ci V8. Because of this, you can find a 1971 Travelall that has a power output of between 145 and 253 horsepower. 1971 was the last model year that the 6-cylinder engine was available since it proved unpopular compared to the other engines. Owners were eager for the best eight-cylinder mills from IHC.
If you are interested in finding a 1971 International Harvester Travelall, you may have to do a bit of searching, but should be able to find one. The truck attracted a loyal, if small, following during its production that kept their vehicles running for years. Also, there were tons of unusual variations with raised roofs and extended wheelbases. These models were modified by Springfield Equipment Company for use as school buses, limousines, and ambulances. Auto enthusiasts occasionally find the Travelall in junkyards, although they will typically need serious repairs. Modern collectors admire this vehicle for its influence on the modern SUVs and enthusiasts might appreciate the retro appeal and quality engineering. With a bit of research, you should be able to find your own piece of automotive history.
[Updated 7 September 2017.]