You Can't Save Them All

Lo, a pale horse.
I have a voracious ’78 International Scout Terra. Whereas most of my projects can subsist on a regular diet of morsels from the local parts store, this truck has had me sacrifice at least three others just like it to keep it on the road. My garage is my own Little Shop of Horrors, so when this ’74 Travelall popped up on Craigslist for a mere $700, I thought I had found my next victim. Turns out the truth was a bit more twisted.

Death Proof — the truck, not me.

No matter how many times I called or emailed, I couldn’t get the owner to give me the time of day, and eventually I stopped pestering the owner. Then I stumbled on the exact same rig in the local Pull-A-Part, sans instrument cluster and radio. Whoever had snagged the truck did so just for the gauges and left the rest to be picked apart by buzzards like myself. On opening the hood I found exactly what I was terrified to find in the first place – a complete 392, carb to oil pan.
It gets angry when you call it heavy.

Now, this presented something of a conundrum for the Bowman household. For one, I have a perfectly good 345 sitting on the engine stand at home. For two, the 304 that’s in Death Proof currently soldiers on without giving me too much grief, and lastly I have neither the space nor the inclination to store another massive IH engine in the shop. So what to do? Laden with environmental controls (which this engine isn’t) the 392 is good for 194 horsepower and 308 lb-ft of torque – a full 31 more ponies and 42 more twists than the 345. It’s also a shit-ton heavier and never came in the Scout chassis from the factory.
Big-block weight, small-block power.

I don’t ever really plan on doing any insane towing with DP, just regular runs to and from the hardware store, parts pulling and maybe a little project towing thrown in, so I didn’t feel I really needed those extra cubes. But at the same time, this was a 392 – a rare enough engine even when International was still churning them out. What’s more, this one was a mere $150 tip to tail. This is the crap that keeps me up at night. Save the lump from certain doom or leave it to its fate?
Let's go home, killer.

In the end, I choose a third route – I pulled the massive Carter and the rare four-barrel intake and went home. After doing a little digging, I found the parts will bolt right up to the 345 without a hiccup and allow for a little extra torque in the process. By the time I was out, the yard had bled me for close to $80, which made the pain of leaving the engine behind even worse, but sometimes you just have to face the fact that you can’t save — or keep — them all.

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  1. LTDScott Avatar

    That reminds me of the movie "Used Cars."

  2. Jo_Schmo Avatar

    Holy boat anchor batman! Is that tire in orbit?

  3. soo΄pәr-bādd75 Avatar

    Even though you paid over half the total engine price for just a manifold and carb, I'd say you did the right thing. Sure, 392 cubes just has a lovely sound to it, but with a perfectly good mill in the Scout now, and another equally good one on standby, a third one would most likely just be taking up space for no reason. At least you can fit the carb and manifold on a shelf somewhere, stashed until you are ready to call it into service. Engines aren't quite as easily tucked away.

  4. engineerd Avatar

    Having been married for over 2 years now, I've been learning the art of compromise. Sometimes, you have to let something go, not do something you want to do, or put goals on hold to keep the wife happy…which, as I've learned, makes my life easier.
    I'm sorry you had to let the engine go, but at least you got a piece of it to take home without having to contend with a wife wondering why you need another engine and, worse, why you want to keep it on her dining room table. Who knows, if you're lucky and find room for it one day, it may still be there.

    1. BrianTheHoon Avatar

      There's a piece of sagely wisdom to which I subscribe that is the bedrock for the domestic tranquility in our home:
      "When Momma's happy, everyone's happy. When Momma's not happy, no one is happy."
      I am convinced that the most of the marriages that end end failure do so because the husband did not understand/believe this.

  5. Mike_the_Dog Avatar

    My heart bleeds for that poor truck. Like engineered and our intrepid author, I too have trouble letting something like this pass. I'm so very very glad that this vehicle never crossed my path. I fear I would own it now if it had.

    1. CptSevere Avatar

      I hear you. I've always really liked Internationals, and hate to see one get wasted like this.

  6. Novaload Avatar

    Wow. Great shot of Death Proof—you can tell that is a Persona, not a machine. I would give him a wide, wide, berth.

  7. DeadinSideInc Avatar

    Not embarrassed to say this: I actually made the cute puppy sound when I saw the picture of that forlorn Scout.

  8. rocketrodeo Avatar

    $80? I'd say you got out of that yard cheap.

  9. Goingincirclez Avatar

    My god have mercy on the yard that seal's that Travelall's fate.

  10. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

    I am saddened that there is, in all likelihood, no way to pull that entire truck out and restore it.
    There's a pickup around here that's closely related to this – a '75, in a similar/identical colour. It's in good shape, and is used as a work truck.
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    It's definitely cleaner under the hood than the junkyard example. Same 392; the owner told me it's treated him well, and he's fortunately rather attached to it.
    <img src=""&gt;
    It's far luckier than this Scout II that I found slowly decomposing in the woods. Since it's clearly abandoned and the land isn't posted, I may go back for the gauges, badging, and such come spring. (Yes, I have an up-to-date tetanus shot.) It's a good thing I'm not much of a believer in the supernatural.
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