This 1959 International Harvester Travelall is a great example of one of the world’s first four-wheel drive sport utility vehicles, a vehicle type that would explode in popularity in later decades.
Two of the early pioneers of the modern 4×4 SUV were the International Harvester Travelall 4×4 and the Chevrolet Suburban 4×4, which were released in 1956 and 1957 respectively. However both of them were pipped to the post by the smaller Willys Jeep Station Wagon that was released in 1946.
Fast Facts – International Harvester Travelall
- The International Harvester Travelall was released in 1953 as a truck-based station wagon initially on the rear-wheel drive International light truck platform.
- The Travelall is a clear early example of the SUV or sport utility vehicle, four-wheel drive was introduced as an option in 1956.
- With its sedan-like body that offered many of the conveniences of a road car combined with its 4×4 chassis and off-road ability, the Travelall became a popular alternative to regular road-going sedans for many Americans.
- The 1959 Travelall you see here has been restored and modified, it has lifted suspension, upgraded wheels and tires, locking front hubs, a two-tone respray, and a reupholstered interior. Power is provided by the simple but tough 240 cubic inch (3.9 liter) Silver Diamond inline-six.
The International Harvester Travelall 4×4
The International Harvester Travelall was first offered for sale in 1953, it was essentially a large station wagon body on a rear-wheel drive International Harvester truck chassis.
Inside, the Travelall had many of the amenities of the road-going sedans of the era, so it offered a larger, more spacious option for those who perhaps wanted to sit a little higher or carry a few more people.
The Travelall was joined by the Travelette in 1957 and both were sold side by side, the Travelette was closely based on the Travelall though it had a four-door body style with a pickup truck back versus the station wagon body style of the Travelall.
International Harvester sold the Travelall over four generations, initially it was powered by the 220 cubic inch (3.6 liter) Silver Diamond inline-six, however the engine options expanded a little with the second generation in 1957 when the larger and more powerful 240 cubic inch (3.9 liter) version of the Silver Diamond inline-six became an option.
The second and third generation examples of the Travelall had a vastly increase selection of engines to choose from, including larger capacity V8s that became popular choices.
The first three generations were only offered with manual gearboxes from the factory, this all changed in 1969 when the fourth generation model was offered with a 3-speed automatic – an increasingly popular option.
As with many classics from the era, rust, neglect, and scrapyards have claimed the overwhelming majority of Travelalls that were built. Surviving examples are now enjoying a healthy increase in their value as more and more people became interested in classic vehicles – the four-wheel drive versions tend to be the most expensive.
The Restored 1959 Travelall Shown Here
This 1959 International Harvester Travelall is one of the desirable four-wheel drive versions, it’s been repainted with a gleaming two-tone blue and white color scheme, and it has B-120 and Travelall badging, as well as chrome trim.
Inside the vehicle you’ll note that the seats and roof lining have been reupholstered in colors to match the exterior, along with the matching carpet.
It now rides on Eagle Alloys 16″ wheels fitted with 305/70 Mastercraft Courser C/T tires, and it has a suspension lift for more ground clearance.
Power is provided by a 240 cubic inch (3.9 liter) Silver Diamond inline-six, this was the top of the line engine option in 1959.
Power is sent either to the rear wheels only or all four wheels through a 4-speed manual gearbox and a divorced 2-speed transfer case.
This Travelall is now being offered for sale on Bring A Trailer out of Lansdale, Pennsylvania. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here.
Images courtesy of Bring A Trailer
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