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41 international K series


blind pew
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Just purchased this international K series woodie for a retirement project. I have a few other woodies ('48 Chevrolet fleetmaster, '49 T&C convertible, '47 Chevrolet country club); I restored the '48 myself about 20 years ago and it remains like a new car. I had to replace several wood pieces on the 48, so have experience with that component (a painful learning curve) and can do the mechanical work as well.

 

This piece has powder post beetles. However the seller has examined the wood and it is not "honeycombed" and I sent Boracare to him to treat prior to shipping. Obviously, wood will need to be replaced and the whole thing completely redone, but the parts are all there and the rust is only surface.

 

These undertakings are not for the faint of heart, but been there, done that and I enjoy "the struggle" and learning about the particulars of a car when I work on it. Those green diamond engines are really quite simple and there are rebuild kits available. The suspension on those 1 ton internationals are built like tanks and may be useable as it is now. The electrical as well is quite simple and wiring harnesses are available.

 

I have a complete shop on my farm (it will reside next to my '42  halftrack for the time being) to do the work and will do so on vacation time prior to going full bore when retired.

 

https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/cars-for-sale/international/unspecified/2400510.html

Edited by blind pew (see edit history)
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Nice truck!  There is a lot there to work with for an accurate restoration. See my post on my 1940 Lasalle woodie in this section. That was smart to have the seller treat for powderpost beetles. Make sure the infestation is dead before you bring new wood into your shop. Ask me how I know this. There are 17 International woodies in the roster of the National Woodie Club. You should join to do some networking if you are not already a member. Are you going to make the new wood body yourself? Feel free to contact me, I have been through the learning curve already. Do you know what company built the original wood body?

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On ‎7‎/‎4‎/‎2020 at 7:11 AM, Tom Boehm said:

Nice truck!  There is a lot there to work with for an accurate restoration. See my post on my 1940 Lasalle woodie in this section. That was smart to have the seller treat for powderpost beetles. Make sure the infestation is dead before you bring new wood into your shop. Ask me how I know this. There are 17 International woodies in the roster of the National Woodie Club. You should join to do some networking if you are not already a member. Are you going to make the new wood body yourself? Feel free to contact me, I have been through the learning curve already. Do you know what company built the original wood body?

Hello Tom (also a Tom here)

I don't know what company built it, as I have yet to have it delivered to my farm. I will be able to take a closer look then. I guess the options are Campbell or Iona, right?

 

Yes- always best to have beetles/termites treated BEFORE the vehicle arrives. I sent a gallon of Boracare to the seller, who will treat it before shipping. I had beetles and termites in my '48 Chevrolet before I restored it about 20 years ago. It is certainly odd how the outer varnish shell remains, but behind the areas of infestation, it was like honeycombed Styrofoam. When it arrives, I will treat again with Timbor and Boracare. It will initially be in my 150 year old barn that I restored- can't have such critters wrecking the old timbers.

 

I plan on doing the whole thing myself as I like the struggle. You certainly learn a ton during such processes, and that is a part of the attraction. Of course, it would be easier just to send it to a shop and have someone else do it, but there is no fun in that. Most of the wood appears to intact and much of it actually may be useable as is; one never knows until you get into it. This is going to be a project for me extending into retirement, as health issues have prevented me from building another stone house on my farm (I enjoy doing stonework, but it is a little too much manual labor for me at this point). I have three other woodies to drive, so I am in no hurry. Certainly a factor is consideration of "road worthy" condition; a resto-mod can go anywhere, but a stock old car has its limitations and is not suitable for interstate driving. Likewise, over heating in elevation limits drives to certain areas and there is not a plethora of parts at your local garage, should you run into mechanical trouble.

 

Regarding the drivetrain, I have not decided whether to restore the engine and tranny or put in a crate engine and new tranny. Likewise with the suspension- restore or mustang II on the front and triangulated four bar on the rear. It actually costs more to restore, as one has to use a machine shop for some of the engine work. Some think rebuilding an engine is just dropping in new parts; I wish it was that easy. All the grinding and precision work must be done by a machine shop to avoid disaster.

 

I have enjoyed watching the restoration of your LaSalle- it is a beauty. I have made wooden parts for my Chevrolet as well, but did not have to do the whole body. Yes- as I get to it, I would love to "pick your brains" on tips. The wood on this is less challenging than your Lasalle, as many of the parts are only shaped in two dimensions. It is that third dimension of curve that makes things a little tricky. I have looked at your Lasalle and wondered where the hell you came across it. It is not like Lasalle woodies are readily available, even if one pursued that aggressively.

Edited by blind pew (see edit history)
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Hello Tom, I encourage you to restore rather than street rod this truck. It appears to be a complete and intact example of a fairly rare woodie. You have a lot more to work with to begin with than I did. If interstate driving is a must,  you can get an aftermarket overdrive unit. Mine is 100% stock and that is a situation I may have to deal with when it is finished. The rear axle ratio on mine is 4.31 : 1. Cantrell is another possibility as to the builder of your woodie. I am originally from St. Louis. My dad and I heard about this Lasalle woodie at a swap meet in St.Louis in 1985. It was in a barn in Illinois nearby. The seller was not actively trying to sell it. Long story short, I did not buy it until 1997. After much research, it is one of two 1940 Lasalle woodies I know of.  Both custom built by Meteor Motor Car Company of Piqua Ohio. The body design on my Lasalle is very square. The only "third dimension"  area is above the windshield and that turned out to be not as hard as I thought it would be. 

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3 hours ago, Tom Boehm said:

Hello Tom, I encourage you to restore rather than street rod this truck. It appears to be a complete and intact example of a fairly rare woodie. You have a lot more to work with to begin with than I did. If interstate driving is a must,  you can get an aftermarket overdrive unit. Mine is 100% stock and that is a situation I may have to deal with when it is finished. The rear axle ratio on mine is 4.31 : 1. Cantrell is another possibility as to the builder of your woodie. I am originally from St. Louis. My dad and I heard about this Lasalle woodie at a swap meet in St.Louis in 1985. It was in a barn in Illinois nearby. The seller was not actively trying to sell it. Long story short, I did not buy it until 1997. After much research, it is one of two 1940 Lasalle woodies I know of.  Both custom built by Meteor Motor Car Company of Piqua Ohio. The body design on my Lasalle is very square. The only "third dimension"  area is above the windshield and that turned out to be not as hard as I thought it would be. 

I guess you are right- it would be a shame to resto-mod it when all the parts are there.  You can get most of the engine parts; they are not plentiful, but not impossible. The gasket rebuild kits and valves are readily available, as well as kits to rebuild the carbeurator, fuel, water, and oil pumps. Connecting rods, cam, and pistons will be "hit and miss". Rebuilding the clutch and tranny won't be that bad.

 

We're from the same neck of the woods- we live in Cape Girardeau. That was indeed a good find regarding the Lasalle.

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On 7/5/2020 at 10:16 AM, Tom Boehm said:

Hello Tom, I encourage you to restore rather than street rod this truck. It appears to be a complete and intact example of a fairly rare woodie. You have a lot more to work with to begin with than I did. If interstate driving is a must,  you can get an aftermarket overdrive unit. Mine is 100% stock and that is a situation I may have to deal with when it is finished. The rear axle ratio on mine is 4.31 : 1. Cantrell is another possibility as to the builder of your woodie. I am originally from St. Louis. My dad and I heard about this Lasalle woodie at a swap meet in St.Louis in 1985. It was in a barn in Illinois nearby. The seller was not actively trying to sell it. Long story short, I did not buy it until 1997. After much research, it is one of two 1940 Lasalle woodies I know of.  Both custom built by Meteor Motor Car Company of Piqua Ohio. The body design on my Lasalle is very square. The only "third dimension"  area is above the windshield and that turned out to be not as hard as I thought it would be. 

 

One of the problems with this particular model is the drivetrain. It has an 83 hp engine and a rear end that is geared rather "short". As a result, my understanding is that this vehicle can only achieve top speeds of 45 mph, which would preclude any highway driving and/or driving for any distance. 

 

Obviously, keeping an original car stock would be nice, but in a stock condition could only be driven short distances on two lane highways. 

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Because it needed to be rescued and I needed another project. One of my hobbies is building stone structures; I had the foundation poured to build another house on my farm. However, health issues preclude me from repetitive lifting, thus I needed a project that I can physically handle. 

 

The advantage of doing a car is that one is confronted with different problems and features on each vehicle, so it is a tremendous learning experience. As you know, it is a practice of incrementalism. I am leaning toward keeping the original engine and simply changing the rear end gear ratio. Those things were made with very short gear ratios and designed for hauling at slower speeds. 83 hp and 146 ft/lbs of torque tells the story. It is not unlike the engine in my White half track, which was designed for the same purpose. Also, "double clutch" driving is a learning curve! The mechanical simplicity of the vehicle is charming. 

 

When I am done, it will look like a new car/truck and have saved it from deteriorating into a heap. 

Edited by blind pew (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Please post pictures when you get the truck, the Hemmings ad is gone. To each his own, I say. It's your truck, it's your time and money going into it, and when it's done it's you that has to be happy with it. Good luck with your project which ever way you decide to go with it.

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Yes, I leaned on the guy a bit to persuade him to restore it. As you can tell I have strong thoughts about street rods. However, I have to remind myself that a street rod is not illegal or immoral. I like the camaraderie in the old car hobby with people who work with their hands, street rodders included. There is far more in common than not. 

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The car was delivered to my farm last week (one of my boys put it in the barn). I have taken time off in mid August and will go evaluate the situation. From the photos, it appears as though I may be able to use most of the wood; just bleaching and refinishing involved. Also, all of the rust is just surface, so I can use all the sheet metal. Those cars are really quite simple mechanically and this will not be that hard of a restoration. As I live in a different state, however, the restoration will be "piecemeal" until I reach retirement. 

 

The main thing will be to see if I can turn over the engine by hand after shooting some tranny fluid in the spark plug holes over a few days. I have not encountered one engine where I was not eventually able to turn it over; this one sat in a barn, so the damage to the engine will not be as bad as an outside vehicle. 

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  • 1 month later...
  • 4 months later...

pics from the farm. I have all the plywood panels cut and the pieces of ash replaced that needed it. Have removed the rear axle, fenders, and hood as well as the seats. i have a new front clip, hood, and fenders that are at the painter and the seats are at the upholstery shop. 

 

I finally decided upon a ford explorer rear end with 3.55 gear ratio, while keeping the old style leaf springs and knee shocks (replaced with new or refurbished). Will put a mustang II front end- just could not find all the replacement parts for the KB3 and want to drive it when I'm done. 

 

Using marine varnish for the finish and sealer for the plywood edges. I'll keep the rear deck bare oak rather than replacing with battleship linoleum. 

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Thanks Tom-

 

It is far more crude than your beautiful LaSalle, but yes- the ash was amazing, which is why I bought it. I plan on yellow for the metal so that I can apply a magnetic "tiger hawk" to the front quarter panels and drive it to Iowa hawkeye football games.  Yellow and black are Iowa (my alma mater, but living in exile in Mo) colors.  I thought the whole thing would take five years, but it is going much faster than anticipated, particularly since I can only work on it every two months. 

 

Yep- I'll stick with bare wood for the rear. I may put in an ash or hickory floor as well. I did that on another woodie using hardwood flooring and it looks pretty cool. The interior of the doors was kind of weird, in that there are "open" areas at the bottom of the door and not a continuous sheet of plywood (or masonite) going to the lower part of the door. 

 

On the inner rear side panels, I'm going to make "prettier" ash trim with finger or box joints. The actual interior ash pieces were no more than sticks and looked like crap. Also, the interior panels were masonite. I'm doing solid mahogany and mahogany plywood instead, as it looks better. 

 

The seats were this ugly green vinyl so I'm doing a nice coffee colored. I took the seats to one upholstery guy who said they were good for nothing but the dump. The second guy said they were in fantastic shape for their age and said it would be no problem at all!!!!

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The first upholsterer just did not want to deal with anything he would have to get his hands dirty on. The only International woodie I recall seeing in person was also yellow and "mechanically modified". It was at the Frog Follies street rod show near Evansville Indiana about 15? years ago. I think the owner was from west central Illinois because he was acquainted with the guy I bought my Lasalle from. 

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They are not common, that is for sure. However, your LaSalle is the only LaSalle woodie I have ever heard of. That is going to be one beauty when you are done. I was a little reluctant to post some photos, as the quality of my work will not be as good as that of the other cars posted here. I do, however, just like doing the work myself, even though it will suck compared to what others will do. I am a better at the mechanical and do professional quality work there (weird- I am a physician, but have been working on cars since age 10). As a woodworker, I suck. I look in awe at the quality of woodworking done by you guys on your cars on this site. 

 

Question- why did you choose using veneer over the plywood, rather than just marine mahogany plywood? Better quality of grain? Smoother glassy appearance when done? It looks outstanding. I have that same look on my Chrysler T&C (it was already done when I bought it). My two chevrolets do not have that same appearance. 

 

Yes- some guys HATE dealing with old cars. I assume it is because they are many old car people who are WAY too meticulous and are a-holes to deal with. I always tell anyone else working on my cars that I am very flexible and easy to get along with, will not make unusual demands, and will offer them double the hourly rate they charge others. Most will take on the work, but others will refuse even that. That is why it is best to do EVERYTHING you CAN DO yourself on these cars, so that you are not reliant upon others. Additionally, it gives you better satisfaction. I like the cars I did myself better than the ones I bought already completed. 

 

Thanks for the support on the yellow. It actually was one of the factory colors, but my two boys thought the color choice was poor. I don't have any yellow cars either, so it will "fill a void in my life"!

Edited by blind pew (see edit history)
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I had the plywood custom made because I could get exactly what I wanted with materials and services locally available. I wanted Honduran Mahogany on one side and birch on the other. The ready made mahogany marine plywood used either asian or african mahogany and no birch. I also got the thickness I wanted. I know, I was picky about that. I put about 8 coats of varnish on the mahogany. That filled up the grain and then I wet sanded it and buffed it with rubbing compound. I was not concerned with filling up the grain on the ash. 

 

As far as woodworking, I have always liked working with my hands. Before I got the Lasalle I made small stuff with a router and a small table saw. After I got the Lasalle I got more and better woodworking equipment and took some seminars at Woodcraft on how to use them. Now that I have experience, I think there are some general guidelines on doing good work:

1 You have to have the woodworking machines to do the job with the capacity to do woodie work. Professional cabinet shop grade equipment is not necessary but bench top size machines are too small. *******MOST IMPORTANT is you have to know how to set up the machines to do accurate work. ********

 

2 Hand tools have to be razor sharp and you need the sharpening tools to make them razor sharp.

 

3 I find that infinite patience and then some is required to do good work. I only work on the Lasalle when my mind is into it and I have good concentration. 

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