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Weekly Read 3: Scouting For Projects

Illustration for article titled Weekly Read 3: Scouting For Projects

I have written a few automotive essays in the past for English class is college. It is getting to be the end of the year, and these are from a past semester. I am parsing these out over the course of once a week. I have five different essays. Excuse the noticeably academic writing. I do not yet own a project car due to storage issues. Enjoy.

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An assembly of rusty old parts and blotches of dark grease usually leaves people feeling disgusted. With an engaged mind and a little bit of creativity however, the hunk of junk can be turned into a rolling display of craftsmanship. Broken cars have been restored since the bane of their existence. In continuation of this age old pastime, cars can still be found, bought, and revived to their former glory. Notability and a sense of worth is given to the owner by completing a project of this caliber. The result of the restoration is a tangible model that embodies the same characteristics, both positive and negative, as its creator. As the final product glides down the road, the real fruits of the labor are taken in by the passersby. People often hold a thumbs up out their window, blow their horn, and avert their friend's attention to the cool cruiser. The rarer the vehicle, the more spectators seem to look on in envy. As a perfect balance between car and truck, an International Scout can be considered one of the best candidates to undergo a restoration. Built from the mid 1960s up to 1980, the International Scout was an instant four wheel drive classic that boasted big truck power in a small sport utility vehicle form. Now, one can be built as an off-road machine, a straight line gasser, or even just a classic beach cruiser. With the endless possibilities and benefits made possible by the Scout, building one must be considered on every auto restorer's list.

Illustration for article titled Weekly Read 3: Scouting For Projects
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The dream that every auto restorer has entails the cliche of a barn find. Barn finds are the cars covered in dust as a result of years of being forgotten by the owners, usually in a barn. The appeal that barn cars have on auto enthusiasts is a direct result of the cars being original, inexpensive, and blank canvases. As a result of the low entry fee that a barn find typically has, a restorer has more money that can be used toward the customization of the project. If the cost of a project is too high, car enthusiasts do not buy it, and if they do, they lose interest after realizing how much money they had sunk into the assembly of sheet metal and rubber. Different makes and models of cars demand different price tags. The more infamous, the more expensive. The yellow '68 mustang coined "Eleanor" in the 1970's movie Gone in 60 Seconds resulted in the model becoming much more expensive while the unadvertised but equally performing American Motors Javelin remained inexpensive. The Scout was never popularized by the silver screen while other models in the Scout's segment were advertised. Even though a different body style, The Ford Bronco made headlines news after the O.J. Simpson debacle, and is currently selling for more than the cost of a new car, even if it is rusted out. Even though the truck was not advertised well, the Scout outperforms the Bronco in every aspect that offroad vehicles take part in. By starting with a superior chassis, an auto enthusiast is able to spend more time focused on customization and part hunting.

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The balance between custom parts and factory parts on a restored vehicle depends heavily on the model of the vehicle, the route that the restorer is going with the restoration, and the general availability of the parts. Parts can always be fabricated by talented hands, but not all people have the knowledge or even the tools needed in order to create the parts that every restoration needs. Oddball parts such as radio dials and speedometer designs are always hard to find. The ideal situation for a restoration minimizes those parts that are hard to find, while keeping opportunities for those willing to make their own parts. With that in mind, no person ever said that a good restoration will bring an average working person to their knees with money issues. Flat pieces of three sixteenth inch aluminum are commonly used for the dash of a car. Costing only a little more than a hundred dollars, the result is a professional and clean looking panel that adds to the custom look of a rig.

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International Scouts are by design very simple to work on. The front windshield is a flat piece of glass that was designed at the time for lower production costs. The cost cutting design reintroduced back in the 1960s allows for a simple and very adaptive cockpit that is similar to hot rods from an era past. A Scout can be dropped and raced as a dragster, it can be restored to its previous beauty, or it can be lifted and turned into the perfect off road machine. The Scout came from the factory with Dana 44 axles. Dana 44 axles are very common, and they are adaptable as a result. The body shares the same adaptability characteristics as the axles. A Scout can be transformed from a SUV to a unibody pickup or a ragtop convertible for less than five hundred dollars and a days work. There is not a single other vehicle that is able to achieve that.

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Time must be considered in every project that people start. Whether it be a school project or a full blown restoration, a deadline is essential in order to motivate the owner. In the case of an auto restoration, projects are built as hobbies, and have looser deadlines. Usually the deadline is the first sunny spring day after a cold and long winter. If the deadline is any later, the hot rod is not used to its fullest potential, and if it is completed in the winter, it is not even able to be driven. If a pile of parts and a bucket of bolts is the start to a project, the end result is often too far out for the everyday aficionado to consider. On the contrary, if a project is bought and runs within a weekend, more things can be done. The body can be patched and fixed, and the systems can be tuned to run to their full potential. Every day that the owner can not jump in and take a spin results in a loss of passion for the project. An International Scout changes some of the time constraints however. Cars need a road to test on. An International Scout can be tested on a private dirt road or off in the woods. If the conditions are unfavorable, the truck is used for plowing. If it is muddy outside, the Scout goes off- roading. Due to the aforementioned availability of parts, the project could be as easy as a plug and play routine. Take any part and put it in place; then use it the same day. All of the custom touches on the Scout can take time, but none of the necessary components require significant down time. Once those custom touches are on the Scout however, the rig gains another advantage.

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Experienced car builders say that half of a finished project is for performance, and the other half is for the reactions that other people have when they see it. With that in mind, a good amount of car people build projects for the car shows that takes place in cities every year. The ideal project draws people in for a closer look. The tell tale sign for a project well done is the "head turn factor". A project has to be able to grab people's attention, even if they have never and will never own a vehicle. In order to fulfill this task, a car has to be rare enough to attract the guy that has seen it all, different enough to get the attention of people on the street, and interesting enough for the people to want to get a closer look.

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Not every modification that is done to a stock vehicle will please every auto enthusiast's eye. When everything is said and done, everyone has their own opinions on how to build up a truck. A person looking for a stock car does not like a lot of modification while an off road fan want to see a big Warn winch system up front. International Scouts allow for all levels of customization. The Scout is just rare enough to grab a person's attention. The Scout can then be topped off with a set of interior pin-striping that interests the classic vehicle fans. A Scout can be dolled up with a roll cage, winch and Mickey Thompson tires for the off road fans. The International basically brings a small talisman of each segment that car enthusiasts enjoy to the table as one vehicle. Whether it is the complicated suspension that people want to investigate, or the old-time bench seat that brings back memories to the people who sit in it, the Scout has it all. Being able to drive the truck all year round for everyone to enjoy is a benefit that is rarely ascertained at the end of any build.

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People always want to express their individuality and their best qualities. A project vehicle expresses both by bringing the talents of an individual to light. The end result showcases the attitude that the creator has in life. A Scout can have a gnarly attitude with rusty chains hanging from a tough bullbar, or have a playful gesture from the smilie faces painted on the KC Daylighter off-road light covers. The International Scout has something for every person from every background to enjoy. Nearly every working person has the ability to complete such a restoration themselves. All that stops the average person from grabbing an IH Scout and making it their own is the will to commit to the endeavor. If someone is willing to start a project vehicle with any focus from drag racing to offroading, an International Scout must be considered.



Thanks for reading. I currently do not have a project car, but am always looking. There may be some issues with the essay, but remember that I do not own a classic, jest have some wrenching experience under my belt on other vehicles. I try my best to stay true.

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