International Harvester Company (IHC or IH) was a United States agricultural machinery, construction equipment, vehicle, commercial truck, and household and commercial products manufacturer. In 1902, J.P. Morgan merged the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company and Deering Harvester Company, along with three smaller agricultural equipment firms, to form International Harvester. International Harvester sold off its agricultural division in 1985 and renamed the company Navistar International Corporation in 1986. Case IH was formed when the agricultural division merged with J.I. Case.
IH is often remembered as a maker of relatively successful and innovative "light" lines of vehicles, competing directly against the Big 3. The most common were pickup trucks. IH made light trucks from 1907 to 1975, beginning with the Model A Auto Wagon (sometimes called the "Auto Buggy"). Production commenced in in February 1907 at IH's McCormick Works in Chicago, although production was moved to Akron, Ohio in October that year. Powered by a horizontally opposed aircooled twin of around 15 hp (11 kW), it was a right hand drive model popular in rural areas for high ground clearance on the poor roads typical of the era. It featured a rear seat convertible to a carrier bed. The Auto Wagon was renamed the Motor Truck in 1910, and was a forerunner to the successful modern pickup truck. They were called IHC until 1914, when the 'International' name was first applied. The final light line truck was made on May 5, 1975.
IH also had early success with the "Auto Buggy", which started production in February 1907. In the mid-1940s, International released their K and KB series trucks, which were more simplistic than other trucks released in that era. This was followed by the L Series in 1949, which was replaced by the R Series in 1952, followed by the S line in 1955. In 1957, to celebrate IH's golden anniversary as a truck manufacturer, this was replaced by the new A line. 'A' stands for anniversary. With light modifications to its appearance but more serious changes under the shell (and a number of new names), this design continued in production until replaced by the 1100D in late 1969, which looked very similar to the Scout.
Corresponding with the truck "letter lines" was the Metro line of step (delivery) vans. Starting in 1938 and manufactured through 1975, the Metro series was produced and updated with each iteration of IH's truck lines. There were also special use variants such as the Metro Coach (a bus version with windows and passenger seats) and Metro front-end section and chassis for full commercial customization. Additional variants were based on the medium duty engine and chassis lines.
One of the company's light-duty vehicles was the Travelall, which was similar in concept to the Chevrolet Suburban. The Travelette was a crew cab, available in 2 or 4 wheel drive. It was available starting in 1957, and was the first 6-passenger, 4-door truck of its time. The Scout, first introduced in 1961, is a small two-door SUV, similar to a Jeep. In 1972 the Scout became the Scout II, and in 1974 Dana 44 axles, power steering and power disk brakes became standard. After the Light Line pickups and Travelall were discontinued in 1975, the Scout Traveler and Terra became available, both with a longer wheelbase than a standard Scout II.
IH would abandon sales of passenger vehicles in 1980 to concentrate on commercial trucks and school buses. Today the pickups, Travelalls, and Scouts are minor cult orphaned vehicles. All were also available as rugged four-wheel drive off-road vehicles.
The Scout and Light Truck parts business was sold to Scout/Light Line Distributors, Inc. in 1991.
IH was an early manufacturer of medium/heavy duty trucks. Although based upon truck chassis, IH also became the leading manufacturer of the chassis portion of body-on-chassis conventional (type C) school buses. In 1962 IH offered the International Harvester Loadstar which became the premier medium-duty truck. In 1978 IH offered the International Harvester S-Series, which replaced the Loadstar in 1979.
With the truck and engine divisions remaining following the 1985 sale of the agricultural division, International Harvester Company changed their corporate name to Navistar International in 1986. Today Navistar International's subsidiary, International Truck and Engine Corporation, manufactures and markets trucks and engines under the International brand name.
The Power Stroke diesel engine, which is a trade name of Ford Motor Company, is manufactured by International Truck and Engine Corporation in Melrose Park, IL., for use in Ford heavy-duty trucks, vans and SUVs.