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1959 International Harvester B120 - IH Only

Posted in Features on September 1, 2011 Comment (0)
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“I’ve got your next feature truck right over here,” Mike Ismail declared. Mike sounded enthused and confident as he approached our Source Interlink Media booth at the Tierra Del Sol Desert Safari.

Interest piqued, we followed as Mike maneuvered through the maze of trailers, sunshades, and displays. We rounded the final corner, and that’s when our collective hearts skipped a beat.

As you can see, it was a stunning sight. “That’s beautiful!” we exclaimed, followed by “What is it?”

The vista before us was a 1959 International B-120 crew cab. While Ford’s Super Duty, Chevy’s HD, and the Dodge Ram 2500 are all benchmark heavy-duty trucks, it’s clear that the concept of an uber-strong pickup is nothing new. Just like today, people had big jobs to do and needed the towing and hauling capacity to match. Who else to build a pickup truck like a tractor than a company that started by building tractors?

It turns out that Mike Ismail owns I H Only, a company specializing in International Harvester trucks and Scouts.

I H Only started out as a hobby. Mike explained that his dad used International pickup trucks in his business and started collecting parts. Over time, people began to turn to the Ismails when they needed parts for IH vehicles.

The front axle is a Dana 60 taken from a Dodge donor. Deaver leaf packs front and rear suspend the big B-210. The combo of Deaver springs and the truck’s sheer mass make for a surprisingly pleasant ride.

Today, I H Only is one of a very few companies that cater to the Scout and to International’s Light Line of pickup trucks. Although IH vehicles were brawny, they never had the same sales numbers as their Detroit counterparts. No matter. Today, IH vehicles have a loyal, enthusiastic following. Even though IH owners have to answer “What is that?” more often than they’d like, they get to enjoy something rare and strong that happens to have a high cool factor.

Follow along for a tour of the I H Only flagship.

Vehicle: 1959 International Harvester B-120
Owner/Hometown: Mike and Debra Ismail of Lancaster, California
Engine: 12-valve 5.9L Cummins turbo diesel
Induction: stock, turbo-equipped
Transmission: New Venture Gear NV-5600 six-speed manual
Transfer case: Atlas II
Front suspension: Dodge Dana 60, Deaver leaf springs, three twin-tube shocks per wheel
Rear suspension: International Harvester RA-15 one ton axle, Deaver leaf springs, one shock per wheel
Ring and Pinion: 4.30:1
Tires: 17.40x16.5 Ground Hawgs
Wheels: 16.5-inch black steelies
Other: Factory service bed, PTO winch

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