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July 2013 Trails End

Posted in Features on July 1, 2013
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Photographers: Four Wheeler Archives

The May 1984 issue of Four Wheeler contained a fascinating collection of content. From a riveting (not really) story about our first annual (and probably last) T-shirt contest to an epic Granville King story where he eloquently recounted the unfortunate drowning of his Ram 50 in seawater. Also in that issue was a unique three-page story about a man’s dedication to his ’70 International Scout.

The story was written by a man named Bob Gooch, who purchased the Scout brand-new. The rig was powered by a six-cylinder engine (with manual choke) backed by a three-speed manual transmission. Gooch used the vehicle primarily for hunting trips, and from his home in Virginia he drove the Scout to Wyoming, New Mexico, North Dakota, and even Alaska, among other places. There were times when the rig was more pack mule than Scout. During one two-month trip the vehicle carried two passengers, a 17-foot canoe on the roof, two rifles and a shotgun in a well-worn rack, fishing tackle, clothing for extremes of weather, camping gear, ice chests, tarps, and spare parts. And the Scout was towing a soft top camping trailer.

Through the years Gooch had a number of adventures with the Scout, including a sprint from the New Mexico backcountry in 10 inches of snow during an intensifying blizzard. By its tenth birthday, the Scout had 145,000 miles on the ticker. Since an Alaska trip was planned, Gooch had the engine rebuilt. He also had the seats redone, new carpeting installed, the rearend checked out, and a new paint job. He reported that at the time the story was written, he had put another 20,000 miles on the Scout since the facelift and it was performing like new.

Gooch said the Scout never let him down, though it did have minor problems along the way. In 1975 the clutch went out on the way to North Dakota (a shop in Pennsylvania had a new clutch installed in four hours); on the way to Idaho in 1978 another clutch problem manifested itself in Indiana but the trip was completed without incident; the water pump went out in Tok, Alaska; and the accelerator cable snapped outside of Anchorage, Alaska. In the last two incidents Gooch says he was able to limp to repair services.

When the story was written in 1984, Gooch was still driving the Scout. In the story he said, “One day I may trade it in, but the very thought is painful. I suspect I am more likely to drive it another 10 years and overhaul it again. Only time can build that kind of nostalgia, and it is unavailable in a new car, regardless of price.”

We think Gooch’s story is pretty cool, and it made us think of some of you who drive rigs that you’ve owned for a number of years. If you have a rig that you’ve owned for 10 years or more, please email a photo of the rig to Tell us a little about the rig. How you acquired it, where you’ve been with it, maybe how many engines you’ve gone through, why you’ll never get rid of it—heck, anything you think is relevant. We’d love to hear your story.

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