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Day Dream: Nathan Day’s Incredible Scout Traveler

Day Dream

Jay KopycinskiPhotographer, Writer

As a teenager, Nathan Day really wanted a Scout to drive. However, his prudent parents overruled his choice of transportation and voted to have him drive a “reliable” car instead. However, the desire never left him; he was intrigued with the fun he could have owning one of these classic International Harvester SUVs.

Coincidentally, Nathan was in the right place at the right time about seven years ago when his neighbor rolled this ’77 Scout II Traveler out of his garage and placed a “For Sale” sign on it. Nathan was quick to fork over the $800 that would let him bring some old iron home. It was originally a banana yellow color and came from the factory as a two-wheel drive. The neighbor also supplied Nathan the original buildsheet for the vehicle and sales records documenting its original purchase by a woman in Tucson, Arizona.

With the old Scout running, Nathan spent a couple of years driving it around. He made some repairs here and there and did some minor upgrades. Some parts of the old SUV were in pretty good shape, but he recounted to us the time when his foot went straight through the rusty back floor. So, there were some problems to be addressed to make this aging IH shine again. It was about this time that Nathan began working with Rob Bonney Fabrication (RBF) to really start to transform the Scout. Over the next five or so years, with limitations of time, available parts, and dollars, it was turned into the impressive custom rig you see here.

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The Scout got a nice dose of fuel-injected GM V-8 power, a modern four-speed automatic transmission, and a reliable Dana 300 transfer case. Dana 44 front and Ford 9-inch rear axles both hold disc brake components, 4.88 gears, and ARB Air Lockers to confidently turn 35-inch Falken mud tires on TrailReady beadlock wheels.

All the paint and bodywork was redone from bare metal. The front and rear fenders were enlarged and tubbed to accommodate the larger tires without resorting to a tall suspension lift. Once RBF completed all the frame modifications, the entire frame was hot-dip galvanized and powdercoated for corrosion protection. Most anything that was not painted was covered in Rhino Lining. Finish Line Racing expertly wired the Scout to provide a modern, reliable electrical system.

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In the end, Day has ended up with a Scout that looks and performs far better than when new. It has a solid, modern powertrain, and RBF’s expert fingerprints of fabrication can be found all over this rectified rig.

At a Glance

General
Vehicle: ’77 IH Scout II Traveler
Owner: Nathan Day
Stomping grounds: Arizona
Build time: Five leisurely years

Drivetrain
Engine: ’05 GM LQ9 6.0L HO V-8
Transmission: Hughes Performance 4L65E automatic
Transfer case: Dana 300
Low range ratio: 2.62:1
Crawl ratio: 39.1:1
Front axle/differential: Dana 44, disc brakes, 4.88 gears/ARB Air Locker
Rear axle/differential: Currie 35-spline Ford 9-in, disc brakes, 4.88 gears/ARB Air Locker

Suspension
Front: Rancho Wagoneer leaf springs, Bilstein 5150 11-in-travel shocks
Rear: Valley Spring leaf springs, Bilstein 5150 12-in-travel shocks
Steering: Stock steering box and pump ported by Benchworks

Tires/Wheels
Tires: 35x12.50R17LT Falken WildPeak M/T
Wheels: 17x8 TrailReady beadlock

Miscellaneous
Custom front and rear bumpers, Warn XD9000i winch, custom 26-gal fuel tank, six-point rollcage, custom roof rack, ARB awning, custom dash and gauges, LED lighting, ARB fridge/freezer, fording snorkel, full-length skidplates and rocker protection