Streetside Classics-Dallas/Fort Worth
5400 Sandshell Dr
Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth, TX
Stand out in a sea of garden-variety trucks with this incredibly rare, searing yellow 1948 International KB-2 pickup. Known for rugged do-it-all reliability, the International has a very unique look as is, but this one's been turned up to 11 and augmented with a lifted K5 frame underneath. Add in a few choice options and a very comfortable interior, and the result is one of the most interesting and talked-about vintage trucks we've ever featured at Streetside Classics.
Most of the Big Three's late-'40s and early-'50s pickups have kind of the same, appealing look with rounded corners and stepside beds that recall the good old days, but this International takes those design cues and puts its own spin on things. You should probably get ready for all the "What is that?" questions you're going to get, but there are plenty of design cues that make it easy to spot. The big clamshell hood with its chrome trim at the leading edge was an International look for many years, and the commanding horizontal chrome grille up front blends seamlessly with the round headlights for a very clean, yet interesting, look. The front and rear fenders are curvaceous and very large, another International trademark across all of their truck and SUV models for decades, and the roof of the cab is so low it looks chopped, and it's highlighted with that killer two-piece vee'd windshield. Everything was covered in bright yellow paint, and although the finish is squarely average driver-quality, the curb appeal is unmatched. The custom-built bed was smoothed inside, the custom tailgate was louvered, and a clean rear roll pan has staggered taillights and a recessed license plate that looks both trick and suitably industrial for an old pickup. And the bed is simply beautiful with refinished light-colored wood boards held in place with chrome slats, offering a dramatic striped effect that really sets up the whole truck for work and/or play.
Despite the Chevy transplant underneath, the interior remains International in flavor, with a simple tan bench seat, steel door panels with matching vinyl inserts, and a very cool dash board that follows the curve of the windshield. A full complement of vintage-looking Dolphin gauges keep an eye on the revised engine up ahead, but they all look appropriate in the body-colored dashboard, and a black-rimmed sporty steering wheel adds a bit of civility. And take a look at that insanely cool shifter that manages the automatic transmission below it's been topped with a custom handle that looks like a loaded cylinder from a chrome-plated revolver. How cool is that? Upholstery is in good condition, including the matching tan carpets that are protected by heavy-duty floor mats below, and the vinyl headliner above that follows the same button-pattern found on the bench seat. Options are scarce and don't expect any amenities outside of lap belts and the crank on the front windshield, but that's how Internationals usually came. Instead, you get a very comfortable cabin without any needless distractions, that way this truck can truly be enjoyed on its own merits.
To make this truck work so well, they simply dropped the body onto a K5 4x4 chassis that includes all the modern conveniences, as well as a stout 350 cubic inch V8 drivetrain. In true hot-rodding fashion, there are parts from different sources working together to make it reliable and fun. The block and valve covers were covered in yellow paint to match the body, and a chrome air cleaner, alternator, brackets, and aftermarket hoses all add a little bling in the neatly finished engine bay. Power steering and power front disc brakes make it feel confident in traffic and the dual exhaust with glasspack-style mufflers sounds delectably racy. The TH350 3-speed automatic feeds a heavy-duty 12-bolt rear end, and although there's a corresponding 10-bolt axle and pumpkin up front, a front driveshaft and transfer case will need to be added to get the full 4-wheel drive capability. The tall ride height makes it look great without hurting the truck's road manners too much, with heavy-duty shocks adding to the comfort both on the road and off. Bright 15-inch alloy wheels add a little flash and carry beefy white-letter all-terrain radials at all four corners to complete the look.
Bottom line, this is just a fun old truck with a bunch of charisma and easy-to-service mechanicals. Why not join the "dare to be different" crowd and try an International instead? Call today!
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