Many of us have been lately burning up free time to surf classifieds online, and now and again something pops up that makes you turn up your screen’s brightness and refresh the page to make sure it’s for real. Case in point, this 1973 International Wagonmaster advertised on Facebook Marketplace in Colorado is about as obscure of a find as it gets.
For those who don’t know what the heck this thing is, it’s based on the Travelall, International’s answer to the Chevrolet and GMC Suburban. In 1973 and 1974, International offered a unique version of the Travelall which included a short bed in back in lieu of an enclosed cargo space. The idea was to provide a four-door truck geared towards hauling fifth wheel RVs. There was a wide range of engine options from the base 258-cubic-inch six-cylinder to a 392-cubic-inch V-8.
These trucks were very uncommon when new, with only a couple thousand believed to have been built. But with attrition from normal use, age, and the elements, it is doubtful that many are left. The main issue that spelled the end of the Wagonmaster? While it was touted as being the ideal truck for hauling a fifth wheel, those boasts did not play out so well in the real world. A fifth wheel hitch needed to be mounted far behind the rear axle, which can affect hauling characteristics. The automotive press took hold of that fact and ran with it. By this time, with International suffering low sales and bad press, it axed the Wagonmaster after 1974 and the company’s line of pickups followed in 1975.
The Wagonmaster featured in the Facebook ad is listed as having a 392 V-8, although the condition of the engine is not stated. The truck needs a fair bit of metal work, and the interior will need to be completely redone. The truck is currently listed for $3500, which is below the Hagerty Price Guide #4-condition (Fair) value of $4100. Panels for replacing rusted sections are likely scarce, so the question remains whether or not the Wagonmaster’s rarity is enough for a diehard International enthusiast to rescue and restore it.