This ’71 Scout 800B project boasts an AMC heart and plenty of character
International Harvester Scouts are known for being rugged, go-anywhere runabouts. The company’s tractor-building roots and proclivity for picking sturdy mechanical parts helped foster a reputation for long-lasting drivetrain durability even if its offerings, like plenty of other vehicles of the ’60s, were also known for suffering from body rust. Scouts were one the pioneers in the SUV marketplace, beating the Bronco to the punch by offering buyers a more practical alternative to Jeep’s CJ, with actual doors and a top to go with their nimble 4×4 chassis. This 1971 Scout 800B, spotted by BarnFinds, is currently up for sale on eBay and looks to be an enticing potential project.
All early Scouts have great proportions. Their design is simple, boxy, and a little chunky. With their short overhangs, they vaguely resemble a bulldog puppy—and who doesn’t love a puppy? Those early International Harvester Scouts—the 80, 800A, and 800B, have a lot in common. There were some upgrades made along the way, but they all look essentially the same and use the same basic body atop an identical 100-inch wheelbase.
The Scout 80 debuted with a 152-cubic-inch four-cylinder that was basically one bank of the company’s 304 V-8. The Scout 800 that followed would drop the 80’s folding windshield, update the wipers accordingly, and add engine options. The powerplants available for the 800, and for the 800A and 800B that followed it, would eventually include a 196-cube four, which was half of a 392 V-8; a 232 AMC inline-six; a 266 IH V-8; and, eventually, the other bank of that 304. In 1971, just before the Scout would evolve into the more comfortable and roomy Scout II, IH built the Scout 800B. The 800B seemed more like a bit of fanfare to send off the outgoing model before the Scout II took its place, as there were a few new trim packages but no major changes. The easiest way to distinguish the 800B from its forbearers is the chrome headlight bezels; previous headlight trim bits were matte black.
This example, for sale in Florida, is in partially-restored condition with a reskinned interior but with all of the exterior wear—patina, if you prefer—left intact. The inline-six is said to be rebuilt, but the underhood photos show that the refresh may have been a while ago. Importantly, undercarriage photos show grime and flaking undercoating, but not much rust. The listing doesn’t actually mention whether it runs and drives. Recent tweaks include a rebuilt carb, new door handles, the aforementioned reupholstery, and a new soft top.
Prices on 1971 Scout 800Bs are still rising slowly, just they are on other two-door SUVs, buoyed by the increasing price of the ever-popular Bronco. A 4×4 roadster powered by the AMC 232 inline-six has a current #4 (Fair) value of $7700. With five days remaining and no reserve, this seemingly straight but well-worn Scout is going for $10,550. As someone who has shopped for ’90s and 2000s Jeeps, I can tell you that $10,000 doesn’t go very far when it comes to 4x4s, especially one with as much charm as an early Scout.