International is a long-respected name in the world of medium and heavy-duty trucks. In the early 1930s, the Great Depression had taken a significant toll on their core business, and they needed a new vehicle to boost their sales. A solution was found in the emerging light commercial truck market, as there was sufficient demand for lightweight, maneuverable, car-like commercial vehicles for use in urban areas. Lacking the resources to develop a new truck from the ground-up, International contracted with Willys-Overland to build the D-1, which established International as a contender in the market. When it came time for the D-1’s successor, International had improved its financial standing to the point where it could develop the new C-1 in-house.
The C-1 shared much of its mechanical makeup with the D-series, but it featured bold new car-like styling with an attractive V-shaped grille and skirted fenders. The L-head inline-six got a bump in power to 78 hp and other minor refinements, and International offered the C-1 as a short or long-bed pickup, panel delivery, open side, or canopy-side delivery. Catalogs show the availability of a cab/chassis for upfitters, and even a woody station wagon was offered. In three years of production, International produced just over 75,000 C-1 trucks. Thanks to the heavy attrition that comes with commercial duty, they are a rare sight today and an appealing prospect for collectors and truck enthusiasts.
This marvelous 1936 C-1 is a rare “Canopy Express” model – recognized by its raised roof extending over the open-sided pickup bed. The design offered farmers, florists, bakers, or other vendors a convenient way to transport and display their goods. This example is one of just a few thousand long-wheelbase models produced in 1937, and it benefits from a comprehensive and well-detailed restoration to factory standards. The dark green over black livery suits it quite well, lending a classy, upscale appearance and an ideal canvas for custom lettering. Finish quality and bodywork are outstanding all around, with just enough brightwork to give the C-1 an upmarket character. Features include a single side-mounted spare, steel artillery wheels, authentic International badging, and drop-down vinyl cargo are curtains.
The interior is appropriately restored using period-correct black vinyl upholstery and rubber floor mats – hard-wearing materials for a hard-working truck. Unsurprisingly, the cabin is light on frills and high on function. Niceties are limited to roll-down side windows and an opening windscreen, though the cab boasts excellent headroom and visibility. The driver has an array of instruments monitoring oil pressure, water temp, fuel level, and amps, and the floor-mounted shifter operates the robust 3-speed gearbox. Motivation comes courtesy of a 213 cubic-inch International L-head inline-six, fed by a single downdraft carburetor. The under-square unit was rated for 78 horsepower, with an abundance of low-end torque for ‘round-town duty. As with the rest of this fine example, the engine is tidy and well-detailed, and it is a pleasure to drive.
This rare and collectible International would undoubtedly make an eye-catching work/show vehicle for a farm market or similar display or would simply be a welcome addition to any enthusiast’s garage. The high-quality restoration has been beautifully maintained, and it remains an appealing example from one of America’s oldest and most storied truck manufacturers.
Offers welcome and trades considered