so this phase of the international was the story. I had a lot of help getting her to this part and from here I drove her for around 50k miles. and I must say it was so much fun to drive, a rat rod before rat rods.
The next few years it sat as I didn’t have the skills or the money to really do what was needed. I started doing work for a company called Factory Muscle. I was designing t-shirts for the 40/50 some muscle cars got to know Steve Banker who was my contact and built most if not all the cars at the shop. I asked him to help me a few times but said he would never work on an international. So I dropped it. Some time goes by a year or more, Steve shows up at my office and says let’s go. I’m like what are you talking about? Let’s go get the truck. He has a trailer and off we go. All I could think was how am I going to pay for this. Steve said, we would work it out.
Now, the next year or so, I would drop my daughter of at school kindergarten/ 1st grade. Drive to the factory muscle shop and they would be like go take that apart, point at something. I would spend the next couple hours struggling and they would come over and shown in 2 min. I was like why do you always do that. because that’s how you learn. And boy did I learn and a lot.
If I remember right, it was 8 months to a year of every day except weekends of working on this beast 4 to 5 hours each day before It finial hit the road for the first time.
I sometimes would bring my daughter to the shop she would hangout take photos. I can tell you I had no idea about what I was doing.
I one day Steve came to me and asked what kind of motor i wanted, I was like what would you do? he said put a big block in it. I’m ok with that. Not really knowing what that involved.
so I would draw something, paint a painting to pay for stuff. I think about all the work that went into this and I truly didn’t help out enough. I am so grateful to of had them help me so much. Just really didn’t realize it at the time.
When it was time to get the front end done, mustang II and no one had one. you couldn’t just order one up and slap it on. after all it was an International Harvester no one fixed these ugly things up. Steve made the calls, asked around. I Remember things were a little different back at that time the internet was dial-up. Took less time to drive to a shop than to try to get the website that no one had.. he found a place in lake Havasu I believe and all we needed to do was make some measurement and they would set it up and send the parts. well they did. Parts everyplace, I had no clue.
During this time, they taught me to weld. See that rust go cut out a piece and weld a new one, they would put one side on and make me do the other side. when it was down time I would go sit in the cars they built and just look at them. No one ever seemed to come around and look at these cars they were amazing.
I remember heading over to start it for the first time. really I was just in a sort of awe. At the time I was really going through some rough times. My mind was full of the bills I couldn’t pay, the business that stopped for whatever reason I had issues like everyone does during their life time. I was really in an awe or a daze wandering around with the whole I’m a victim and everything was someone else’s fault. Arriving and starting her was most awesome driving the international was a trip. This rat truck with so much horse power.
Over the next few years I just drove, fixed and drove right up to the point we moved to a place where I could strip her back down to the frame and start over. That will be the next post.
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