Sunday, March 24, 2013

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1951 International Harvester L-110 Pickup

I haven't featured a whole lot of trucks here, mainly because most old trucks are pretty ordinary. It's the oddball manufacturers mostly that interest me, or at least anything that's not Ford or Chevy. Maybe it's something that's just visually unique and cool, and maybe even pre-1960. Every so often you run across something that satisfies all of those criteria. You get something like this 1951 International Harvester L-110 pickup.

One of the first things I noticed about this truck was the OK Rubber Welders logo on the side. There's a phone number and location listed as Scottsbluff, Nebraska. OK Rubber Welders began as a tire repair shop chain in the 1930s. Welding rubber sounds strange today, but it referred to the process of creating retreads to give used tires new life. In 1962, some forward-thinking businesspeople broke away from OK Rubber Welders (now called OK Tires) and founded Big O Tires. Today, Big O is the largest tire store chain in the United States. OK Rubber Welders was still doing business at 820 Broadway in Scottsbluff well into the 1960s (even advertising in the local high school yearbook) and there is still an OK Tires at 710 Broadway.

The L-110 was International Harvester's light-duty pickup in 1951 and came with a 'Silver Diamond' six-cylinder engine making 100 horsepower, hooked to a three-speed manual transmission. This particular truck has a fascinating patina on it, making it difficult to tell whether the truck was originally orange or white. I think it was orange before it was white, since the white appears to have been covering the tire shop lettering. The shiny red wheels, on the other hand, beg the question of how legitimate that patina is. The sheer amount of rust all over the body could be difficult to fake. Note the tailgate lettering advertising 'New Auto-Float tires'. I've found references to this private-label tire in newspapers dating back to at least 1954.

I really enjoyed shooting this truck.


  1. Don't think I have seen an International on this side of the pond, cool close ups Jay !

  2. I see this truck two or three days a week in a parking lot in the business park where I work in Santa Rosa. Always makes my day to see it.

  3. I thought I recognized this truck in the first picture. I grew up in Scottsbluff. Bill Lewellen (correct spelling) owned OK Rubber Welders on South Broadway. I grew up with his daughter and son Mike. Bill used to recap drag slicks for us.