Welcome to Little Car in the Big City, where I highlight fascinating cars I found walking around a town that is known for being bigger than everything else, but where every car is fighting to stand out: New York, New York.
When you're scouting for cars around Brooklyn, it always helps to think ironic. There are neighborhoods in New York where people live, get up, go to work, do a good job, and then come home to see their families and occasionally take them on a nice little weekend getaway. These people drive Honda Odysseys and Toyota Avalons and old Chevy Malibus and nothing sarcastic ever happens to them. They live in neighborhoods like Bay Ridge, Kensington, and Midwood.
And then there are neighborhoods like Fort Greene, Bushwick, Park Slope, and of course, Williamsburg. For all the smack I like to talk about places with a pursuit of authenticity so tenacious that it begins to actually lack any, those neighborhoods tend to have the most interesting cars, like this International Scout II.
The Scout was made by a company called International Harvester, which many of you young whippersnappers may not immediately recognize. Today, it's more commonly known as Navistar, and they mostly make things like commercial trucks and school buses.
The Scout was originally devised as a competitor to the Jeep, before there was such a thing as the whole SUV craze. There were no crossovers here, just ladder-on-frame designs with some great customizing options. Many of the Scouts I've come across have been changed up, with new paint jobs, big tires and a lift kit, so it's nice to see this one in its original state, despite all the rust.
The appreciation of its original condition being stated, it does look like this particular example would be a great basis on which to create a nice little beach cruiser. The hardtop should be removable and replaceable with a soft top, and a coat of bright yellow would be pretty sweet for soaking up all that sun. And since the last of these were made in 1980, you'd have a fairly uncommon near-classic to boot.
It's too bad Billyburg has no beach, though. It'd be pretty ironic, though, if it did.