International Harvester offered a 100,000 mile warranty in 1980. It was either a spectacularly misplaced declaration of confidence or last-ditch effort to win the attention of consumers... That same year, International went out of business as a light truck and SUV dealer.
The 1980 International Scout's turbo diesel engine was supposed to be good for up to 24 MPG; not bad for a brick-shaped truck of the day. And the company was so confident it'd stand the test of time, they promised to "repair or replace without charge for parts or labor any part of the engine block and all internally-lubricated engine components where they are defective."
Bodies were warrantied against rust for five years, which also sounds ambitious if you've ever seen a Scout exposed to road salt.
Unfortunately for the 13,106 people who took International up on their offer of dealership service for half a decade, no Scout buyer would get to take advantage of it. Binder Planet says the last International Scout II rolled off the assembly line October 21, 1980. As in, the last Scout ever. After which point Scout dealers closed their doors and International focused on buses and cargo trucks.
You could still buy Scout parts after 1980 (there are even still hoards of new-old stock I'll never reveal the location of) but the dealership service department was no more.
After much research on the matter I still have so many questions. Somebody at the company must have known they were going to shut down their dealerships the same year they were introducing an industry-rocking warranty... how many people at International endorsed this evil plan and how many were as much victims as the poor plunks left with rusting, misfiring SUVs they'd been promised would be repaired free of charge? Perhaps a supplementary arrangement was made with local garages to uphold International's end of the warranty? (I doubt it.)
Until I can find out the rest of the story, I chose to believe that the brave men and women at International Scout dealerships across America genuinely believed in their rugged product, and went down swinging with every intention of making good on their warranty.
Do you know anybody who bought an International truck or SUV in 1980, or worked at a dealership as it tragically sank? I want to hear from you!
Images via International Harvester