1949 International Harvester Pickup
Previous owner(s): Hall Furniture and Mortuary, Lincoln, Kansas, 1965 – 1988; Bernie and Janice Taulborg Collection
Engine, etc.: Model KB, 2 ½ ton; 6 cyl. 3 speed
The Classic Car Collection has International Harvester vehicles from 1907 (auto buggy), 1909 (auto wagon), and pickups from 1919, 1929, 1939, 1949, and 1959.
The motor truck division of International Harvester Company was formed in 1944 to handle the volume of IH truck engineering, production, and sales activities. The return of peace signaled a great expansion for the truck industry. IH forged ahead with new designs and model specialization that included every area in which a motor truck could be used.
In 1946 the company began production of highly specialized heavy duty trucks up to 90,000 pounds in gross. Each was made to order to individual buyer specifications.
The first postwar International Harvester pickup line was designated the KB-line and appeared in 1947, the 40th anniversary of International trucks.
Truck transportation and the demand for more and better trucks were moving even faster than the post-war economy. The IH motor truck division produced 165,600 motor trucks in 1948 and kept pace with demand.
In 1949 the L-line was introduced, offering a “truck for every hauling job”. The line was considered a significant industry development. The L-line had 87 basic truck chassis models and represented a complete redesign and re-engineering of the International product. Over $30 million was spent by the company to develop the new models and revamp its production facilities at Ft. Wayne, Indianapolis, and Springfield.
The L-line consisted of trucks ranging in gross weight from 4,200 to 30,000 pounds. It was the most complete line of trucks in the world by far.
The post-war period also saw International build a second truck proving ground in Phoenix, AZ. There, International trucks were subjected to the toughest tests man and nature could devise. Before a model was approved for production, it had to survive the pounding of the terrain, brutal temperature extremes, endless miles of continuous driving, and sharp turns on torturous ground.