Scout Master – Chad Durham’s Trail-Ready ’73 International Scout II
“Sure, it would have been easier to build a Jeep or other 4×4, but what fun would that have been?”
That’s how Chad Durham views his choice in reviving this ’73 Scout II. The idea of a Scout was planted by a buddy who had one years ago that Chad pointed out, “would just go everywhere!”
Chad had been on the lookout for a Scout project for several years when he took a chance on a cryptic Craigslist post in Atlanta. It was the kind of ad most people wouldn’t even consider as it had no pictures and simply stated: 1973 Scout for sale, need it gone.
When Chad called, he learned a repair shop had posted the ad. The Scout had come in for a fuel pump and tune up and then was never picked up. Years had passed and the shop owner just wanted it gone. Chad talked his wife, Kristen, into making the two-and-a-half-hour drive to check it out – and was it ever worth it.
The Scout had been parked indoors and was very original, down to having its factory Kayline soft top folded in the back seat. A deal was made, but Chad didn’t know how to get it home, until the mechanic said they’d fire it up and he could drive it. With some trepidation, he watched as the mechanic added fuel, a battery, and tapped the carb a few times to fire up the original 345c.i. V8. A bit of air helped make the flat-spotted tires round again. It went into gear and was deemed “sort of” ready for the drive.
The truck barely idled, which made it a a challenge getting through Atlanta rush hour traffic, but Chad was determined as his wife followed behind wondering what her husband had gotten into. She had to be laughing as they drove into a rainstorm on the outskirts of their Greenville, South Carolina, home.
After fiddling with the Scout for a spell, Chad decided it deserved a professional restoration and tapped the team of nearby Creative Rods and Restoration for the job. Once in their shop, the Scout was disassembled down to the frame to start anew.
Chad elected for a stronger appearance and more clearance, so a Rough Country 2.5-inch lift system was installed. The team rebuilt and detailed the original Dana 44 axles along with the factory disc brakes and a set of 8”x17” Mickey Thompson wheels were enlisted to fill the flared fenders wrapped in beefy Toyo Open Country tread.
Even though the original engine had proven itself on the haul back from Atlanta, Chad elected to have the nearly half-century-old drivetrain gone through. The industrial internals were machined and rebuilt along with the original 727 auto trans. The only modern upgrades included a two-barrel Holley Sniper EFI, MSD ignition, and a Griffin radiator.
The body was in surprisingly solid condition with typical wear and tear. One challenge was finding factory trim pieces and grille components. Creative Rods ended up machining new lower body trim moldings and the hen’s-teeth-like grille received some 3D printing magic to assemble. The Omaha Orange hue is actually the original color which the crew brought back to glory with BASF Glasurit materials. The tan trim of the flares and bumpers make a great combination and spills over to the interior covering the rollbar and dash.
The factory gauges were restored, and many NOS replacement components were sourced for details. German weave carpet was added along with factory-styled Relicate plaid seat inserts to really bring out the fun of ’73 styling.
Creative Rods had just finished the Scout when it debuted at the Griot’s Garage North Carolina Nationals. Now it’s ready for Chad and his family to enjoy the fun that only a vintage, topless 4×4 can deliver!
Photos by Todd Ryden