1949 International KB1 No Reserve at BRING A TRAILER

1949 International KB1

Los Angeles CA, Dec 8 2017One of our missions at Special Car Store is to become more of a participant in the various methods of automobile sales. We attend dozens of auctions a year, collecting thousands of car pictures and watching hundreds of automobiles change hands. Seems time for us to get our hands on the buttons – earn some experience at another level of the collector car market. 

1949 International KB1

Most collector cars tend to funnel through the big, well know American auction houses such as Mecum, Barrett-Jackson, Russo & Steele, Gooding & Company and RM Sotheby's. Those organizations each fan out to a few major centers across the country and calendar to create big tent events that soak up regional cars in need of new owners. While this covers a fair swath of the market within driving distance, plenty of folks are faced with long, risky hauls to get their classic car on the sales dock. 

1949 International KB1

This is the case for our first test sample. We found a beauty of a truck in Olds Alberta Canada – a 1949 International KB-1 Deluxe truck with just 1474 miles on the odometer. For some reason, we did not buy the truck on the spot – foolishly hesitating for a couple of weeks before phoning in a deal. Buying such an original condition vehicle is a bit daunting – it comes with a lot of responsibility for that vehicle's destiny. The seller had one condition – the new owner needed to promise not to cut it up and make a hot rod or custom out of it as is usually the fate of its kind. Done promised. 

1949 International KB1

The first owner ran an automotive service in the Okanagan valley in British Columbia, and owned the truck until his passing a few years ago. The truck was sold out of the family at an estate sale. The owner's family must not have been pleased the truck was gone – told a previous owner to leave alone when he went fishing for details. So 60 years of that history is unspoken but respected. We can still wonder - why would someone buy such great truck and never use it? It's impossible to prove the mileage is genuine without the original documentation attached to the vehicle – and Carfax doesn't go back so far, but this KB-1 has had an obviously easy life. 

1949 International KB1

Very few Deluxe models were sold – in the 40s trucks were work mules, not parade horses. The Deluxe model has options such as electric wipers and chrome windshield frame. Most trucks were sold to farms and were worked to death. Prairie trucks typically had the tail gate removed in place of a grain chute – most surviving trucks do not have them. This truck's tail gate was unfortunately stolen (only a few bolts holding it in place) while the owner sat nearby watching a parade. These parts are hard to find in good condition, but it would be fairly easy to fabricate a reproduction. 

Power Highlights: 

Green Diamond 214 in-line 6 cast-in-block L-head type engine 
Maximum Horsepower - 73 @3200 RPM 
Maximum torque - 160 ft lbs @1200 RPM 
Maximum gross vehicle weight - 4400 lbs
 

With a top speed of 46 miles per hour it was clear we would not be driving this car over any long distances. We found safe local storage and put the red away for another day while we figured out what to do with it. Do we wrap it in a sterile bubble and never add a tenth of a mile while paying storage forever, or do we just say screw it and drive it for a couple of decades of ice cream trips? We'd still have a nice valuable truck and the added memories by then. Or do we just punt so we don't have to face that decision? We weighed all the options including the sense or stupidity of selling it. 

1949 International KB1

The major auction cities are all further away from storage than the entire existing mileage on the truck. That means transportation time and cost, then the possibility you might not sell for the desired outcome – making for a long trip home. Trying to do our homework, we scoured recent auctions on the internet for a comparable vehicle and could not find one. Then we noticed a properly worn and aged IH-KB example had done very well at $17,000 on BRING A TRAILER – a good sign this could be a realistic option. 

1949 International KB1

We met BRING A TRAILER co-founder Randy Nonnenberg at Legends of the Autobahn during Monterey Car Week 2017. We had been following their site for some time and were intrigued with the short story of their rise to prominence in online automobile sales, growing very quickly to monetize the opportunity their online community provided. 

1949 International KB1

As BRING A TRAILER (BAT) is selective with the automobiles allowed through the system, they have become a reliable funnel of no-junk high-quality product. That focus has resulted in a lot of fervent followers of the site – many a user will watch and comment on the proceedings, contributing with no intentions of buying. BAT met our conditions – and we apparently met theirs, so after months of discussion we set up a no reserve auction. 

Watch the auction and cheer us on: https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1949-international-harvester-kb1 

Stay tuned here for more details on our BAT-ty experience. 

Listen to Randy Nonnenberg's story at CARSYEAH.

by Randy Berg

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