One strategy IH adopted to increase sales in those dark days was to enter the light-duty market -- a strategy that would ultimately produce the successful 1937 International C-1 Pickup.
The pressures of time and tight money worked against creating a new design from scratch. The answer came from Willys-Overland. In very unstable financial condition and eager to increase sales of its light trucks, Willys manufactured a modified version of its 1/2-ton C-113 pickup and panel trucks that International marketed as the D-1. Though built in Willys' Toledo, Ohio, plant, the D-1 sported its own radiator and hood styling and used a larger-displacement version of the C-113's six-cylinder engine.
The C-1s vee'd grille gave it an up-to-the-minute look.
now in receivership and its ability to meet International's needs uncertain, IH turned to a successor of its own design.
On the surface, the International C-1 Pickup was a completely new truck. Cab styling was more rounded at the corners, and the old-fashioned windshield visor of the D-1 was done away with. A vee'd aluminum grille with a body-color shell and more-enveloping fenders with skirts at their trailing edges were up-to-the-minute.
The 113-inch wheelbase, 213-cid six, and standard 4.18:1 axle ratio of the D-1 were retained for the new truck, but there were significant mechanical changes to distinguish the C-1 from its predecessor.
A longer 125-inch-wheelbase version of the chassis was added. The propeller shaft gained roller-bearing joints, steering and brake components were enhanced, and there were stronger springs with redesigned shackles. The frame rails were made a half-inch deeper than those used on the D-1.
The C-1's undersquare engine increased output to 78 horsepower from the D-1's 70.
Aside from the horsepower boost, the engine benefited from improved ignition wiring. An L-head design with four main bearings, it used a cast-iron block and solid valve lifters and breathed through a single-throat downdraft carburetor. The engine worked through a three-speed manual transmission activated by a floor-mounted lever.
The 1937 International C-1 Pickup featured more rounded styling.
IH considered its factory-authorized body variations to be options, so most stated prices are for the basic chassis/cowl. But the Standard Catalog of American Light Duty Trucks cites a 1934 price of $545 for a short-wheelbase pickup, which would have been $100 more than the chassis alone. The 125-inch chassis cost $25 more than its shorter counterpart.
The 1937 C-1 also featured hydraulic brakes.
The light-duty truck line proved to be a substantial part of IH's business; in 1936, when production edged past 100,000 -- quite a jump from dismal 1932 -- nearly a third of that total consisted of C-1s. All the while, International was able to hold third place among American truck producers.
The long-wheelbase pickup pictured here is one of the 6,639 C-1s built in 1937 (274 of which came from the Canadian plant). It features 18-inch steel-spoke wheels (though wire wheels were also available) and an extra-cost right-side taillight.