1948 International KB3 Restoration

This is a picture heavy post of our 1948 International KB3 Restoration to catch you up on this build. This truck was completed about 3 years ago but because it was our first together and ties into our next project, I want to share.

We want to build a Rat Rod. So, if you don’t know what that means, go. Get lost in Google a while – I’ll wait.

Awesome, right? Yeah, We need one!

So when 2 old International trucks came up for sale reasonably close by, and for ‘the right price’, we dropped everything, borrowed a friends flat deck trailer and spent the next 2 days driving, loading and unloading these awesome old trucks.

1948 International KB3 Restoration – Recover

It’s like these trucks were in their natural habitat. A gorgeous field in Merritt BC. People dream about finding the vehicle they are searching for in a field somewhere and dragging it home. Well, we do anyway. This was surprisingly fun! So much potential. So many ideas. And a little work to get them on the flat deck just made them more enticing.

When we got both trucks home and were able to go over them and assess what we had, what we needed, where to even start, we realized that between the two trucks there were easily enough parts for one complete truck …

So, we did the right thing, and hooked up some essentials and tried to get it to fire. Watch below.

VIDEO: 1948 International KB3 Restoration – First Fire

Change of plans.

We had to restore one. I mean, all that chrome complete and in such good condition?? Look at that front grille. Each piece is a separate chrome strip! It’s lasted 70+ years together – some people aren’t lucky enough to keep all their parts that long – we just couldn’t cut it up.

Isn’t it incredible how these vehicles start to evoke such emotional responses?

1948 International KB3 Restoration – Frame

1948 International KB3 Restoration – Engine

The old Flathead 6 engine loved, painted and back in!

1948 International KB3 Restoration – Welding

This cab door sill picture reminds me just how much this project challenged me.

Bodywork is HARD! My hat is off to all you ‘body men’ and women, who make this kind of mess into something gorgeous.

I cried. Raged. Doubted myself. I procrastinated. And I seriously questioned my whole career as a welder. Then I also didn’t want to show anyone.

It was like trying to weld tissue paper. It was like trying to weld air.

Millermatic 211

All the welding on this project, which was only cab and box mount repairs (Yeah! It was in that good shape!) I used my Miller, Millermatic 211 wire feeder with C25 mix shielding gas and .030 S-6 solid wire.

My advise to anyone attempting to weld body panels this way: SLOW THE $%&@ DOWN! Take your time. Spot weld several different areas in rotation to minimize concentrated heat input and some serious deep breathing! LOL

Feel free to (constructively and respectfully) comment any welding advise! As a Journeyman Welder, body work is not part of our training or my experience. I would love to hear from some sheet metal professionals or anyone with this skill set.

Adding in new material on these inside panels where there was only rust and air. Panel in place and then primed for paint.

1948 International KB3 Restoration

So thankful (and lucky) Mike is a Journeyman Electrician, because although those wires are all gorgeously labeled, that just looks like a big mess of NOPE to me!

Cab (finally) gets fit back onto the frame.

1948 International KB3 Restoration

Painted inside the cab and the firewall. A detail that makes the engine compartment under the hood really ‘clean’. While the exterior may look old and weathered, we wanted the distinction that everything has been cleaned up except the visible exterior paint.

1948 International KB3 Restoration

2 flat panels of glasswork made replacing the windshield very easy. Our local glass shop Lake City Glass were awesome with helping us get it right and in the frame. Thank you!

1948 International KB3 Restoration – Upholstery.

New vinyl for the bench seat in original colours. We can’t get ‘Collector’ plates here in BC – because of the rusty rub through paint finish – the car has to look ‘as it did coming out of the factory’ – so we don’t have to source vintage fabric.

My piping is not as tight as I’d like it to be. Is there a special sewing foot for that? Probably. This detail will always bug me.

If you have advise to tighten up piping seams, please let me know in the comments below!

Overall, I am pretty happy with how they turned out!

1948 International interior

A clean engine compartment. and a shiny new radiator via (where else?) Rock Auto probably our favourite store!

1948 International KB3 Restoration

Restored dash. Isn’t it lovely and simple!?

1948 International dash

1948 International KB3 Restoration – Details

A really cool detail this truck has is this original Truk Flar safety option. A flair for attracting attention in case of a breakdown.

I just love the original typography and spelling.

We found a restored version online to help us read all the faded lettering. We always have the intent of doing right by the truck so, if anybody has info in what these kerosene flairs looked like, please let me know.

The International diamond logo under there. PLUS a little peek at the red truck in the back there!

It ‘looks’ like a shitty old farm truck, but it’s all cleaned up. We absolutely love it!

1948 International KB3 Restoration

Now that I know, intimately, the International pick up cab, I see them everywhere. I get a glimpse of one piled behind a garage just off the highway. I see them cut up and ratted at car shows and on TV and I like the little smile of recognition it puts on my face.

This isn’t a first and last build. This isn’t going away.

Thanks for looking through our 1948 International KB3 Restoration build! I can’t wait to share all our projects with you.

Stay Awesome,

Lisa & Mike

VIDEO: 1948 International KB3 Restoration – Test run up the driveway

6 Replies to “1948 International KB3 Restoration”

  1. Very cool project!
    I have a 1948 Metro van with the same gauges. Could you tell me where you found the face decals?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Pete. Thank You! It’s not a decal. We matched the colours then sanded down and repainted the metal. Sorry I don’t have a better answer for you.

  2. Oh ok! Nice job! My gauge faces are very lightly worn… and I have seen vinyl decal overlays to freshen up the type face. So did you hand paint over the numbers and letters?
    Thanks again for your response!

    1. Luckily the numbers were in good shape. We lightly sanded and touched up the off-white background and repainted the needle and front tan face. If yours is really bad, I think a decal would work.

  3. Very cool Sir!! I just bought a 1949 KB3 that looks just like yours. I’m taking it apart to paint the under carriage, frame, engine area and under the fenders. I’m not touching the outside paint as its in really good original condition.

    1. Ooh you’re lucky with the original paint! Love that other people are showing these trucks some attention. Have fun!

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