Every experienced vintage truck fan knows that the term cornbinder refers to International Harvester trucks. As IH was always more known for manufacturing heavy-duty farm equipment, including purpose-built pickups, the nickname came relatively early in the truck's history.
This particular cornbinder's current caretaker, Barb Churchill, has a long and involved history with her '35 International. When she and her late husband, Al Hausmann, were first dating, Al purchased the unrestored pickup in 1983. Barb realized early in their courtship that if she was going to share many of Al's weekends, she would need to become a car gal. She was successful to the point that Al eventually trusted Barb and allowed her to wrench on the International alongside him.
The first restoration encompassed 5 years. After 10 years and 78,000 miles were enjoyed, the cornbinder needed another refresh, but Al's passing unfortunately prevented him from being a part of it. Continuing in the car hobby and renewing the old '35 was a way for Barb to pay homage to her recently deceased husband. In addition, some of Al's and Barb's best friends were members of the Mid Ohio Bunch car club. After a scant 9 months, the venerable hauler was ready for the open road once again, thanks to Barb's determination and help from members of the club.
If you're curious how the old IH became road and show-worthy in such a short time, read on. The rebuild began at the foundation. Club crony, Zack Kiola, enhanced the International's frame by boxing it and adding a tubular transmission crossmember. He installed a polished TCI IFS with Wilwood Engineering disc brakes and a Ford 9-inch with drum brakes for the rear. A custom 16-gallon stainless steel fuel tank went into place behind the rear axle. In the front were 15x7-inch Wheel Vintiques spoke wheels, and 15x10-inch in the rear, all covered by Diamond Tires' wide whites. To improve road handling, Zack added front and rear sway bars.
Columbus Engine of Columbus, Ohio, performed a 0.030 overbore and fitted the block with Keith Black pistons to begin the rejuvenation of the '70 350ci Chevy engine. Matched port heads, an Edelbrock Performer aluminum intake manifold, and an Edelbrock Performer 750-cfm four-barrel carb optimized breathing and enhanced induction.
Porcelain-ized Hooker Header block-hugger tubular exhaust headers were bolted on to efficiently expel exhaust gases. The mill's revival was finished with an HEI Crossfire ignition system, billet valve covers, and an air cleaner. Barb sourced a TPI Performance 700-R4 transmission, replete with a 2,500-stall converter. A Gennie Shifter chrome floor shifter selected the perfect gear. The AOD tranny was kept cool with two in-line Perma Cool transmission coolers for smooth transfer of power from the V-8.
Over the years, the cornbinder's sheetmetal had become a tad sad. So, Barb selected a local body shop to restore the exterior. The shop shortened the side splash pans and running boards before moving the widened rear fenders forward. After all of the shop's modifications, PPG Lada Forest Green was carefully applied. With the paint cured, Rob Hilburn installed new tinted glass and power windows. The stainless steel stringers from the first renovation were retained in the bed floor, but Barb preferred maple to oak. She commissioned a lumberyard to cut some maple planks, which she stained and varnished. The finishing touch came when Larry Mead and Harold Kuontz fabricated a metal tonneau, then painted it white.
Harvey, owner of AA Auto Upholstery in Columbus, trimmed the original bench seat with buff leather, the headliner with fabric, and the door and kick panels in a matching vinyl. Friends and car club members helped with the IH's interior. Jake Perry and Bob Vieth used Affordable Street Rods' wiring harness to wire the Classic Instruments' 5-inch instruments, and fit them into the Wabbits wood dashboard.
After wiring and mounting the Classic Instruments' four-in-one gauges into the Wabbits overhead wood console, they installed an overhead Alpine CD/stereo head unit. Next, the six-disc CD changer was installed under the seat, and Alpine speakers were placed about the cabin for 3-D stereo sound. Cooling and heating improved after Bill Munzer installed the Vintage Air HVAC mini space-saver system.
Barb drove the freshly finished cornbinder quite a ways to the Goodguys West Coast Nationals in Pleasanton, California, from her hometown of Dublin, Ohio, in August 2000. She had her share of misadventures with one or two unplanned street-rod garage visits along the way, but despite the mishaps, Barb had a wonderful time on the 8,000-mile, month-long trek. So much so, she's planning a repeat Go West voyage in 2004. The homebuilt driver has seen more than 30,000 miles since its most recent completion. For Barb Churchill, the hot-rod truck hobby consists of showin', cruisin', and meetin' like-minded enthusiasts and seeing this great country. Yes, we agree she has become quite a car gal.
An estimated 400 horses are...
An estimated 400 horses are underfoot from Barb's billet-clad Bow Tie small-block powerplant.
Neatly done is a Wabbits wood...
Neatly done is a Wabbits wood dashboard stuffed with Classic Instruments' 5-inch gauges, topped by a wood-rimmed Grant banjo steering wheel.
Wabbits Wood Products showed...
Wabbits Wood Products showed up once again with the overhead console, housing an Alpine head unit.
Accents of timber framing...
Accents of timber framing the door panels tie in well with the upper and lower wood instrument panels.
By avocation, she's a car...
By avocation, she's a car gal. By vocation, Dr. Barbara Churchill's a dentist. Fittingly, she smiled for the camera.
Wide white spats and Wheel...
Wide white spats and Wheel Vintiques spokers dress the PPG Lada Forest Green '35 cornbinder in style.