International celebration

Built only in 1948, the International KB-5 was offered in several wheelbases.
   International trucks lack the following of old Fords, Chevrolets and Dodges. International was primarily a manufacturer of commercial trucks – even if it did produce some fine pickups over the years – and thus couldn't build the close bonds with generations of owners that have created such loyalty to the other brands.
   International survives today as Navistar, which builds only heavy trucks.
   But there's one place where International gets some love.
Original colour choices: green, red, maroon, black.
   In Cuba, many Internationals that started life as commercial trucks – medium-duty K and KB models from the 1940s and L, R and S series Internationals from the 1950s – live on today in the hands of individual owners. They serve as private taxis and buses and farm vehicles, and often double as personal transportation.
   And whether they have their original Green Diamond six-cylinder gasoline engine or a Soviet diesel replacement, they're valued for their clean and classic lines and rock-solid construction.
   At some point, this 1948 International KB-5 lost its grille and hood trim. Rather than letting it go unclad, the owner fashioned new brightwork pieces and added a bright crown of script spelling out the manufacturer's name. How many hours were spent hand-forming these letters?
   Now, a section of this ersatz emblem has itself been lost. The rest remains in shiny tribute to a faithful friend.

Labour of love.


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