A 1961 magazine ad (90K JPEG) from IH describes the Scout as a "whole new idea in low-cost transportation." The base model did apparently sell in 1961 for about $1700, several hundred dollars less than the CJ-3B, but in fact much of the idea seems to have been borrowed from the Universal Jeep. The body had two removable doors and a fold-down windshield. It was powered by a 152 cu. in. 4-cylinder engine only marginally more powerful than the Willys Hurricane, but the vehicle was also somewhat larger and heavier than the Jeep (seating three across, and with a wheelbase of 100 inches, similar to the CJ-6). The 4-wheel drive version had the same Dana 18 Transfer Case and T90 transmission used by Willys, and had Dana 27 4.27 axles front and rear (while Jeeps used a heavier Dana 44 in the rear).
In typical low-budget style, the Willys answer to IH's colorful advertising campaign and aggressive pricing for the Scout, was this folded single-sheet black & white pamphlet. It claimed that its information was "obtained from authoritative sources" and "compiled by an independent research organization."
The inside page of the brochure describes the Jeep's heavier payload range, due to its lighter curb weight and stronger rear axle, and stresses a shorter turning radius and greater front-end capacity for jobs such as snow-plowing. Also mentioned are a higher-capacity generator, riveted and welded frame, prop shaft parking brake, lower-priced replacement parts, and Scout's unproven resale value.
Willys also told salesmen at its dealerships, in the August 1961 issue of Jeep Merchandiser, that International Harvester had published a comparison of the Scout and the 'Jeep' Universals. "Most important for you to know," the article begins, "is that International has studiously avoided such major subjects as PAYLOAD, AXLE LOAD CAPACITIES, OVERHANG and MANEUVERABILITY, the kind of items that form the backbone of 'Jeep' functional superiority. Because the Scout drum beaters cannot refute our claims, they are forced to take the 'glamour' route, stressing the Scout's looks and frills."
The article quotes the Scout booklet as boasting that "The Scout is equipped with an ash tray conveniently located on the dash. This is another Scout feature that 'Jeep' does not offer."
In 1965 the Scout 80 was succeeded by the Scout 800, on which the fold-down windshield was replaced with a fixed windshield. The following year 1966 saw the addition of a larger engine, a 196 cu.in. slant 4 with 111 horsepower. However Kaiser made the Dauntless V6 engine available in the CJ-5 that year, and also introduced the Jeepster Commando as a more "comfortable" Jeep. The big three carmakers also began to get on the sport-utility bandwagon in 1966, with the debut of the new Ford Bronco.
In May 1967 Popular Mechanics magazine did a cover article comparing the Scout, Bronco and Jeep CJ-5 on a trail ride in the Colorado mountains from Telluride to Ouray (130K map). The 4-cylinder Scout suffers a bit in comments on its highway performance, but does well off-road. There's no criticism of the CJ-5 Jeep except for its zip-up softtop windows. A breakdown of its V-6 that is featured in the article turns out to be due to the reviewer failing to fill it up with gas. The new 6-cylinder Bronco is set up by Colorado mechanics with a rear locker, and driven by a local dealer familiar with the trails; it gets played up as the star of the show.
See the full article (150K JPEG's). Thanks to Jim Gregor for the scans:
As it turned out, Scout sales through the 1960's and 70's exceeded total sales of all Universal Jeeps, according to Bill Munro's Jeep: From Bantam to Wrangler. (And Broncos came close -- see History of the Early Ford Bronco.) Not to mention that the International Harvester Travelall (120K JPEG) was strong competition for the Willys Jeep Station Wagon. But the last Scout was built in 1980. As of 2009, the Jeep was still selling well.
Thanks to Steve Chabot for sending the "For The Record" brochure. -- Derek Redmond
On the Toy Jeeps Pages, see Johnny Lightning Mid-Sixties Shootout: Jeep vs. Bronco.
Elsewhere on the web, see Hatching the Scout for some thoughts about Jeeps from the designer of the Scout. Also Binder Blues, a Website for Scout Enthusiasts.
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