On the lookout at my Junkyard Uncover posts for 2020, I locate that I have been neglecting American vehicles for considerably of this yr (I never take into consideration the PT Cruiser to be a accurate truck, regardless of currently being categorized as just one by the federal governing administration). For that reason, I’ve made the decision to share this extensively utilized-up IHC Metro-Mite stepvan ahead of the year ends.
It seems that the initial owner of this van was the Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company, a Bell Technique tentacle in any other case recognised as The Cellular phone Enterprise. MST&T grew to become Mountain Bell in 1969.
Right after that, this truck went into the fleet of an electrician in Estes Park, Colorado. That’s the locale of the Stanley Hotel, inspiration for the Forget about Resort in The Shining. Most likely this van was employed to haul materials for electrical repairs in the most haunted rooms at the Stanley.
Now it resides in a self-company lawn in Denver, about 60 miles south of Estes Park.
The ancient tires are rock-tricky and completely flattened, and the within of the van has about 6 inches of dirt buildup on the floors, suggesting a long time sitting down outdoors in the harsh High Plains climate.
One explanation that this van may well have been retired again in the 1970s life just future to the driver: a 1.5-liter BMC B engine, rated at 51 horsepower in 1959. Some genuinely interesting British cars and trucks employed B power, including the MGA, MGB, and Nash Metropolitan… but these types of a little and primitive motor proved unsuited for challenging use in a delivery van driven on American highways. Curiously, the prototypes of the IHC Scout were being seriously affected by the Metro-Mite’s design and employed the B motor. IHC recognized that couple of People would invest in a Jeep competitor with an overworked British engine, so the foundation Scout received a 2.5-liter 4-banger manufactured from just one bank of the company’s 304-dice V8.
It’s tricky placing a flooring shifter on a guide-transmission-outfitted ahead-handle van, so the Metro-Mite obtained a a few-on-the-tree handbook rig.
I doubt a stock Metro-Mite could get much beyond about 50 mph on level ground, especially with the electrical power-robbing slender air in Entrance Vary Colorado, but possibly some daredevil Mountain Bell drivers got some significant momentum going on extensive downhill grades.
On the other hand, I believe that Dymo leading-velocity label was there to let the drivers know the scale of the speedometer as soon as most of the numerals fell off, not as official Bell Process policy.
The Metro-Mite was rather smaller, weighing just 2,800 lbs, and its forte was constantly gradual-pace deliveries close to city. You wouldn’t want to sit in this punitive driver’s seat for the haul between Pueblo and Grand Junction, even if you could tolerate the 20 mph trudges up steep grades and the violent turbulence from 18-wheelers on open up highways.
Amazingly, the unique owner’s handbook remained with this truck until finally the close.
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