A Ground Breaking Rally

A Ground Breaking Rally

NO SLEEP TILL BLYTHEWOOD...

You only get one chance at historic milestones. Breaking ground on your first American factory. Bringing back an iconic American brand. These are rare events. Knowing this, we wanted to connect past and present in a uniquely Scout way. The original Scout vehicles were built in Fort Wayne, Indiana from 1960-1980 and it seems only proper we bring a piece from that Scout history to our new production center location in Blythewood, South Carolina.

So we reached out to Ryan DuVall of Harvester Homecoming fame to ask if we could secure an original brick from the Fort Wayne Scout factory. Ryan reached out to the Tippmann family that currently owns the old Scout factory, and managed to secure an original brick. Mailing the brick wasn’t going to work for us – Scouts always go farther – so we lined up a few legacy Scouts and plotted a 700-mile road trip from Fort Wayne to Blythewood, giving our historic brick a proper Scout welcome to its new home. 

Day 1

FORT WAYNE, INDIANA – LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY

Sometimes when you know you are about to embark on a fun adventure, you wake up just a bit early in anticipation of the day ahead. In this case roughly 5am for me as I take a quick look out the window of our Fort Wayne, Indiana hotel room and see our legacy Scouts lined up outside.

For this 700-mile journey, we have five Scouts we would essentially be living in for the next few days. Three of our Scouts have been provided by Scout restorer Sean Barber of Anything Scout, based in Ames, Iowa: a 1967 Scout 80, a Glacier Blue 1979 Scout II, and a Siam Yellow 1978 Scout II with a manual transmission. The other two Scouts rounding out our traveling group are a 1978 Scout II Rallye on loan from Navistar and our white 1975 Scout II.

Our first stop leaving the hotel that morning was the former Scout factory in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Leaving downtown Fort Wayne, we headed east and pulled into the former Engineering Center, where we were greeted by Ryan DuVall and a few of the crew responsible for Harvester Homecoming and maintaining the museum collection on display.  

The ORIGINAL SCOUT FACTORY

For anyone in the Midwest who is a Scout fan, you are no doubt familiar with this location as it is the site of the annual Harvester Homecoming show. Ryan gave us a tour of the building and explained a bit about the Navistar truck collection on display. The engineering center has been around for more than 70 years, and every new IH truck has seen its genesis in this building. The history of the old building can be seen everywhere, from the dusty old metal desks to the original wood flooring. The county now owns the building, which has plans for a correctional facility, so the museum collection will be relocated to a new and improved location soon to be announced.

Our group moved to a large adjacent room where former Scout plant manager Jim Poiry presented Scout staff with a brick from the original Scout factory. Jim wished our Scout staff best wishes and good luck in building our new production center and bringing the Scout back to market. With a tear in his eye, he mentioned his fond memories of the Fort Wayne facility and hopes we can capture just a bit of that in our new South Carolina home. 

After our brick hand-off ceremony, we drove around the old factory grounds, passing through the old sound testing area, various supplier buildings, and the original exterior door that all Scouts (including all of those in our caravan!) passed through when they left the factory. We took the opportunity to take another of many photos.

SUPER SCOUT SPECIALISTS

We said goodbye to our friends in Fort Wayne and headed 105 miles south and east to Enon, Ohio, where we dropped in on John Glancy and the crew at Super Scout Specialists. Also on hand was Scout historian Jim Allen, who co-authored the famed Scout Encyclopedia with John Glancy.

Super Scout Specialists have been in business for over 34 years, providing parts, restoration, and service for International Harvester vehicles, particularly Scouts. John took us on a guided tour of the sprawling 46,000 square feet of space packed with everything you could possibly need to restore your vintage Scout. John has amassed a huge collection of IH memorabilia and, arguably, the best collection of vintage Scouts you will find anywhere. Included on loan right now is the very first Scout off the assembly line – FC501. If you find yourself in the Dayton, Ohio region, we recommend you stop in at Super Scout Specialists and have a look around. You won’t be disappointed.

After lunch and our great visit at Super Scout Specialists, we headed south to Lexington, Kentucky, our first stop of the night, wrapping up day one of our journey. Just as we arrived at our hotel for the night, the skies opened up, and rain started to fall. This turned out to be a bit of an issue, as you will see on day two.

Day 2

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY – ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA

Day two of our trip takes us from Lexington to Asheville via a combination of side roads, highway, and a bit of offroading to get our Scouts dirty.

Our day started with some beautiful backroad curves through the Beatyville, Kentucky, scenery. Our old Scouts don’t particularly like to be hurried through the curves. However, they handled it with ease and still managed to put a smile on everyone’s face. With our brick safely stored in its special case, we turned off the tarmac and into a few off-road areas. 

scout-motors-brick-rally-205

It didn’t take us long to discover that the overnight rains had flooded out many of the trails we planned to drive on that day. Despite our best efforts to take our tallest Scout across our first flooded road, we knew the stock Scouts in the group wouldn’t make it, so we had to backtrack a bit and try a different route. It turned out that severely flooded areas became a theme that morning, but we eventually found a few great trails that allowed us to manually lock the front hubs, drop into AWD, and navigate our way through mud, rocks, and a few stream/river crossings.

All of our old Scouts motored through everything we threw at them on the trails. We even came across a full-size pickup truck sitting in the middle of our route that quit after a stream crossing, forcing us to have to drive around it. Overall, it is an impressive showing for our legacy group of Scouts, just proving once again that Scouts go farther.

After another three hours of beautiful scenic side roads, we arrived in Asheville, North Carolina, that evening, looking forward to dinner and some rest.

Day 3

ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA – BLYTHEWOOD, SOUTH CAROLINA

As we leave Asheville, North Carolina on our final (and shortest) leg to Blythewood, South Carolina, our Scouts continue to hum right along. We had one minor electronic issue with one of our modified Scouts but otherwise had virtually no major issues, which is impressive considering the youngest Scout in this group is 45 years old. 

Leaving Asheville, we headed east via backroads and a few sections of highway driving. Our Scouts operate on what we jokingly refer to as “Scout Time,” meaning they don’t get to their destination particularly quickly. But that’s just fine for us – this was always about the journey.

We arrived at our new Scout Motors production center in Blythewood early in the afternoon. The future factory site of more than 1,500 acres was buzzing with activity as we prepared for the next day’s groundbreaking ceremony. We arrived just in time to catch our CEO, Scott Keogh, wrapping up a site visit. A small handful of journalists on hand had a chance to chat with Scott and ask how he viewed the new Scout models we are working on bringing to market. 

“I think of Scout a little bit like Levi’s. They can be worn in Malibu or a work site, and it’s a cool, iconic American brand. We’re not building something to navigate the strip malls of America, we’re building something that can navigate America.”

After this trip we couldn’t agree more. Our brick from the original Scout factory has found a new home as an integral part of Scout Motors new chapter in Blythewood, South Carolina. 

Our brick rally re-cap video can be found below:

Scout Motors would like to thank Ryan DuVall, Harvester Homecoming and the Tippmann Family for their generous donation of a brick from the original Scout factory in Fort Wayne, Indiana.