Wilwood disc brakes were also installed on each corner, and an ididit "shorty" steering column was picked for the truck. Special Projects, a company that does just as its name implies, did all the necessary frame modifications before the engine (with its 17.5:1 compression ratio) and trans were dropped into place. Once done, the 4-inch stainless exhaust system could be routed, and Silverline mufflers installed.

The engine, rated 350 hp at 3,000 rpm (on the small side by hot rod standards), cranks out an amazing 650 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm! Getting the power to the ground is handled by the Allison five-speed transmission. The fuel cell, an aluminum unit from RCI, can be filled with 17 gallons of go-juice and is mounted at the rear of the chassis, as are a pair of Orbital batteries. The truck rolls on custom-fabricated Pete Paulsen chrome wheels, 16x7 and 17x8, which are shod in Michelin Pilot LTX rubber

Special Projects was also assigned to do the chop on the original cab (after all, it is a street rod), and they removed 1 1/2 inches from just above the driprail. To make the rest of the truck look like an unmolested original, a custom bed and tailgate were fabricated, along with a new set of running boards. For a final body mod, the wheelwell openings were radiused to fit the new wheel combo. Some of the vehicle's other custom touches include a set of lowered headlights, as well as taillights made from a set of parking lights. The front and rear bumpers were also split, and a custom louvered panel was fab'd to cover the bed-mounted radiator.

The truck was painted a deep cranberry with metallic-black fenders by Special Projects (colors that came right off the '08 International production line), and was now in need of an interior. With a good helping of street rod products (Juliano's steering wheel, Vintage Air A/C system, a modified Ron Francis wiring kit, and so on), the truck began to look like it belonged at a street rod event. Special Projects also used some gray OE Navistar upholstery to cover the modified International bench seat and created new door panels with a simple, horizontal pleat design (contemporary, but not over the top). When you view the finished truck, you can't tell it's anything more than a well-cared-for International. The chop is subtle, so your eye just takes in the general cab shape, and nothing on the truck jumps out at you shouting: "I've been modified!"

What International was looking for was a way to introduce its new line of tractor trucks and powerplants, but be mindful of the distinguished history that goes along with the nomenclature. And only through the extraordinary efforts of American Speed Company and Special Projects could International unveil its newest truck alongside its big brother at the Chicago Auto Show just six months after work on the project began. Only time will tell if the new retro tractor truck design will be accepted by the public, but one thing is for sure, if International ever decides to go back into the 1/2-ton truck market, they've already got a great model to work from!