When you think of a work truck you probably think of some old rusted out beater truck right? That’s absolutely not the case with this 1973 International Loadstar 1700 built by Summit Truck Bodies. The Kansas based company specializes in installing massive crane systems on large heavy duty track frames, most of which are brand new examples coming off the factory floor. But when they decided to build something of a show truck that could really showcase their talents, they opted for something a bit older. And that is where this epic one of a kind black and copper beast came to life.
Summit wanted this truck to not only look the part but act the part as well. And as good as it may have been when it left the factory floor back in 1973, the International Loadstar just wasn’t going to cut it when it came to the performance and handling aspects. So they came up with the brilliant idea of adding two main upgrades that would immediately rectify that problem and by doing so they created a RestoMod, unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
First, let’s talk about the handling upgrades. The idea was to make it where this killer work truck would handle like it was brand new, or even better a brand new truck with today’s standards. But since the chassis was more than 40 years old it didn’t really make sense to throw a new suspension system on it. And that means the only way to accomplish that was to actually use the chassis from a new truck. So they took the reconditioned body of the Loadstar 1700 and married it with the full running chassis of the Ram 5500 heavy duty work truck. This would ensure their new creation would ride smoothly on the highway, yet also maintain the durability and toughness that it was known for in the first place.
Next, I’d like to point out the second upgrade, which happens to be my personal favorite, and that’s the one that tackles the performance. When it left the factory floor, the Loadstar had an International V-345 gas powered V8 that was rated at 157hp and 266lb-ft of torque. Which seems absolutely bonkers when you think about it, especially because there’s more power coming from a Honda Civic nowadays. That definitely isn’t going to cut it in the performance category, as a matter of fact, it’s almost a miracle the truck was able to move at all with so little power on tap. Since it was married with the chassis of a Ram 5500, you might expect there to be a big old Cummins diesel providing the frame twisting torque necessary to make this beast of a truck a bit more “Hot Rod-like.” Had that been the case, that would still be pretty cool. But, it’s even better than that, a lot better actually. I say that because rather than a big old “coal rolling” power plant, the guys at Summit opted for another Ram/Dodge engine that’s even more impressive, a Hellcat motor.
That’s right, sitting under this massive hood is a 6.2L supercharged HEMI V8 that’s rated at 707hp and 700lb-ft of torque. I was never that good at math, but I know 707hp is quite a few more times more powerful than the 157hp motor that came stock. And while 700lb-ft of torque may not be as much as what would’ve come from the Cummins Diesel, it still should be more than sufficient to do whatever this truck and its operators would want to do. All that power is matched up with an NV5600 six-speed transmission with a 4.88 gear in the rear end.
Speaking of looks, the Loadstar has obviously received a complete makeover regarding the aesthetics of the truck too. Even the giant crane system on the back has been painted with a jet black high gloss paint that really pops when you see it in the right lighting. To provide a nice bit of color contrast, there’s been a few key pieces that were painted with what seems to be the perfect shade of copper which you can see scattered throughout the entire truck. Even the interior got spruced up so that it would match the aesthetics of the rest of the vehicle which includes, Nappa leather seats, copper accents, and even a full infotainment system.
Needless to say, it’ll get the job done, and look good in the process.
I apologize for the low-quality video, but it still gives you an idea as to how amazing of a build this black and copper monster is.