Class 7 and 8 drivers know better than most the weight ratings of their vehicles. Class 7 vehicles can carry 33,000 pounds on two axles and up to 70,000 with a trailer, a mere 10,000 pounds less than a Class 8 tractor and trailer. Big Red can roll with its two axles well within Class 7 limits. A steering axle rated at 10,000 pounds and a rear axle with 17,000 pounds capacity means Big Red can roll well within Class 7 limits and pull a trailer, allowing it nearly as much capacity as a Class 8. Larry Bull, sales applications engineer for International, says Red can also be bought with a 16,000-pound front axle and 30,000-pound rear, giving it full Class 8 capability. In addition, and making this truck even more unique, it comes standard with full-time four-wheel drive.

Unlike many 3/4- and 1-ton factory pickups, the carrying capacity of this vehicle is not only limited to its overall weight rating. The bed is a full 10 feet long and will accommodate a fifth-wheel for pulling construction trailers or livestock wagons. Civilians not used to thinking like commercial truckers will need to understand, however, that this truck's capabilities are limited by the same standards applied to all Class 7 and Class 8 vehicles--a vehicle is scrutinized not only according to its GVWR, but also by weight distribution. Dense loads in a 10-foot bed might put more than 10,000 pounds on your steering axle or more than 17,000 pounds on your rear-drive axle. It's possible you may be under GVW but over on an axle--and then the piper will have to be paid, usually in the form of a large fine at scale.

But fear not; this vehicle can morph down as well as it has morphed up, according to Larry Bull: "This truck can be de-rated to 25,999 pounds if the customer desires. We use an 80,000psi rail that permits smaller weight-rated axles. If Mother wants to take it to the grocery store, she can go right ahead," Bull says. Turning this pickup into a Class 5 vehicle that can be legally driven with a standard driver's license gives it flexibility customers in many markets will find attractive.

Certainly, there are buyers who see this truck in its stripped version as one capable of being useful in any number of applications. Its off-road capability makes it ideal for use in heavy construction or as a fire pumper, for example, that can go where no pumper has gone before. That it can accommodate six large men in the cab is another strong selling feature for construction applications. Bull says that customers gave International the idea to turn the naked crew cab into a pickup. He says its $68,000 pricetag appealed to those who saw the Class 4 1-ton dualies priced at $48,000 to $50,000 as less of a bargain after seeing this truck. Many of those same customers looked at the crew cab and saw the opportunity for a bunk or a family passenger area on long-haul excursions or when pulling fifth-wheels. At 96 inches, the cab is 44 inches longer than the standard cab in International's 4000, 7000, and 8000 series tractors and provides for a 40.2-inch crew-cab space. That means plenty of legroom.