By: David Palmeter
Back in 1991, part of my job at International Harvester Truck Division was to provide information to model makers doing IH models. I also edited a newsletter about IH model availability. This was an announcement made in October, 1991:
Above – Tony Slivka, his brother Bill and his sons, John and Bob, have started production of the first release from their “Triple Diamond Replicas” company. It is a 1956 International S-Line pickup truck originally produced by “Product Miniatures Company” of Milwaukee. Tony tracked down the tooling and has conquered all the very difficult and expensive challenges of bringing these great International replicas back to life.
They are being molded in authentically matched IH red, blue and yellow colors with the ivory portion of the two tone painted on. There is a possibility of other colors later. These TDR re-releases can be differentiated from the PMC originals because:
they do not have the PMC lettering molded on the bottom
they won’t warp
they are clear-coated (and very shiny)
they have more complete and accurate model designation decals
they have a spare tire added to the side of the pickup bed (later versions may have two or none)
A trivia note for future historians – a change that Tony tried to make was to straighten the left headlight in the die. It has bugged him, since he was a kid collecting these promos from his Dad’s IH dealership, that the left headlight die insert for this 1956 cab was put in crooked so that the headlight grid lines were not exactly horizontal and vertical. He tried to fix that with his re-released versions, he even used locking compound to keep the insert straight, but it didn’t work. A few early prototypes were okay but as the production run got underway, the die insert rotated so virtually all production versions will have a slightly rotated left headlight.
Advance to late 2009 –
A truck collector friend, Don from Kansas, had mentioned some time ago that he would like to add one of the TDR pickups to his collection. I checked my sources, and online auctions, but finding a reasonable deal on one was difficult. Finally, I found this original Product Miniatures Company promo which had the usual early promo warp and the “played with” patina, including the very wrong bumper glued on the front. Fortunately, the wheel and tire assemblies, the steering wheel and its mounting assembly, along with the seat, survived pretty well.
It was great to have some original pieces, but it was apparent that only a miracle could salvage the cab, box and frame. I was very lucky to have that miracle at hand. Because I had worked with Tony Slivka on this project, he had sent me, many years ago, not only the completed red model that you see below, but he also sent me the other helpful bits shown. These early pieces from Tony, plus the old, warped auction-find yellow truck above, plus some new pieces Tony recently sent, made it feasible to build the model for Don.
EARLY PIECES FROM TONY (Long term exposure to light caused discoloration of the white plastic pieces)
On the right above, the two unbuilt trucks include three moldings:
– Pickup Bed
– Integral Chassis, Bumper and Rear Fender Unit
FROM OLD TRUCK
– Steering Wheel and Bracket
– Wheels, Tires and Axles
RECENT PIECES FROM TONY
– Clear Window Insert (an item Tony tooled, never was on the original PMC models)
– Model ID Cowl Decals
– IH Door Decals
– Tailgate Decal
– License Plate
– Remove Mold Lines
– Paint and Assemble
The build (done during late 2009) looked simple but preparation took some time. The pieces were amazingly good, considering that they came from 40-year-old tools, but they did require a fair amount of time to remove mold seams in awkward places. Then, with my modest painting skills, a lot of time was spent sanding primer (below).
Above – Finally, color was applied – interior…..
Above – …..and exterior. The off white being sprayed here.
Above – Then masking and the yellow and more sanding and rubbing out.
Above – Finally, the chassis was painted black.
Above – Tony’s clear window insert adds a lot.
Above – Trim was painted and foiled, decals applied then the truck was assembled. I am really glad I could salvage the original seat!
The Finished Product
Above – The PMC info was removed from the final TDR releases but was still on the bodies Tony sent.
But Wait, There’s More…..
Before I shipped the International off to Don in Kansas, I figured it needed a shakedown run by a local pickumup truck expert, so I called farmer Cyrus. After several hours, I was concerned about Cyrus and the new truck. I mentioned my concern to Officer Barndoor, who is always hanging around my shop. He finally tracked down Cyrus, who was running stuff all over the county for his farmer buddies. Ol’ Barn told him to get the truck back to me emejutly so it could be shipped to Kansas almost by Christmas. He did and it was.
May 6, 2014 – I would like to dedicate this page to good friend Don. In 2010, few months after he called to tell me how much he enjoyed the truck, he passed away. I am glad I could bring a little joy to a truly great person and friend.