1947 Fargo Truck docent 002

1947 Fargo Truck



“FARGO” was the trade name given to DODGE Trucks sold in Canada and other foreign markets.  Purchased new by Bob King for Sea-Van Motor Freight in 1946,  this FARGO hauled freight between Vancouver and Seattle until 1953 when it was put into storage at the West Pender warehouse.  The tractor remained in storage until 1974, when it was donated as part of the King Collection.  Restoration work was carried out between 1974 and 1976 by Provincial Museum staff.  The FARGO has a 5 speed transmission and 2 speed drive axle.

In tow is a single drop low-bed Model SS11 Columbia trailer built in 1947 at the Columbia Trailer factory at Howe Street in Vancouver.  The trailer, with front bulkhead and woodplank decking, was one of 12 units King purchased at one time. Five were put directly into storage and never used. The Historic Transportation Center often uses this practical team to transport vehicles to shows, parades and other exhibits

The original brand of trucks named Fargo was produced from 1913 to 1922 by the Fargo Motor Car Company. Chrysler purchased the company in 1928 and used the name Fargo for their trucks. With the purchase of Dodge, Chrysler just rebadged Dodge trucks as Fargos, similar to the Ford/Mercury or Chevy/GMC trucks. Modern Day Chrysler Trucks are RamTrucks.

The original Fargo Motor Car Company Fargo trucks were built in Pilsen Chicago and then inDetroit at Chryslers Lynch Road Plant. TheFargo name was only used by Chrysler until the 1930’s but lived on in Canada until 1972. Dodge trucks were also sold as Fargo or DeSoto trucks in Latin America.  Europe and Asia got Fargo or DeSoto trucks built at Chrysler’s Kew England plant.

Australia got British made, American made and even home build trucks under the Dodge, Fargo or DeSoto names and sold via Chrysler Australia.

Heavy 38 Tonne trucks built in Spain by the Chrysler Spanish Subsidiary were sold in England as the Dodge 300 series while other exports version were sold as Fargo. The Fargo named ended when Dodge got out of the American Heavy Truck market in 1976 and in1978 in Eutope with the sale of Chrysler Europe to PSA Peugeot Citroën.

1930 Fargo trucks used as many Chrysler automobile parts as they could and the lighter Plymouth Model Q based commercial truck called the “Packet” used the Plymouth 4 cylinder engie. The heavier “Clipper” was built on a Chrysler 65 Chassis. A DeSoto Six cylinder engine was used and soon a one ton “Freighter” was added. The Fargo line grew to include a full range of trucks all the way up to a Dump truck.

With purchase of Graham Bros. Trucks Chrysler now had three lines of trrucks, but with the Graham Brothers starting their own car line it was easy to drop their name. But they kept the trucks and just called the Dodge or Fargo.

Depression era sales numbers doomed the Fargo name in the US but they continued using the Name Fargo in Canada, India, Turkey or elsewhere and the “Fargo over the Globe” logo suited this well. Fargo’s sold in Canada were Canadian Made but the export trucks were mostly built in the US still. 3,500 1½ ton Fargo trucks for export were built in Detroit from 1933 to 1935.

The Candian line of Fargo trucks ran from 1/2 ton up to Tractor Trailer rigs. Other Fargo DeSoto trucks were still produced in other parts of the world including Turkey up to 1978. Modern Turkey built Fargo and DeSoto trucks are based on Hino or Daewoo trucks. Daimler Chrysler brought Dodge Trucks back to Turkey.

Fargo trucks in Canada

The market in Canada was split into Chrysler Plymouth and Dodge DeSoto, but that left no trucks for the Chrysler Plymouth dealers to sell and not all smaller towns had both dealerships. To capitalize on sales, a Plymouth verison fo the Dodge truck was needed and they choose a very American sounding name, Fargo, they already had the name stamps made. Dodge and Fargo were sold from 1936 to 1972.

The first Canadian Fargo line was ½, 1, 1½, 2 and 3 ton sizes while the Dodge did not get a 3 ton until 1937. A 4 ton was built starting in 1939 but all canadian 4 tons models for Fargo or Dodge were built in the US. The same applied to the T-137 Power Wagon.

Selling 864 Fargo turcks in Canada in 1936, they were basically a Dodge truck with a Plymouth passenger car looking front end. For 1937 the whole Fargo truck was exactly the same as Dodge right down to the grille.

The 1 1/2 up to 3 ton Fargo trucks had different hood louvers and big truck hubcaps to make them different than the Dodge trucks. To also diferentiate itsefl from Dodge all advertising carried the tag line, “Built by Chrysler … in Canada.”.

Redesigned for 1939, the truck was longer but still on the 116 wheelbase, the cab was moved forward and the Fargo got a similar grille to the 1939 Plymouth cars. A Plymouth Truck was being built in the states withg this sheet metal treatment so that is what made it feasible for the small number of Canadian built Fargos to have a different grille.

The 1939 variant lasted all through the war years un changed to 1947, but the cab was to live on in the Power Wagon through to 1967!





I live in Surrey, BC Canada and am a volunteer with the museum,