Elroy wrote:Not a bad little shortbox, sold new at Miller Edmonton
Not a bad little shortbox, sold new at Miller Edmonton
"So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think... The good outnumber you, and we always will." Patton Oswalt
1957 Pathfinder deluxe 4 door wagon1961 Pontiac Parisienne bubble top Traded for a Harley sorry guys.
2003 Grand Prix GTP
2009 Pontiac Montana SV6
(information from Lanny Knutson's articles in the Plymouth Bulletin. Thanks to Antonio Pontes Santos for many illustrations.).
Though the Fargo brand was used worldwide, it started outside of Chrysler with the Fargo Motor Car Company of Chicago, which sold a line of Fargo trucks from 1913 to 1922.
For the 1928 model year, with Plymouth and DeSoto doing well, Chrysler created the Fargo Motor Corporation to build and sell commercial trucks.
The Fargo name had the obvious appeal of Old West adventure and reliable transportation. The name also held a likely attraction to J.N. Fields, Chrysler Sales V.P. and President of DeSoto. Walter Chrysler called him a "good-looking fellow and a great salesman" who never learned to take no for an answer.
Joe Fields had started his professional life selling farm machinery in (you guessed it) Fargo, North Dakota. Perhaps the initial idea was not Fields, but once suggested, he probably stuck to it until the letters were on the grille.
Fargo began producing two full lines of commercial vehicles. The lighter vehicle, called the "Packet," was based on the Plymouth Model Q. The larger "Clipper" came on the Chrysler 65 chassis. Both used a mixture of Plymouth, DeSoto, and Chrysler parts.
In 1930, the Plymouth four cylinder engine of the Packet was replaced by the DeSoto six, and a one-tone "Freighter" line was also introduced. They used parts from a variety of Chrysler Corporation vehicles, such as a Plymouth four cylinder engine and, later, a DeSoto six. Eventually, Fargo had a wide range of vehicles, including dump trucks.
Despite an impressive array of models, from light express and delivery vehicles to heavy dump trucks and semi tractors, Fargo seemed doomed from the start. Almost after Chrysler decided to create the Fargo Motor Corporation, Chrysler's on-again-off-again deal to buy the Dodge Brothers Company was very much "on." With the purchase of Dodge, Chrysler not only grew several times its size, but it now had three truck lines: Fargo, Dodge Brothers (light trucks), and Graham Brothers Trucks, medium and heavy duty lines exclusively built and marketed by Dodge Brothers since 1921.
Chrysler found it quite easy to drop the Graham Brothers marque. The actual Graham brothers had resigned their positions in the Dodge company before it was sold, and were preparing to build their own cars; selling vehicles with a competitor's name was not appealing.
The "Dodge Brothers" name, on the other hand, was both recognizable and respected. The Graham Brothers trucks were rebadged to Dodge Brothers, and offered alongside the new Fargos. Dodge, with its greater name recognition, far outdistanced Fargo in sales.
Chrysler might have been able to continue with the two truck lines had it not been for the Great Depression, which made it difficult to justify the low-selling Fargo line.
U.S. production of Fargos ceased at the end of 1930 after reaching just 7,680 vehicles since the 1928 introduction; Fargo Motor Corporation had been in business for only two years. In most companies, that would have been the end, but Chrysler is not most companies.
Instead of selling Dodge trucks with their own name abroad, Chrysler used the Fargo name for export trucks, so that, in Canada or Turkey or India (or many other countries), you could buy a Dodge, but it would be called a Fargo.
U.S. factories made Fargo trucks for export most countries (though all Fargos sold in Canada were made in Canada). From 1933 to 1935, 3,500 1.5-ton Fargo trucks were made in Detroit for export.
Export Fargo trucks with special serial numbers, available in 1.5 ton form only, started in 1933.
Fargo and DeSoto trucks continued to be produced in many parts of the world (including in Turkey), at least through 1978. The Fargo "E" VIN code disappeared in 1987 to make way for the new Eagle brand; but Fargo and DeSoto trucks are still made, in Turkey, with no apparent relationship to Chrysler or Dodge trucks.
In Canada, there was a special situation. With a population one-tenth the size of the United States, the Canadian corporation was structured with two divisions - "Chrysler-Plymouth" and "Dodge-DeSoto." This left the Chrysler-Plymouth dealers with no trucks to sell; with great distances between dealers, the potential truck market was partly untapped. Having Chrysler-Plymouth dealers sell trucks theoretically doubled the potential market.
Once the decision was made in Windsor to market a new line of trucks, the question of a name must have arisen. It might have been called "Plymouth," since the American division was about to launch a line of Plymouth light trucks. However, the Canadian Plymouth dealers were to sell medium and heavy-duty trucks as well, and the Plymouth name did not seem to lend itself to appearing on a big truck.
The new truck could also have been sold as a Dodge, with Chrysler-Plymouth dealers selling (as they do now) trucks, but not cars, of that name. However, the need for distinct divisional identity seemed greater in those days.
There probably wasn't much question as to what the name would be. Although Canadian equivalent names such as McLeod, MacKenzie, or even Fraser might have been more appropriate, the American "Fargo" had probably already been decided upon in Detroit. A Fargo Division still existed, with dies for Fargo nameplates and trim, already on hand. Also, by this time, Joe Fields was vice-president of Chrysler.
Thus, Fargo never replaced Dodge trucks in Canada. Dodge trucks have been around since Dodge first started building them. From 1936-1972, Chrysler in Canada had two parallel truck lines, Dodge, sold by Dodge-DeSoto dealers, and Fargo, sold by Chrysler-Plymouth dealers.
Bill Watson: "When the Canadian Fargo was introduced for 1936, it was available in .5, 1, 1.5, 2 and 3 ton sizes. The U.S.-built export Fargo line up also expanded, although the 3-ton size was not introduced until 1937. By 1939 a 4-ton model was added in Canada, but it was built in the U.S. This became the norm - trucks larger than 3 ton were imported from Detroit for both Dodge and Fargo in Canada. The T-137 Power Wagon was also never built in Canada, with both Dodge and Fargo models imported from Detroit."
By mid-1936, Canadian Chrysler-Plymouth dealers began selling Fargo trucks - 864 units in that year. This Fargo was basically a Dodge truck with Plymouth passenger-car front sheet metal to give it divisional identity. Thus, while the Dodge's headlights were mounted to the grill shell, the Fargo's were mounted to the fender "catwalks." The grille was the same as the Plymouth's, with the exception of a different style center section. Topping it off was a radiator mascot similar to DeSoto's current flying lady.
The 1937 Fargo, on the other hand, was all-Dodge in sheet metal, front to back. Even the grilles were the same. But Fargo, in an apparent desire for distinctiveness, really went on a chrome-trim binge. This year a globe was adopted as the Fargo symbol. It appears to have been the Fargo emblem at the beginning in 1928. If so, its selection was prophetic, since Fargo eventually became the Chrysler export division.
The globe appeared on the dash; atop each headlight with a chrome sweep streaming back from it and on the new hubcaps; so real that a person might have been tempted to take it to school for geography class. Even the Falkland Islands appeared on it! However, it did not spin.
The big 1 1/2 - 3 ton Fargo trucks had a different style of hood louvers than did their Dodge counterparts. And Fargo had something Dodge would never have: big truck hubcaps! These three-inch units appeared as part of the dust cover cap on every medium-heavy Fargo front wheel through 1947.
In advertising its new Fargo, Chrysler Canada took no chances with the public guessing whose truck it was and where it was made. For a good twenty years, every ad contained some variation of the byline, "Built by Chrysler ... in Canada." By then, this most American of names seemed quite Canadian.
In 1937, Fargo production climbed to some 1824 units and then dropped to 1327 in 1938. As with Dodge and Plymouth trucks, Fargos had virtually no change in appearance during these years.
An entirely new truck design appeared on the scene for 1939. Although the wheelbase remained at 116 inches, the truck was longer with the cab moved forward to provide more load space in the rear. The overall appearance was more truck-like, even though the grille had the same basic lines as the 1939 Plymouth passenger cars. It was the grille that gave Fargo its second and final sheet metal variation from Dodge.
Because a Plymouth pickup was being produced in the states at the time, the total production volume of Plymouth-marketed trucks on both sides of the border made the variation viable. The Fargo-Plymouth grille was a three-piece affair with a large V-shaped center section coming down from the hood to a point behind the bumper. On either side, smaller triangular sections of louvers filled in the space between the fenders. The Dodge grille, on the other hand, was of two pieces, a large single section filling the space between the fenders, topped by a second, pointed section that brought the hood sides and top together. The difference was slight, but once noticed, a Fargo could be distinguished from a Dodge at some distance. All in all, the unique grille seemed to give the Fargo a more refined appearance, while the Dodge grille gave more an image of brute strength.
Although this style continued almost unchanged through 1947, its cab was to live on much longer. The cab became that of the famous Power Wagon. The last of this civilian, military-style vehicle (not to be confused with the real military 4x4) came off the assembly line, complete with a flathead six, in 1967. Many are still faithfully serving in the Canadian North.
By the time Canada entered World War II in 1939, a good many Fargo and Dodge trucks were being slated for military duty. Although Canadian passenger car production ceased along with American civilian auto production in 1942, trucks continued to be produced throughout the War. During this time, over 6,000 civilian-style Fargo vehicles were produced, likely for military use throughout the world.
With the cessation of hostilities, the production of civilian trucks took off with the rest of the industry. In the final two of the six year run of FL models (1942 - 1947), over 22,000 Fargos were produced, almost four times that of the first four years combined. Fargo was now going it alone with no Plymouth light truck companion south of the border. The marketing of any type of truck under the Plymouth name would not resume until 1974.
The first new post-war design from Chrysler came on its trucks in 1948. Fargo received the change along with Dodge. This time the only difference between the two were on the hubcabs, nameplates, hood mascot and, for the first time, the tailgate was stamped with the "Fargo" name. The headlights were now mounted within the fenders, which in turn flowed back to become flush with the doors. This latter feature neither competitor from Ford and GM would have until 1957 and 1955 respectively. In contrast to these modern fenders was a hood that still opened the old-fashioned clamshell way from the sides. This kind of hood was extremely handy when it came to taking a quick check of the oil, but was a major nuisance if it had to be removed for major engine work. Many a center piece of such hoods would bear creases caused by this two-person job being attempted by one.
Parked next to a competitor's truck of the same year, the Fargo-Dodge appears to have a very high greenhouse. It seems the K.T. Keller "sit-bolt-upright-behind-the-wheel-with-your-hat-on" school of design was very much at work here. This time the model must have been a six-foot cowboy wearing a ten-gallon hat!
The Canadian Fargo and Dodge did not, and never would, have the new curved quarter windows that graced the back of the cab on American Dodges. Behind the cab was a new box that was a full 20 inches deep - something the major competitors would not have until 1953 and 1955. This box was made of stampings that may well be the longest-lived of the industry. With a couple of minor variations, the same box is available today on 1984 Dodge Utiline pickups - 37 years later! (Also available for the next five years was a low-line box. This was nothing other than a re-issued 1939-47 box. Not many were chosen over the new deep box.) Greatly accentuating the height of the new box were low, simple cycle-type rear fenders. In contrast to the modern front fenders, they seemed to hearken back to the Twenties. Yet they did not seem out of place. They were matched by similarly shaped flares over the front wheel cutouts. With the height of the box complimented by the height of the cab, the whole truck appeared very balanced in perspective. Though not flashy, it was a good-looking truck.
Fluid Drive came to the world of Chrysler trucks in 1950. Advertising touted the ease of driving, safety, and longer drivetrain life as the advantages of Fluid Drive. Although not rare, Fluid Drive was seen on far fewer trucks than was the standard manual transmission. The three-speed manual has come with column shift since 1948.
The first facelift of this design came in 1951. Most prominent of the changes was a new grille panel. For the first time, the grille was more than just "cooling louvres." A rectangular opening was crossed by twin bars joined by a large chrome center-piece. Since this item carried the familiar Dodge advertising slogan ("Job-Rated"), it wouldn't do for Fargo to use it. They didn't. Instead the Fargo globe appeared in its place. The long-running theme of a grille being no more than holes punched into the front sheetmetal was still given a slight nod, however. The grille bars were available only in the body color. The chrome, no contrasting paint - just a pinstripe running along the lower edge of each bar. Together with the new grille came a slight modification of the hood. Just as all the corporate cars got a slant back hood this year, so there was a barely - perceptible slant to the truck's hood, as well, enhanced by a ridge running along the bottom edge. The one additional change noticeable from the front was with the windshield wipers. The pivot point was moved outwards so that the wipers now would rest flat along the bottom of the glass. Inside, recognition was given to the gain in popularity of the radio - even for trucks. In a symmetrical nacelle, identical to the one housing the speedometer, was a radio speaker screen. However, not many trucks left the factory with the speaker behind that screen, nor the radio that went with it. This radio was identical to the one housed in the dash of the current Plymouth.
On the final year before a major facelift, one significant change came in the form of new back fenders. Gone were the old cycle-style fenders, replaced by the full-skirted design as used by the competition. Second to the box itself, these fenders have the longest lifespan of Chrysler sheetmetal. They are still in production 31 years later.
Those fenders heralded a major change to the 1948 design which came in 1954. No body panel from the cab forward was left untouched. Everything was done to make the cab lower, wider and roomier inside. All the gentle curves were straightened out and squared off. There was a new one-piece, slightly curved windshield. (The rear quarter windows were still not available in Canada.) The grille opening now had a slight trapezoidal shape. Inside this opening, two grille bars floated - still available in body color only, except for center chrome trim pieces. The globe hood mascot was gone, replaced by a round globe medallion mounted on the non-moving center section of the hood, which still opened from the sides. Where a "Job-Rated" script appeared on the fender sides of the Dodge, Fargo's simply said "Fargo". The new wider front sheetmetal was there for a purpose. Under the hood was room enough for a hemi V8. But that engine was only for the big trucks. Until 1957, the flathead six remained the only engine available in Canadian Fargos and Dodges under 1 1/2 tones. However, that engine was increased in size to 228 cubic inches in 1954 and then again to 251 in 1955. Inside was a new dash still displaying symmetry. The oval instrument panel was matched by a similar panel opposite the center glove compartment. If the driver thought there was something familiar in that dash, he - or she - was right. The speedometer was the same as that used in the 1949-1950 Plymouth.
Although totally changed, the new truck looked little different from the previous year. In fact, Dodge chronicler Thomas A. McPherson concluded that there wasn't any change at all.
A wrap-around windshield with dogleg "A" posts - then all the rage - came to this one-year old redesign in 1955. The corporate "Forward Look" symbol replaced the "Fargo" script on the fender sides in 1956. More importantly that year, 12-volt electrics and tubeless tires became standard, and power brakes and pushbutton "Loadflite" automatic transmissions were introduced as options.
Bill Watson: The first Canadian Fargo-built truck with a V8 (also the first Canadian-built Dodge Truck with a V8) was the 3-1/2 ton model in 1955. For 1956, 2-ton V8 Dodge and Fargo trucks were added, with a full line available for 1957. It should be pointed out that the 303 V8 for 1957 was the same engine as used in the 1957 Plymouth and Dodge, and was used in the Canadian-built 1956 Dodge Custom Royal and Chrysler Windsor. The Canadian Custom Royal (2-bbl carb) and Windsor (4-bbl) were in production before the 1956 U.S. Plymouth Fury. Also, the first V8 in a Fargo truck rolled out of Detrot in 1954, for the export market. Whatever Dodge built, Fargo did too. The Canadian Fargo followed the Canadian Dodge while the U.S.-built export Fargo followed the U.S.-built Dodge.
Bill Watson: The first Canadian Fargo-built truck with a V8 (also the first Canadian-built Dodge Truck with a V8) was the 3-1/2 ton model in 1955. For 1956, 2-ton V8 Dodge and Fargo trucks were added, with a full line available for 1957.
It should be pointed out that the 303 V8 for 1957 was the same engine as used in the 1957 Plymouth and Dodge, and was used in the Canadian-built 1956 Dodge Custom Royal and Chrysler Windsor. The Canadian Custom Royal (2-bbl carb) and Windsor (4-bbl) were in production before the 1956 U.S. Plymouth Fury.
Also, the first V8 in a Fargo truck rolled out of Detrot in 1954, for the export market. Whatever Dodge built, Fargo did too. The Canadian Fargo followed the Canadian Dodge while the U.S.-built export Fargo followed the U.S.-built Dodge.
Finally, in 1957, Canadians could order a light-duty Fargo with V8 power. The original 1956 Fury motor - a 303 now detuned with a 2 bbl. carburetor - was the standard V8. Optional for the one-ton truck was the 315 - formerly the 1956 American Dodge Super Red Ram engine. Externally there was a new grille panel with hooded headlights somewhat similar to those on the 1955-56 Plymouth. The grille opening was low between parking lights with a single narrow chrome horizontal strip bisected at the center by another single vertical strip. Between the headlights was an upper unadorned opening. Above this was a new "alligator hood" (the Canadian ads actually used this rather antiquated term). In one fell swoop, the competition was done one better. The hood could be opened in a regular fashion for routine maintenance, or to a full 90 degree angle that would even allow the engine to be pulled without removing the hood. To counter Dodge's long-familiar "Job-Rated" advertising slogan, Fargo introduced one of its own: "The Power Masters" - a term that had been used by DeSoto for its now defunct six.
The "Kalifornia Kustom Kar Kraze" was going full bore among certain elements in 1958. It seemed to have struck the Chrysler truck people that year as well, and not with bad results.
The sure-fire way for any manufacturer to update its 1958 offerings was to mount quad headlights. This Fargo-Dodge did, though the regular dual headlamps were standard. The oval headlamp housings were partially exposed by C-shaped cutouts on the sides of the grille cavity. Floating between the headlights were the standard "Kustom" fare - tubular grille bars. A fourth bar had its own cavity below. On the sides of the reshaped hood were louvres, and also in true "kustom" fashion, sharply creased fender sculpting swept down onto the doors. The rest of the cab was the basic 1948 design as revised in 1954.
This was the final change to that design. It would now remain the same, with grille and trim changes, through 1960. On certain models, though, it would live much longer.
The panel truck would continue unchanged until 1964 when it would be replaced by the new compact van. Ironically, the cab-over offering for 1958-1959 was a re-issued 1957 model. Yet, in 1960, the 1958 cab was taken and given new swing-away fenders that were not too pretty, but very practical. This basic C-O-E offering remained unchanged, except for headlights, until Chrysler pulled out of the heavy truck business in 1975.
Bill Watson: "The large trucks with their swing-away front fenders and lift straight up hoods were all imported from Detroit, be they Dodge or Fargo. By this time Fargo model numbers were the same as Dodge, only with an "F" in front, and the serial number prefixes were the same."
Canadian trucks finally got full-width rear windows as options in 1958. (Clare Snyder wrote that this happened in 1957: I owned a rare Winsdor built 1957 Fargo Custom Express with wide back window, sidemount spare, short narrow box (3 1/2 inches narrower than standard) and the 246.5 inch flathead six. My father was the third registered owner, and I was the fifth.)
Front and center on Fargo ads for 1958 was the new stylish Sweptline pickup that was introduced mid-year in 1957. It had the standard long-wheelbase box that was introduced in 1948, but with the current Dodge two-door station wagon quarter panels acting as rear fenders. It seems that Canada was not yet ready for a stylish sport truck. Though prominent in the ads, the Fargo Sweptline was not very prominent on the road. Few were seen. Those few are rare collectors items today.
Besides the minor grille change, 1959 offered a new sweptline box. Although it was not as pretty as the 1957-1958 Sweptlines, it was infinitely more practical, with interior wheelwells and walls that extended to the full width of the cab. This type of box would become the mainstay of the light truck industry for years to come, far outselling the old style narrow box with exterior fenders. The latter - now called the "Utiline" on Dodges and Fargos - would never have sufficient volume to justify new tooling for any future change. Hence, its unprecedented longevity.
For the first time, 1959 Fargo ads referred to these trucks as "pickups." Previously they had been called "express bodies" - a term the industry had first used when this body style gained popularity in the Twenties and Thirties. In popular usage, Canadians never caught on to calling them "pickups" - which some consider to be an American term. Canadians are still more likely than not to call them "half-tons" (even if they are rated as 3/4 or 1-ton), or "halfton trucks", or simply as "trucks".
The first complete Virgil Exner designed truck came on the scene in 1961. From the front it was incredibly ugly, but various facelifts over its eleven year lifespan gradually made it into a fairly attractive truck.
Bill Watson: With the implementation of the U.S-Canada auto agreement during 1965, truck production was rationalized as was car production. Thus the Windsor plant built pickup trucks through the early 1970s, adding the van/wagon models with the opening of the Pillette Avenue facility. All other models were imported, and carried Dodge or Fargo names as needed. The Canadian car/truck divisions disappeared in 1959. Although the Dodge and DeSoto brochures showed "Dodge-DeSoto Division", and Plymouth, Chrysler and Fargo showed "Plymouth-Chrysler-Fargo Division", in reality they were gone in 1959 after the disasterous sales results of 1958. Note that in Canada it was PLYMOUTH-CHRYSLER, not Chrysler-Plymouth. The 1960 Valiant brochure only had Chrysler Corporation of Canada Limited, something that all brochures had from 1961 when the DeSoto and Dodge Polara were replaced by the Chrysler at Dodge-Valiant dealers. Thus the dealer bodies were Plymouth-Chrysler-Valiant-Fargo Truck and Dodge-Chrysler-Valiant-Dodge Truck. Thus the Canadian Dodge Division did not start selling Dodge trucks at Plymouth-Chrysler dealers. It was Chrysler Canada replacing the Fargo Truck with the Dodge Truck at Plymouth-Chrysler dealers. Chrysler Corporation advertising was fairly unified from 1961. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Plymouth and Dodge brochures were very similar, with Plymouth using blue for highlights and Dodge using red.
Bill Watson: With the implementation of the U.S-Canada auto agreement during 1965, truck production was rationalized as was car production. Thus the Windsor plant built pickup trucks through the early 1970s, adding the van/wagon models with the opening of the Pillette Avenue facility. All other models were imported, and carried Dodge or Fargo names as needed.
The Canadian car/truck divisions disappeared in 1959. Although the Dodge and DeSoto brochures showed "Dodge-DeSoto Division", and Plymouth, Chrysler and Fargo showed "Plymouth-Chrysler-Fargo Division", in reality they were gone in 1959 after the disasterous sales results of 1958. Note that in Canada it was PLYMOUTH-CHRYSLER, not Chrysler-Plymouth. The 1960 Valiant brochure only had Chrysler Corporation of Canada Limited, something that all brochures had from 1961 when the DeSoto and Dodge Polara were replaced by the Chrysler at Dodge-Valiant dealers. Thus the dealer bodies were Plymouth-Chrysler-Valiant-Fargo Truck and Dodge-Chrysler-Valiant-Dodge Truck.
Thus the Canadian Dodge Division did not start selling Dodge trucks at Plymouth-Chrysler dealers. It was Chrysler Canada replacing the Fargo Truck with the Dodge Truck at Plymouth-Chrysler dealers. Chrysler Corporation advertising was fairly unified from 1961. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Plymouth and Dodge brochures were very similar, with Plymouth using blue for highlights and Dodge using red.
Not until the 1960s did Chrysler start to market Dodge and Fargo trucks together in Canada, and by this time the model names were the same; most cosmetic differences had been dropped. The two shared the same magazine ads which referred to them as "Dodge-Fargo" trucks. Still, through the late 1960s and early 1970s, Fargo trucks were easy to identify from huge rear lettering and large FARGO hood letters; the fender callouts were large, with blue model designations (Dodge used red). From 1969-1971, the Fargo horn buttons had a circle embossed in the center (perhaps to signify the traditional Fargo globe) while hubcaps had a plain center; the Fargo name appeared in chrome on the glove box door. (Thanks, Fred Rauscher, for pointing out the differences between 1969-71 Fargo and Dodge trucks).
By the mid-1970s, the Dodge and Fargo trucks themselves had no differences except for the nameplates. After 1971, even the hubcaps and horn buttons with the new Dodge Tri-Star emblem were used by Fargo! Every model that was offered by Dodge was offered by Fargo with the same model names or numerical designations, including the new compact van seriers. One minor difference appeared on the flat-nosed Transline pickup that was derived from the compact van. Fargo volume was not considered to be enough to create dies to stamp its name onto the Transline's tailgate. A decal would have to do, with "Fargo" printed out in the same new graphic letter style that was now becoming famous on the sides of Plymouth and Dodge racing cars.
Fargo got the new B-van, that as a Dodge and later a Plymouth (in the States only) would become immensely popular during the Seventies.
Fargo, too, had its brief moment of racing glory, though without the knowledge, let alone the cooperation of the factory. Billy Kydd, of Ontario, campaigned a "Fargo" A-Altered drag racing car during the late sixties. Never mind that the 426 Hemi engine was never offered in a Fargo truck. Never mind that its roadster body style predated the first Canadian Fargo by a good ten years. Never mind that this body looked suspiciously "Fordish". It said "Will's Fargo" on the side and it gained considerable success on both sides of the border. Most Americans thought the name to be only a cute play on words referring to an old stagecoach line. Canadians knew what it really meant.
As its swan song, Fargo offered a totally new pickup in 1972. The result of a then-record $50 million in development, this truck was totally new - except for the drivetrain - with independent front suspension and sporty styling. However, the writing was on the tailgate. While Dodge's name was stamped in the sheetmetal, Fargo's was only stuck on as a decal. And the optional full wheelcovers blatantly said "Dodge Division." (Melvin Willis noted that cast F A R G O letters appear on the leading edge of the hood instead of the Dodge letters, and that Fargo also appears on the dash below the radio, at least on his 1972 Fargo Power Wagon.)
This third of Chrysler's new truck designs since WWII will be the longest running, but for Fargo it lasted but one year. By the end of 1972, Chrysler Canada decided to discontinue the Fargo line.
It was part of the process of "rationalization." Dodge dealers had been given Chrysler cars to sell. It now seemed okay for Chrysler-Plymouth dealers to sell Dodge trucks. Corporate "beancounters" probably gleefully counted up the extra "beans" they would save by not having to produce those special "Fargo" nameplates. So, down came the white-on-blue "Fargo Trucks" signs from the dealerships, and up with the white-on-red "Dodge Trucks" ones. They clashed a bit with the blue and white Chrysler and Plymouth signs, but they got the message across.
It was all part of the process of "rationalization," they said. After all, a Fargo was never anything but a Dodge with a different name. Yet there was something that was different - a uniqueness that was Plymouth's, and Canada's, that is now gone . . . and missed.
Bill Watson: When Chrysler took over AMC in 1987, Canadian AMC dealers became Jeep-Eagle dealers, as in the U.S. But in the next couple of years, the Jeep-Eagle dealers became Plymouth or Dodge dealers, and many Plymouth and Dodge dealers took on Jeep. By the time Eagle was dropped, all Canadian Eagle dealers had been switched to Plymouth-Chrysler or Dodge-Chrysler. And when Plymouth was finally laid to rest, along with the Dodge car, all dealers became Chrysler-Dodge Truck-Jeep. And now it is Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep as the Neon has become the Dodge SX 2.0 for 2003, an admission that Canadians do not view the Chrysler as a cheap car.
"[Fargo] was a good name," said Walter McCall of Chrysler Canada's public relations department, years ago, "still readily recognizable and highly respected...but there are no plans to use it again."
My karma ran over my dogma!
1969 Pontiac Parisienne Convertible1969 Pontiac Grande Parisienne Hardtop1961 GMC C930 1-Ton1985 Chevy Blazer (plow truck)
cheetah 427 wrote:anyone know what fargo stands for??? :)
anyone know what fargo stands for??? :)
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