If you hear “Fargo” and immediately think of North Dakota or a 1996 movie of the same name, you probably aren’t Canadian. Or a fan of trucks.
For nearly four decades, Chrysler sold light-duty trucks in Canada that had a bit of an identity crisis. From 1936–72, Dodge trucks were available from Canadian Dodge-DeSoto dealers (Chrysler dropped DeSoto after 1961), while Ontario-built Fargo trucks were sold through Chrysler-Plymouth dealerships. Although early models had notable differences, later Dodge and Fargo pickup trucks were essentially the same—except, of course, for the badges and branding.
Like Ford, Chrysler’s first new post-World War II design came on its pickups, not its cars, and those 1948 models were not only attractive but durable. Style features included headlights mounted within the fenders, which flowed back and were flush with the doors, as opposed to hanging from the sides. The Dodge/Fargo trucks retained their clamshell hood—great for checking the oil, not so much when working on the engine. Power was provided by a 95-horse, 218-cubic-inch L-head inline six-cylinder engine, mated to a three-speed manual gearbox.
Unique to Fargo trucks is the half-globe logo on each fender. Instead of identical badges on both sides, they were designed to look as if a globe had been cut in half and then attached.
While a ’48 Dodge half-ton in #3 (Good) condition has an average value of $13,700, Concours-quality (#1) examples go for three times that ($41,100). Since fewer Canadian Fargos were built than Dodges, they tend to have higher values.
With that in mind, the $48,000 asking price for this meticulously restored ’48 Fargo on kikjiji.com isn’t outrageous. The seller, Mark Howerton of Edmonton, Alberta, says his father bought the truck less than a year from new, and “it is with a heavy heart” that he has decided to sell after 70 years of family ownership.
According to mystarcollectorcar.com, Monte Howerton “worked in Canada’s oil patch, and he needed the Fargo for transportation and hauling purposes during his frequent moves from worksite to worksite.” Monte and his wife, Lorrain, bought a farm and raised four sons, all of whom learned to drive behind the wheel of the Fargo. Mark Howerton decided to fully restore the truck for his parents, and after four years the job it was completed in time for the Howerton’s 55th wedding anniversary several years ago.
Thanks to the similarities between Fargo and Dodge trucks, Mark was able to acquire nearly all new-old-stock Dodge parts to finish the transformation, so the Fargo looks much like it did when his parents were dating—right down to the stock paint and refurbished engine, gauges, upholstery, and wood-planked bed. Both Monte and Lorrain Howerton were able to drive the Fargo down Memory Lane; Monte no longer drives.
Mark Howerton writes in the ad that the price that he’s asking “comes close to covering the parts,” and he emphasizes that the Fargo is the “nicest you will find.” He says he’s keeping the trophies the truck has earned, not to mention the great family memories associated with it.
No, this is no ordinary Dodge pickup, even if it looks like one from a distance.