Fargo trucks are typically associated with the Canadian pickup truck market where they were sold through Chrysler of Canada’s Plymouth dealerships from 1936 to 1972.
Fargo trucks were also sold all over the world in countries like India and Turkey, but they made most of their impact as a Mopar truck alternative to Dodge trucks in Canada.
A 1951 Fargo was at a summer show and it wore most of its 68-year history on its outer skin. These days its weathered surface has become known as patina in car guy cliché world and this Fargo has gathered plenty of patina over the many decades since it left the factory in Canada.
Allan Raybould is the owner of the ’51 Fargo and is quick to note that his father Ron played a very important role in the truck. The truck was previously purchased by Ron and he saved it from a very uncertain future.
Everything about the truck indicated the Fargo was worked hard in the farming industry and never pampered during that portion of its history.
Allan became its owner about 7 years ago and he consulted with his father about the truck since Ron was a retired mechanic with many decade of experience in the field. Allan grew up around the automotive trade because of his father and absorbed the experience from a young age.
Ron’s mechanical experience was invaluable to Allan when the two of them decided to bring the old Canuck truck back to life. The Fargo still had its original flathead six and semi-automatic fluid drive transmission.
A semi-automatic transmission provides an alternative to a clutch shift for drivers because the fluid drive allows the driver to shift gears without the clutch in most circumstances.
The start-up process for the Fargo was relatively painless for Allan and Ron. The truck had been off the road since 1986, according to its registration, so the father-and-son team were careful about the procedure.
They drained the ancient fuel, put in new gasoline, did a carb tune-up, and fired up the truck. The Fargo also had a brake job that included new linings on the old shoes, along with a drum re-surface done by Ron. The Fargo also received a new water pump to help keep the flattie a little cooler under load, along with an upgraded signal light system.
A donor truck also played an important role in their mission. Most car guys will use them because parts for a 68-year-old Canadian-built pickup truck are not easy to find.
Allan wanted a smooth-running truck that was safe on the road when he became the owner of the ’51 Fargo. He also wanted to preserve the long history of the truck on its outer surface. Mission accomplished on both counts.
He did restore the interior of the truck because he wanted to ride in comfort all year long when winter weather allows (and the streets are free of snow) in his Alberta community.
The truck also played a special role in his daughter’s wedding when Allan and his wife drove their daughter to the ceremony in the Fargo truck.
This 1951 Fargo had a long history before Allan became its owner-but now it has an even more important history within his family.
BY: Jim Sutherland
Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.