Monte Howerton was a practical young guy when he bought a 1948 Fargo pickup truck 70 years ago.
Monte worked in western Canada’s oil patch and he needed the Fargo for transportation and hauling purposes during his frequent moves from worksite to worksite.
Eventually he met a young woman named Lorraine who became his wife and the two of them traveled the road of life together in the Fargo. The truck even hauled a house trailer during the early years of their marriage and the trailer became their living quarters.
Eventually Monte and Lorraine moved to a farm and raised four boys-all of whom eventually learned how to drive behind the steering wheel of the Fargo. The truck served the Howerton family in a variety of roles over the years and built some powerful family memories for them along the way.
Monte and Lorraine’s son Mark was definitely influenced by the Fargo and decided to rebuild it back to the day it left the factory in 1948. Mark’s initial goal was to rebuild the Fargo in time for his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, but the restoration process took longer than anticipated and was completed for their 55th anniversary.
Monte had encountered health issues later in life and Mark wanted to ensure his father was able to enjoy his long history with the Fargo because the truck was such a big part of his life. Monte dated Lorraine in the early years with the truck and the two of them raised a family together later in their lives with the Fargo.
Mark wanted to complete the project so his father could see how the truck looked in 1948 when it became such a big part of Monte’s life. Time was not on Mark’s side because Monte’s illness included dementia and Mark wanted to witness his father’s reaction to the completed project.
Therefore, the Fargo’s restoration was very important to everyone in the family but it was a tall order for Mark because the Canadian pickup trucks were not built in large numbers. Fortunately he was able to obtain some parts from the Dodge pickup models because the trucks shared a common platform.
The Fargo truck retains its original engine and manual transmission coupled with a revamped rear end that now houses highway gears that deliver lower RPMs and higher MPH on the road. In fact Mark says the truck is now comfortable at 75 mph (120-130 km/h) on the highway.
The cosmetic details on the truck include a new rear bumper and a factory color paint job that stayed with Mark’s game plan to make the Fargo project a stock restoration. Mark was able to secure NOS (New Old Stock) parts for the Fargo and added that he did a complete rebuild on the truck with no stone left unturned along the way.
In Mark’s words; “Everything has been rebuilt with mostly NOS”.
The result is a spectacular restoration that was embraced by the entire family. In fact, Monte was even able to drive his beloved truck in 2015, while Lorraine drove it last year in 2017.
MyStarCollectorCar loves a happy ending. A perfectly-restored 1948 Fargo with a 70 year history in one family definitely provides a happy ending.
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.