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1956 Fargo Truck

1956_fargo_truck In the course of looking up something else, I came upon a reference to "Fargo" trucks built by Chrysler. I had never heard of such a thing before, so I followed the hyperlinks to this article at, which tells the story.

The Fargo brand name originated in 1928, and was used on commercial vehicles sold through Chrysler-Plymouth dealers. After Chrysler acquired Dodge, all of its U.S. trucks were branded as Dodges or Plymouths, and the Fargo name was used only on trucks sold through Plymouth dealers in Canada, and in certain other export markets.

On some 1930s Canadian models, Chrysler took a Dodge truck and gave it Plymouth front body panels to make it into a Fargo. However, most Fargos were just Dodges with a few Canada-specific details. As time went on, economic efficiency concerns forced Fargo trucks to become increasingly de-contented, until they were almost indistinguishable from their American cousins. Chrysler finally "rationalized" the Fargo brand name clean out of existence in 1972.

The delightful 1956 Fargo pictured here (in a photo from Wikipedia) is basically a '56 Dodge with Fargo badging and trim and a Canada-only hood that opened from the side. Another example of the distinctive Fargo hood can be seen here. As far as I know, these were the only vehicles being made in North America in the 1950s with a hood that worked this way.

When the Fargos finally got modern "alligator" hoods for the 1957 model year, Chrysler's Canadian ad agency waxed ecstatic over this great engineering advancement. That advancement came at a price. The side-opening hood may have been impractical and anachronistic, but it's unique and it looks cool. Isn't that what really matters?

I'm not a truck person, but for some reason I find the idea of exploring the Great White North in a Fargo with side-opening hood panels very appealing.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner, eh?


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Great truck!! In terms of the hood, I wasn't clear if you were saying the side opening hood was unique to Fargo versus Dodge or simply unique to Dodge/Fargo period. Dodge pickups up to 1956 retained the side opening hood - I owned a 1953 5-window cab in the late '70s (I searched for two years to find it and, man, I wish I had it now - that flat head six was so quiet when idling). As far I can think, these were probably the last side opening hoods - maybe the only ones in the '50s. To work on my '53 we actually just took the front fender off for total access!!

TurboDave: I'd gotten the impression that side opening hoods were unique to Fargo. Thanks for setting me straight.

I still think they're cool. :-)

Thanks such blogs are keeping updates with heritage things among which cars have always fascinated anyone more.

Nice truck. Amazing that there would have been a time when an alligator hood would have been a technological revolution. Today if you put a side opening hood on a car it would be a cool selling point. I guess at the time it was a reference to old times.

In keeping with the "Angry Cars" series, I note that this one appears happy. In fact, it looks like an Aardman Animation design.

That hood is not just a Canadian item. My dad bought a 1956 Dodge brand new for our Kansas farm. I learned to drive the 3 on the tree.

When I got old enough to get a license and drive it to high school 63-66 I had it painted a metal flake blue and put custom wheels on it. It was cool before pickups became cool.

And the hood was just like that one...opened from the side. It had what they called a Semi-Hemi V8 in it. It was a poly -"something or other" head, but we called it a semihemi. It was a partial hemispherical combustion chamber.

I owned a '71 Fargo half ton in the early 90s when I was with the Canadian air force in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. It wasn't retro, I just couldn't afford anything else. Somehow, the "Armstrong" steering, leaf springs, and drum brakes on the FRONT AXLE didn't detract at all from the experience!

There was also a "Fargo" 3/4 ton truck developed as a tank destroyer in the early days of WWII mounting a 37mm antitank gun. The truck was the first attempt to put the tank destroyer motto "Seek, Strike and Destroy" into practice.

Alas, German tanks were improving after exposure to the heavy Soviet tanks, and the 37mm was thought to be insufficiently effective. To replace it a 75mm gun was mounted on a half track chassis, and managed to get a 1:1 kill ratio against Rommel's Tanks in Africa.

That brought back old memories. I spent a summer with relatives in Cuba in 1954. My uncle was in the car business in Havana. I recall seeing Fargo trucks on his lot, and I was told that two competing distributors sold Dodge trucks, and that one of them had to have his product re-branded as "Fargo" to avoid conflict.

The Dodge Power Wagon (WDX/WM300) which was also rebadged as a Fargo Power Wagon was produced with the center hinge from in inception in 1946 till the end of production in 68.

In fact it is hard to discern a 46 from a 68 unless you are a Power Wagon afficionado as the body only underwent minor changes for its entire 22 year run. The 46 started out with a 230 flathead which would be replaced by a larger 251 flathead that was still in use at the end of production in 68. After 68 the Power Wagon was still exported until 71 but was powered by a slant-six.

A goodly number of the Faro Power Wagons were also equipped with a "swivel frame" that would allow the front and rear axles to articulate independently of the other, quite a site to see in action as it looks like the truck is broken in half.

Clarification - The first year for the "alligator" ( rear hinged, one piece ) hood for Dodge / Fargo trucks was 1957. Source : " Standard Cataloge of American Light Duty Trucks (Second Edition)" - Krause Publications. And no, I have no life.

Have just located a 1937? Fargo Truck hidden under a tree in a paddock in the North Island of New Zealand. Serial No 850-3425 / Model FE-4-59 / Engine no. T41-4769 / also other plate that says K-9-O-LR 332? and another truck 1932? with Engine #C T 6-6058 / B-5-O-LR 390?. Just wondering if anyone can give us any information on the history of these trucks or where we might find some information as there does not appear to be any here in New Zealand. I have photos which I can provide if that helps anyone to help us. Thanks

For your information, I purchased the red 1956 Fargo that is identified on the top of this article. At the beginning of September, 2008, I traded my 1939 Plymouth sedan for the truck. It is now located in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada. I didn't think the truck would get much attention compared to my 39 Plymouth, but it does. For a truck that was sold in Canada they seem to be quite rare. I was lucky enough to get many spare original parts when I purchased the truck.

I just recently bought a 56 fargo cab on a s-10 frame to replace the one my grandfather bought my dad. Sadly he was forced to get rid of it against my and his wishes, i was five now 29 I am trying to give it back to him would appreciate any help finding parts to complete the build - need frame, box and rear fenders, front fenders, nose, grill, handles, factory badging, door, etc. Any help at all i would be extremely greatfull thanx ! love the fargo's Moose out !

I would like to help you get your parts. do you still have the original ones?? or do you have other parts installed instead of the originals.

I have an identical 1956 Fargo except that my wheels are painted white. Nice truck.

Does anyone know if these trucks could be purchased with a factory rear bumper? If yes, does anyone know where I could find a picture so I can make my truck look orginal.

I owned one here in Vancouver almost identical except for the rear window which I remember as curved around the sides...maybe my memory is faulty. Red with green trim...flat head six...three on the tree. I replaced the differential in '75, drove another year and then parked it at my parents and it disappeared when they moved.

Had a AL110 Inter flat deck years ago it had a side opening bonnet either side or lift right off great idea same on vauxhall cars for 51-53 I guess some one had safty issues with it as its never been offered since the mid 50s

I am just finishing a restoration on a 1956 fargo, frame up. Its gonna be all original except for the paint because the original was flat grey and if theres one thing i hate its grey cars. It is interesting that Gary Baker purchased his fargo in Gatineau, because that is also where i got mine. Cant wait to finish it

I believe that to be a 54 or 55 as 56's had wrap around rear windows

Its a 56, because the front windshield post is straight and not inclined. The wraparound rear windows were only on 56 dodges and appeared on the fargos in 57.

Im having trouble finding how the clutch pedal, shifter, brake, and gas levers are assembled on my 56 fargo. I have all the parts but theyr all mixed up in a crate. I some of them go on top of the tranny, and on mounts on each side of the frame. If someone knows a site where i could get some sort of diagram id appreciate it. Thanks

I got a 1956 Dodge Fargo truck I'm restoring from the frame up. Anyone out there with the Fargo imprinted tailgate? Also could use the front grill. if anyone has a site where I can buy original rubbers and felt...please share

je me cherche une porte coter gauche dodge fargo 1956

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