Fargo

The Fargo “over the globe” logo was reflected the fact the vehicle was built as an export model to be sent all over the globe.
 
The most common theory about where Fargo got it’s name is attributed to Mr. Joseph Fields who was President of DeSoto and Vice president of Chrysler’s Sales Division at the time. Fields had started his career in the automotive industry selling farm machinery in Fargo, North Dakota.

The Fargo name was made famous in the United States of America just after gold was discovered in early 1848 at Sutter's Mill near Coloma, California. People from all over world flocked to California, drawn by the promise of huge profits and to seek their fame and fortune. Among them were Henry Wells from Vermont and New Yorker William G. Fargo who went on the create the Wells Fargo Empire. Many people think the name for the Fargo truck came from here. Not so, although the famous name did stir up nostalgia of old west adventure (synonomo` 5us with the town of Fargo) and reliable transportation assisting with marketing. Another theory is that the word ‘Fargo’ is a play on the words ‘Go Far’. 

The most common theory about where Fargo took its name from the second time around is attributed to Mr. Joseph Fields who was President of DeSoto and Vice president of Chrysler’s Sales Division at the time. Fields had started his career in the automotive industry selling farm machinery in Fargo, North Dakota. Although, it is unlikely the marketing advantages of using the Wells Fargo connection (of which there is actually none) would hardly have escaped his keen business acumen. Regardless, the original Fargo was little more than a commercial version of the Plymouth passenger car.

The Fargo Motor Car Company of Chicago was formed in 1913 and sold a line of Fargo trucks from up until 1922 went it closed down due to financial difficulties. Very little is known about this company and except that in 1928 the name ‘Fargo’ re-emerged as a truck range within the Chrysler organisation when, with Plymouth and DeSoto doing well, Chrysler created the Fargo Motor Corporation to build and sell commercial trucks primarily for the export market. 

The Fargo was available as a small half ton version called the ‘Packet’ which was built on the 109" Plymouth chassis and was powered by a ‘Q’ series four cylinder engine as used in the Plymouth ‘Q’. (From March of 1929 the Packet was powered by a six cylinder DeSoto engine). The second Fargo available initially was a three quarter ton version called the ‘Clipper’ built on a 112 3/4" wheelbase chassis powered by a Chrysler '65' engine. In June of 1929 a one ton version called the ‘Freighter’ was also released. It, too, was powered by a DeSoto six cylinder engine. With so many marques available within their own range Fargo tended to be made up from whatever was available from other vehicles in the Chrysler stable including Plymouth, DeSoto and even Chrysler themselves provided mechanical and sheet metal parts. The Fargo grew to a wide range of vehicles including heavy dump trucks,light express and delivery vehicles and semi tractors.
 
Unfortunately, Fargo was doomed from the start. Chrysler had been attempting to buy the Dodge Brothers Company for a while and the deal came off around the same time as Fargo was released creating the quandary of not only dealing with external competitors but internal marques within their own organisation." It now had three truck lines: Fargo, Dodge Brothers light trucks, and Graham Brothers Trucks, medium and heavy duty lines which had been exclusively built and marketed by Dodge Brothers since 1921. Chrysler dropped the Graham Brothers marquee giving his preference to the Dodge Brothers name which was both recognizable and respected. All Graham Brothers trucks were immediately rebadged as Dodge and sold alongside the Fargo range. Fargo trucks for most other countries were made in the United States. From 1933 to 1935, 3,500 1½-ton Fargo trucks were made in Detroit for export (export Fargo trucks with special serial numbers, available in 1½ ton form only, started in 1933, making them easier to track).

Following a spate of low sales figures production of Fargo trucks ceased at the end of 1930 after producing just 7,680 vehicles since their 1928 introduction. Fargo Motor Corporation had been in business for only two years. From 1938 to 1972 Fargo trucks were built and sold in Canada, and over the years that gradually dwindled until they too were virtually Dodges with Fargo nameplates. Import Duties between countries of Commonwealth were considerably less than from other countries such as the USA so subsequently many big American companies built their factories over the border in Canada enabling them to cash in on this financial advantage. 

Chrysler’s cars division had moved into Australia during the 1920's but it was 1935 before this was formalised with 18 independent distribution agents forming Chrysler-Dodge-De Soto Distributors (Australia) Pty Ltd. This group used its combined strength to purchase and market Plymouth, Dodge, Fargo and De Soto vehicles. 

T.J. Richards (TJR) of Adelaide designed and fitted bodies to locally made Chrysler vehicles. Tobias John Richards had started in business by building horse drawn wagons in 1885. His sons Clarence and Herbert joined him in 1915 and the business became TJ Richards & Sons. TJ Richards had been the main competitor for Holden's body builders since 1922 and, in the 1937-38 selling season, beat Holden to the punch by producing Australia's first all steel sedan body. The Chrysler group acquired controlling shares in the TJ Richards in 1937. During WWII the group, now called Richards Industries Ltd, manufactured aircraft componentry and munitions and didn’t return to car production until war’s end in 1945. The business remained Australian owned until 1951 when the US Chrysler Corporation bought the controlling interest and renamed it Chrysler Australia Limited. The structure of the organisation was changed with Chryslers focus was to outsell Holden by producing a range of cars and light commercial vehicles with 90 percent local content.

While this ambitious plan was being implemented, Chrysler continued assembling and partly manufacturing a range of six cylinder and eight cylinder Royal and Dodge Phoenix vehicles. Fargo and DeSoto trucks continued to be produced in many parts of the world Most Fargo trucks and bus chassis sold in Australia, India, and other countries in Europe and Asia were made in Chrysler's Kew (UK) plant. Most were sold also under the Dodge, Commer or DeSoto names.

Australian Fargos were built on a Dodge truck chassis and drivetrain (the reason the Dodge wheels fitted straight up!), with the chassis and drive-train shipped in from Canada or Kew in crates.  The grilles differed between the Kew and Canadian models but otherwise they were essentially the same. Fargos generally arrived in Australia in what was called CKD (Completely Knocked Down) condition and were re-assembled in Australia by T.J. Richards. The letters TJR will be stamped into one of the major panels of the Fargo if it was assembled by TJ Richards. The ID plate should also identify it as an Australian assembled model by having the cab listed as a TJR Cab. There was also a Government requirement that a high percentage of local content had to go into such vehicles and TJR met that requirement employing the services of a whole range of South Australian businesses. 

In 1978, when Chrysler pulled out of its partnership with Askam of Turkey leaving them with the rights to the Fargo name and brand. ). The Fargo "E" VIN code disappeared in 1987 to make way for the new Eagle brand. Askam lost the rights to sell Dodge trucks when the brand was brought back to Turkey by DaimlerChrysler, but they continue to use  the Fargo and DeSoto names although the company has no technical or corporate relationship with Chrysler. Askam vehicles today are based on Hino, LDV (a merged British Leyland and DAF), Daewoo and is currently owned by Ciftciler Group.