Courtesy of Barrett-Jackson
The Fargo Power Wagon is the unique name given to the Power Wagons sold in Canada. They are identical in every way to the U.S. models, except for some unique badging. This 1964 example underwent a complete frame-off restoration and is powered by a rebuilt 318-ci wide-block engine with poly heads, mated to a 4-speed manual transmission with an NP201 transfer case. It features Warn locking hubs, new 33-inch tires, manual brakes, manual steering and spray-in bed liner.    

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1964 Fargo W100 Power Wagon pickup
Years Produced:1961–71
Number Produced:504 (Dodge W100 V8s)
Original List Price:$2,499
SCM Valuation:$27,500 (this truck)
Tune Up Cost:$250
Chassis Number Location:Data plate on the driver’s door striker panel
Engine Number Location:Driver’s side front of the engine block, below the cylinder head
Club Info:American Truck Historical Society
Alternatives:1961–68 Mercury M-100 4x4 pickup, 1961–66 Ford F-100 4x4 pickup, 1958–64 Studebaker 4x4 pickups
Investment Grade:B

This truck, Lot 104.1, sold for $27,500, including buyer’s premium, at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Las Vegas, NV, on September 27, 2018. It was offered with no reserve.

The Power Wagon takes two trails

The original Dodge Power Wagon, born from the World War II VC and WC series half-ton and three-quarter-ton trucks, was the only heavy-duty factory-built one-ton four-wheel-drive truck when introduced in 1946.

It took a few years, but other manufacturers eventually starting building 4×4 pickups in-house to compete with the Power Wagon. International was the first in 1953, then GMC and Chevrolet followed (both essentially being NAPCO conversions added on the assembly line).

With the competitors’ 4×4 trucks built with the same cabs and sheet metal as the regular pickups, the Power Wagon — with a cab that was introduced in 1939 — really started to look dated. With style having as much pull as stamina in the 1950s, Chrysler elected to split the Power Wagon line two ways beginning in 1957. While they would continue to build the traditional one-ton Power Wagon (now sold as the model WM300), they also built four-wheel-drive versions of their all-new half-ton and three-quarter-ton pickups.

While the rear-wheel-drives were models D100 and D200, the W prefix was denoted for the 4x4s of each of the load ranges — W100 and W200. By the next year, Dodge added the four-wheel-drive option to the standard one-ton pickup, which became a W300. As such, Dodge had two one-ton 4x4s — a W300 and the “traditional” WM300.

The two distinct lines continued with the all-new Dodge “Dart Sweptline” pickups of 1961. The D and W series of pickups (as well as all D-series conventional trucks) had a squared, formal look, yet had a distinct upper-body-side character line — traits that their rivals in Dearborn and Detroit also had.

The older-style WM300, which was built until 1968, was actually the best seller of all Dodge’s 4×4 models. While each of the W100 through W300 models sold in the range of just over 100 to 1,000 units each year, the WM300 consistently outsold them until 1965, when W100 sales first surpassed WM300s.

Not from North Dakota…

While Dodge had the lion’s share of truck sales, Chrysler had been selling another brand of trucks since 1928: Fargo.

The brand is believed to have been named after the founder of Wells Fargo Express Company, William G. Fargo — yet Chrysler did acquire the assets of an earlier Fargo Motor Car Company, which operated from 1913 to 1922. Just as likely to suggest the name was the vice president of sales for Chrysler’s DeSoto division and soon-to-be Vice President of Chrysler Joseph N. Fields, who began his business career by selling farm equipment in Fargo, ND.

Chrysler created Fargo to sell light-duty trucks based on DeSoto mechanicals, but by the end of 1928, they bought out Dodge Brothers. Not only did they have Fargo and Dodge Brothers, but they also got the Graham Brothers name, as it was owned by Dodge Brothers. With two established brands plus a newbie in Fargo, Chrysler suddenly found themselves with too many truck models, so Fargo was retired in 1930.

The name was rejuvenated for Chrysler’s truck-export division in 1933, then, in 1935, it became Chrysler of Canada’s truck brand for dealers that had Chrysler-Plymouth franchises.

Back then, dealer franchise lines in Canada were more than lines in the sand — they were firmly structured walls. Dodge-DeSoto dealers sold only those two brands, but Chrysler Corporation also built them a badge-engineered Plymouth as a low-end Dodge. Chrysler-Plymouth dealers may have had the bottom and the top of the Chrysler lines, but they didn’t have trucks. As this was before the Plymouth pickup, Canadian dealers wanted to sell a complete line of trucks with a unique brand, hence the badge-engineered Fargo.

From 1935 until Chrysler discontinued the Canadian-market Fargo brand in 1972, Fargos were identical to their Dodge counterparts. Most Dodge models were marketed and built as Fargos — from half-ton pickups to Class 8 semi tractors.

With the relative volume of Canadian sales, it was easier for Fargo to be Chrysler’s global-export truck brand. For example, I have a 1952 Fargo Power Wagon brochure from a Fargo dealership in Honolulu, HI (seven years before U.S. statehood).

While Chrysler shut down Fargo as an overseas-export brand by 1978, the name continued to live in Turkey into the 21st century, as they sold the brand to Citroën PSA.

It’s also more than coincidence that Dodge and Fargo both also have five letters – with a “g” as the fourth character. It’s easy to change badging and lettering between the two with minimal tooling expense.

Could this be the only survivor?

Yearly model production of W100s was in the hundreds — and that was for Dodge-branded trucks. Fargos saw markedly lower production.

With only 504 V8-equipped 1964 Dodge W100s built, it wouldn’t be out of line to consider that our featured pickup may be the one of few 1964 Fargo W100s left in existence, if not the only one that’s restored.

On rarity alone, this was a smoking-hot bargain. Yet regardless of which five-letter badge is on the fenders, this W100 appears to be very well restored and quite authentic.

Vintage pickups continue to do well in the market — especially 4x4s — and in the past year or so, the Sweptline-era Dodges have been starting to feel that love. And it isn’t because the 1967–72 Chevy values have priced out would-be buyers. Most pickup owners have firmer convictions regarding their truck brand than their religion.

Chevy buyers who can’t afford 1967–72s are gobbling up the newer 1973–87s — they are not buying Dodges, Internationals, Jeeps or, heaven forbid, Fords.

However, the new youngbloods getting into vintage trucks are less into brand worship and are more keen on shopping all makers, and that’s where interest is growing the most. The fact that it’s a Canadian truck also greatly helps our featured rig — not just as a historic piece of the Old Dominion, but south of the border also as a curiosity.

All factors considered, the buyer did a beauty of a job getting this one bought, eh.

(Introductory description courtesy of Barrett-Jackson.)

Comments are closed.