Isn't it crazy how psychiatrists hold up splatters of ink and decipher how you think based on what you make of it? But what's even crazier is that people do this sort of Jedi mind trick all day long. They see an object or picture and have their own feelings. Take a picture of Canada, for example. If you hold it up, the first things we'll think of are Canadian moonshine, Wayne Gretzky
, and the band Rush
. But take the same picture and throw it in someone else's face and they might think Fargos
When Ray Brandt thinks of Canada, he thinks of home first, but then he thinks about Fargo trucks. Fargo trucks were the Chrysler Corporation of Canada's truck lineup (back in the early 1930s.
Chrysler felt selling Dodge trucks on a Chrysler lot wouldn't go over so well, so they created the Fargo truck line). In the mid-'30s the Fargo lineup debuted in Canada, and for the most part their truck models for the next three decades were basically Dodge trucks with rebadging and trim, but in Canada the Fargo name was just as recognized as Dodge. This couldn't be truer for Ray, who can remember his dad's '50 Fargo like it was yesterday. Not only was it his farm's work truck, but it was also what Brandt learned to drive in when he was 11 years old. With a fleet of cool custom trucks, cars, and rods, Ray figured his next project ought to pay homage to where it all began, a '50 Fargo.
Brandt picked this '50 up locally near his home in Alberta, Canada, and from there on out it was open season on the Fargo. Although plans for some way-sick custom work were in the pipe, Brandt needed to get his foundation set up first. Ray wanted to keep everything Mopar. First up, the frame was yanked from the truck, and the X-members were boxed. Then Ray grafted a '78 Volare frontend to the frame. He used the disc brakes, sway bar, torsion bars-basically everything from the Volare frontend-and incorporated it into the boxed frame. Out back, he installed a Dodge Posi-traction rear. For the powertrain, Brandt built a 360 Dodge motor. For the most part, the motor is still equipped with its stock parts, but an Edelbrock intake manifold and carburetor were installed. The final result is somewhere around 320 estimated horsepower, which is plenty of power to spin the Dodge 727 tranny and light up the Truspoke 15-inch rims out back.
With the chassis done, it was time for Ray to bust out the torch, hammer, and dollies and get to work. Instead of shaving a few things here and there, Ray wanted to go all out on the Fargo. Right off the bat he pulled out the sawzall and hacked 3 inches out of the roof. Then he refined the body lines by removing various pieces of trim along with the door handles. Next up, the body seams were filled and the antenna was frenched along with the headlights for an old-skool feel. On '50 Fargos the hood opened up from the side instead of the front, and there were big and bulky chrome openers on the sides. Ray sliced the openers off and relocated them behind the Fargo badge, which gives the hood a much cleaner look.
Keeping the cab cool is a...
Keeping the cab cool is a Vintage Air unit. Dig the custom center console!
With the cab and forward finished, Brandt then moved to the truck's rear. In '50 Fargo trucks had a very round and defined cab, but the bed was as square as Al Gore
. Ray wanted to create a symmetrical feel by giving the bed a more rounded look. First up, the bed was slimmed 4 inches in length, and the bedrails were flattened. Brandt then used exhaust tubing to roll the ends of the bedrails, which completely left the straight-edge days in the past.
Going one step further, Ray rounded the bed's front and rear corners with exhaust tube and made a one-off tailgate to match the radiused bed. To get the truck as low as possible, the bedfloor was raised 3 inches, and 2-inch mini tubs were installed as well. As for the rear fenders, they were bobbed and raised 2 inches to accommodate the raised bed. The rear bumper was removed, and a custom roll pan was built as well. Lastly, the only non-Mopar parts were installed, '39 Ford teardrop taillights.
With the bodywork done, it was time for paint. When it comes to the Fargo, Ray did everything besides two things: paint and charging the A/C. The funny part is, Ray farmed the truck out for paint because his shop is just way too dirty to paint in, not because he doesn't know how! Precision Auto Body in Calgary, Alberta, sprayed the Fargo in RM Flame Red. Then Ray laid the maplewood in the bed.
To finish off the truck, Ray pirated more Mopar parts to complete the interior. First up, he found some AMC seats and recovered them in grey vinyl and cloth. As for the steering column, it was yanked from a Jeep. TPI Tech gauges were installed in the dash using an EZ wiring kit. Housing the Jensen CD player is a custom center console Ray built. Lastly, Ray installed a Vintage Air A/C system.
Whether we here in the States think of a Fargo as a truck or a movie, one can't deny that Ray Brandt's '50 is as unique as it is totally rad, eh!
Underneath the butterfly hood...
Underneath the butterfly hood lies this 360 Dodge equipped with an Edelbrock carb and intake manifold.
A true work of art. Not only...
A true work of art. Not only has the bed been chopped, but Ray also made some styling cues by rounding the bedrails and corners. He also built all the custom hinges that hold the bed upright.