Wheels Reader: Michael Wiseman
Occupation: Specialty fitness equipment retailer
The Car: 1950 Dodge Fargo pickup
Much more than just an old truck, my Dodge Fargo pickup gives me the opportunity to spend time with family, teach my children the value of taking care of something that is special, and it’s a way to meet people from all walks of life.
Vintage vehicles help preserve memories and connect us to a past when life seemed simpler. They draw people to stop, smile and say hello in what can sometimes feel like a big, cold, and busy city.
I was interested in getting a promotional vehicle for my company and that quickly developed into a hobby. This is something you can drive, enjoy and have other people see and appreciate.
Driven occasionally on weekends, I’ve taken it to car shows and cruise nights. At first, my wife, Carolina, didn’t understand my fascination with old cars, but after attending some auto events, she’s developed an appreciation of how they bring people together, and that they help teach kids a variety of important things about life.
Our children, Sophie, 4, and Matthew, 7, really love the Fargo. They’re eager to climb in it and play in the back, and are always asking: “Daddy, can you take us for a drive?”
I met one of my good friends at a car auction. Like me, he owns his own business, has a family, and we’ve both gone to the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., together in the winter.
An interesting fact about the Fargo is that it is a rare production model made by Dodge exclusively for the Canadian market, and while they stopped selling Fargo trucks in the U.S. in the 1930s, the name was used in Canada until 1972 to distance it from Chrysler’s Plymouth vehicles.
I purchased it in perfectly restored condition at the Toronto Fall Classic Car Auction two years ago, and although I don’t have a history of the vehicle, nor know the previous owner, I noticed he was a gentleman who appeared to be in his mid-to-late 80s, as owners are required to stand on stage with the auctioneer when the bidding starts. If he was the original owner, it would have put him at about 20 when he bought it.
The Fargo has an upgraded motor, a 305 Chevy V8 with modern drive train, and with parts available for almost anything of this era, it makes it very easy to service.
I also have a 1947 International Harvester panel truck, the first classic vehicle I bought, which I park in front of my retail shop to attract attention to my business.
It’s amazing how they attract people when on display at our company booth during fitness trade shows, sometimes drawing more interest than the equipment.
We’ve used both to make the occasional delivery to our customers, which really gets clients excited and asking all kinds of questions about them. It puts a smile on their faces and creates a lasting memory of us and our company.
In winter, the Fargo and Harvester are covered and stored. The salt, freeze/thaw cycles and moisture are not good for a vintage vehicle that you care about.
I agree with Jay Leno, who says that we have a responsibility as custodians of these vehicles. When we take care of them and let other people enjoy them, a part of our life and legacy lives on in them.
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