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Australian Pilot-house Style Trucks
I have tried to piece together a brief history of the Pilot-house style Dodge trucks in Australia. Some information has come from workshop and parts manuals, other info comes from sticking my head into every truck of this type I have seen since my father brought a used one, some forty years ago. I will not state that it is all 100% correct, but it should give you a guide when combined with the brochures as to the history of these trucks in Australia.
Initially the information below deals with the 108 range of trucks.
As time allows I intend to add more info, hopefully including photograph’s, to cover full range of these trucks.
If anyone has any information, remarks or comments they would like to pass on I would appreciate it. I can usually be found lurking around GTK`s www.pilot-house.com. forum or email me at email@example.com
From 1948 until early 53 Chrysler Australia imported their Pilot-house truck line from Canada in a knock down form and assembled them here. (Not sure what form that took)
They were sold under the Dodge and Fargo name. The Fargo name seems to be the most predominate I have seen on trucks of this time period.
DE-FM 48,49 Eng, T143 (3 3/8 x 4 1/16, 218.06 cu”) All engines fitted
Examples of chassis numbers 90080286, 90086233 long blocks (25”)
When in 1951-53, the Canadian (DG-DH, FO-FP) and US (B3-B4) models changed the hood, grille panel, grille and doors, Australia did not.
Our model continued on the same as the 1950 model, though it carried the DG-FO Identification. (I think the panels were still pressed in Canada? not sure!) DG-FO
51 to early 53 Eng, T307 (3 3/8 x 4 1/16, 218.06 cu”)
Examples of Chassis numbers on these imports were 90093538, 9010281371C
From May 53 Chrysler Australia, commenced production of the Pilot-house range of trucks, at their Keswick plant, in Maple Avenue, South Australia.
The body style stayed the same as the earlier (1950) import models.
The Serial Number Plate (vin #) was stamped to denote which brand name was to be used i.e.,
108A D is a Dodge
Apparently if a customer wanted a particular brand name and body style and it was not in stock, the local dealer would just take the badging of another truck to match what the customer wanted. (Customer service or what) Dodge and Fargo are the most common names seen for this time period. Desoto badged trucks are very rare.
May 1953 to July 1955,108 A and B
The 108 A was a carry-over from the Canadian import model. The A model used the earlier Canadian steering parts, and Canadian chassis. The B model used a different steering box (fore-aft motion) and tie rod system, and the chassis were locally produced.
All body panels were now produced in Australia.
All long blocks. (25”)
T307 =218.06 (3 3/8 x 4 1/16)
Kew 2B =250.06 (3 7/16 x 4 ½ Usually called 251cu”, in Australia)
Model range included
Aug 1955 to Aug 58, 108 C and D
(This model is also referred to in the parts manuals as the face lift model) The cab was slightly modified to fit a one-piece front window, and the grille panel and grille were changed.
Aug 1958 and 59 108 E
All trucks now are sold under the Dodge banner. Fargo and Desoto names were discontinued. The only cosmetic change was the grille, from a two bar to one bar, across the front.
1960, 61 108F
1962 The Pilothouse range was still being sold; but it was the end of the line.
1955 - 1958 Fargo Trucks
There are many more Dodge and Fargo truck manuals and brochures in the Knowledge Section