Rare Find: 1954 Fageol Freighter

Around the time of World War I, three brothers named Fageol got into the farm tractor building business. They would diversify over time and eventually produce buses and vans under the Twin Coach Motor Company name. The Fageol Freighter is one of these, said to have been built to move post-war families back home after the Korean War in the early 1950s. We’re told this is one of those vans, which may not have numbered more than 600. Located in Isanti, Minnesota, it needs both a vision and a complete restoration to be productive again. Available here on Facebook Marketplace, the hauler has been reduced in price from $6,495 to $5,995. Thanks for this cool tip, Will Zeier!

The seller sounds like something of an expert on these things as he’s owned several. His level of detail is greater than what I’ve found elsewhere on the net. As the story goes, the two-piece frame and drivetrain were supplied by International Harvester and Twin Coach put on the bodies and did the finishing work. Only a few hundred were built in 1953-54 before the eventual demise of the company.

We understand that the frame was the Achilles heel of these vehicles, developing weakness and failure depending on how much use and stress they were put under. That failure would compromise the bodywork as well. This Fageol Freighter hasn’t fallen victim to that flaw, possibly because it has been off the road since the mid-1970s and may have been lightly used before that. The seller believes few of these trucks exist today and I can’t say that I’ve ever seen one.

The seller tells us that the frame can be braced so that the shortcomings of the original design can be overcome. But it might be better to just locate a modern truck or RV chassis to put underneath it and convert the Freighter into something for today’s market, like a food truck or a “toy hauler.”

To restore this one, you’re going to have to fix a fair amount of rust and source some new glass as none of it appears to be left. This Fageol has a divider between the cab and cargo area, which we’re told is unusual for these things and helped protect the driver and passenger from cold weather in the Winter. Besides fixing the chassis and body, the I-6 motor from Harvester is missing some parts and the condition of the manual transmission is not known.

The reason for the sale of this vehicle is common for barn finds like this. The seller has more projects than he has time or space for, so he’s beginning to thin the herd. He believes the unit is priced to provide some upside potential for the buyer but said buyer will have to be content with a Bill of Sale as there is no title. What would you do with this vintage van?


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  1. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Wow. More likely a Hangar Find for this big beast. Definitely a cool shape in need of TONS of vision.

    Like 6
  2. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Geomechs? Howard A.? Whaddya say about this beast?

    Like 1
  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    This one is going to be somewhat of a challenge to put back to its original livery. Without looking at the number plate I’m going to guess that it’s sitting on a 170 Series FC chassis which tells me that the original engine would be a BD282. Not a major powerhouse or a speed demon but you’ll have a hard time stalling it–lots of torque. Hard engine to find laying around and can be a challenge finding rebuild parts for it. It uses dry sleeves. I suspect the transmission is a five-speed, probably a New Process 280 series, which was used by practically everyone. From what I’ve gathered over the years, the frame troubles were mostly because of bad load distribution; you could put a lot of weight behind that rear axle. Too many operators tended to think like farmers: weight was a non-issue; you were limited ONLY by the size of the box or cargo bay. Weigh scales? Oh come on, Buddy. A mile north of the scales is the turnoff that heads west to Ford’s farm. Stay on the road past Ford’s. It winds around through the badlands and ends up at Carlsson’s. Turn south there and you’ll be back on the hardtop at Santa Rita. Keep going south to Cutbank then head east to Shelby. It’s about 40 miles out of your way but you avoided the ‘Chicken Coop.’

    Like 20
    • Howard A Member

      Thanks for a graphic outlining of a very important ritual I participated in for 35 years, Going around a scale. For me, and many others, it was part of the job. I too chose to go way out of my way, and while there plenty of routes that bypassed a scale, many were dangerously close to the scale, and more than once, me and my cronies turned off our trailer lights, and ran by the bumper fog lights on nearby frontage roads. With cameras in everybody’s pockets and on every light pole, not recommended today.
      Trucks like this rarely saw the outskirts of a city. Railroad was still the primary source of movement, and these would pick up freight at the rail depot in town, and deliver the goods from there. Many local moving companies used these, and were more for large bulky shipments, not weight so much.
      This would be classified as an “ambitious restoration”, and little, if any practical use today, except maybe for a display outside a moving company. Eventually, as shipments got bigger and longer routes, tractor trailers became the norm, and these big units quickly fell out of favor. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/443886106993123884/

      Like 11
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        Knew you two would come through.👍🏻

        Like 8
    • darchangel

      Geomechs sounds like someone from the ” high line,”. I’ve driven all those roads north of Shelby, and yes that is the way you bypass the way station.

      Like 2
  4. John Bellmore

    There is a long chassis version near Omaha. Was used by Global Van Lines. I’d love to have it, but don’t know how I’d get it to Florida.

    Like 3
  5. Hoss

    I love it !!! I love the different !!! The odd-balls !!!

    Probably the only one you’ll ever see.

    To bad I don’t have 100 K to blow to restore this, or I’d buy it.

    Keep the wacky and weird coming Barn Finds.

    Like 14
  6. joel

    Briggs Cunningham used one of these as his transporter. These things are too cool.

    Like 3
    • Richard Morrison

      Briggs’ was a Convertible, between passengers and freight. Also used as Highway post offices https://www.semissourian.com/blogs/flynch/entry/45622

      They had the engine moved back behind the front axel. It was a Leyland pancake diesel for a flat floor. I owned one for one week, with the idea of a car transporter with RV in front.

      Like 3
  7. Arfwoof

    My friend has 2 of these. He uses them for storage.

    Like 1
  8. Daniel Wright

    Page storage and moving company in Tulsa, Oklahoma has one. I think its still operational too.

    Like 2
    • Richard Morrison

      I wonder if that is the one I bought and sold in Muskogee?

  9. Richard Haner

    putting this on a modern chassis would seem the most cost effective way to go to me….very cool however it’s done…

    Like 1
  10. Richard Haner

    putting this on a modern chassis would seem the most cost effective way to go to me….cool however it’s done…..

    Like 2
  11. Wooky

    Modern chassis and drive train and it would make a one-of-a-kind motor coach / drive camper

    Like 3
  12. ChingaTrailer

    This has appeared on this site before, probably with the same Minnesota dealer . . . .

  13. Steve Clinton

    Not to be confused with the Fagooli Freightmaster.

  14. lbpa18

    Wow. What a beautiful art deco truck that deserves to be saved if for nothing but a parked truck in front of an old moving and storage place painted in their old livery. But if money were no object and talent plentiful, this would make a nice trailer-park camper. The lines are certainly timeless. I hope it is saved from the scrap heap.

    Like 2
    • ChingaTrailer

      Way too new by decades for Art Deco but certainly shows influences of Streamline Moderne. Just because something is old and cool does not make it Art Deco.

      Like 3
  15. BleedNRed

    I could definitely see modifying it into an RV camper with a new drivetrain. However, it would have to be a labor of love because it would cost a fortune.

    Like 3
  16. Jonathan Q Higgins

    Make it an RV and go to burning man. Make sure you get a tetanus shot before you work on it. It would be really cool boy oh my the work involved.

    Like 2
  17. GKS

    Back in the 50’s – and probably into the 60’s, Dayton’s Department Store Company used these for furniture delivery. Dayton’s was HQ’d in Minneapolis. Combined with the interior of the van being setup for furniture, the vehicle’s location of Isanti, MN (not too far north of Minneapolis) makes me think this is likely one of those old Dayton’s delivery vehicles. Side note: Dayton’s, like most regional dep’t stores, no longer exists, but its “offspring” carries on quite nicely as Target Stores.

    Like 2
  18. John Member

    Remember these running on the In. Toll Rd.(80-90) back in the day, cool looking trucks, usssuallly W/moving company grahpics.

    Like 2
  19. Lonemalt

    Nice write up but the best information I could get is how to pronounce the name.

    Like 2
  20. John King

    Because it is located in Minnesota, I’m going to take a guess that this may have been a furniture delivery vehicle for Dayton’s Department store in Minneapolis. When I was a kid, I vaguely remember seeing trucks like this making residential deliveries for Dayton’s.

    Like 2
  21. Philip

    Great info and feedback but come on guys, that thing is MUNSTER ugly!!

    Like 2
  22. Charles D Schultz

    Company also made twin engine buses and trucks; a concept they applied to a 1946 Indy entry that started in P2! Also a twin engined Porsche powered car. Company was sold to Peterbuilt. Would be very cool as a race car hauler on a modern truck chassis.

    Like 2
  23. Doug

    One of these sat on the side of a main street in Norwich, CT when I was a kid. It belonged to the Jesse Main Moving & Storage Co. I don’t know whatever became of it.

  24. Jenkins Leon

    I drove one that looked like this in the late 50’s. We called it a “sputnick”. Seems like they were German made. Had a rear engine and had about a 3 or 4 inch “stove pipe” affair that ran up behind the driver so you could hear the engine and know when to shift. Hauled for a clothing manufacturer and also carried boxes of thread and buttons to various sewing factories in eastern Penna. Painted Yellow and dark Green, two tone. Never had a problem with what little I drove one.

  25. Catie H

    We saw one of these still wearing its Mayflower Moving livery for sale at the side of the road between Ocala and Daytona in Florida. We saw it the following spring at the Spring Turkey Nationals in Daytona. I believe it was now a Flea Market hauler or car hauler.

    • John Bellmore

      The one on the side of Hwy 17 between Deland and Deleon Springs was from Ridgeway Mayflower in Daytona Beach. It was parked for years at Hay Baby hay sales. It was #001. It ran perfect. New brakes and tires. I think he was asking around 30K for it. Don’t know what he got, but he sold it.

      Like 1
      • Catie H

        John Bellmore. That is the one. We are Canadian so we haven’t been able to get back to see if it appeared at any more Rod Runs. It was one of the coolest trucks I have ever seen.

  26. Jenkins Leon

    My comment earlier about the one I drove that was rear engine was for a company called Interstate Garment Carriers in eastern Penna. Wondered if anyone might have heard of them or seen one of these.

  27. lbpa18

    Oh, its not art deco. My bad. Scrap it then I guess.

  28. Frank of Eden

    WOW! Love that old truck. I remember seeing them used when I was a kid in Dundalk MD. just outside of Balto. One afternoon I had just crossed the street with my bike and saw one pulling up to the traffic light… it had, what I thought was, 5 or 6 people sitting across the front seat… I assumed they were on there way to pack it full of furniture from a house nearby, as it was a moving van… Mayflower I think. One fellow was between the driver and the door. Being a kid, I thought what a long seat that could hold so many people at a time. I never saw the inside of one till this posting. NOW I wonder how they got so many men into that cab. Looks like it would have been impossible to put someone to the left of the driver also, The guy was almost hanging out the open window at the time. Gosh maybe the one I saw it was one of those German trucks that Jenkins Leon mentioned, or a smaller version of that postal truck, with the floor engine. It did seem a little longer than the one pictured.

    Speaking of the floor engines, when I was in high school in Richmond VA, the Virginia Transit Co. (that ran the city bus line) still used a lot of those Twin Coach Motor co. buses, and their engine was under the floor in the middle of the bus. They were possibly the oldest buses that they were running but they sure were still “going”… that was in the early 60’s.

    Like 1

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