Golf Cart Museum: Pargo

Pargo Golf CartPargo was first manufactured around 1954 by the Columbia Car Co. Located in Columbia County, near Augusta, Georgia, the company was named for the county in which the the car was made. The company later moved to Charlotte, NC, but retained the Columbia Car Co. and Pargo name.

This company is not to be confused with the modern day Columbia ParCar company that is the offshoot of the Harley Davidson/AMF breakup in the early 1980’s. They have always been completely different companies. In 1975 the Pargo golf car line was discontinued and the company moved production to Dallas, TX. They continued to make personnel and burden carriers under the name Eagle but no golf cars. Later still the company was purchased by the E-Z-GO Golf Car Co., and was moved back to Augusta, GA. For a while E-Z-GO continued to produce the line of carriers but eventually they redesigned the line to where today it is unrecognizable as a Pargo product.

Serial numbers are just about useless for determining what year model golf car, or carrier, you might have. More important is the number of wheels on the car and the number of solenoids used in the speed control system. Pargo also employed various brake systems over the years too. We will discuss some of these variations in the Detail Information section.

For a discourse on the very early days of Pargo golf cars, please refer to our exclusive interview with Beverly F. Dolan concerning the startup of E-Z-GO and his association with Paul Corley and E. J. Smith, the founders of the Pargo golf car and Columbia Car Co.

History of PargoPargo Solenoids

The Pargo golf car came in a 3 wheel model and later in a 4 wheel model. The early 3 wheel model had a tiller style steering system similar to the later Harley 3 Wheel cars. Then came a steering wheel later followed with a 4 wheel model which always had a steering wheel.

The brake systems changed over the years as well. The early models had a Band Brake that wrapped around a drum just to the driver side of the motor. It was cable activated. The best I know these systems are no longer available but the metal band can be relined by a clutch & brake relining shop. A replacement cable is history. Later, Pargo had a disk brake style system with a thick metal rotor that the disk pads pressed against to create a stopping action. These pads are still available but the rotor is not. Later still the Pargo had a wheel brake system that used Bendix brake shoes and a stamped metal drum. These are still available. The latter two systems were rod activated and replacement parts can be fashioned from threaded rod found at most hardware stores, if needed.

The most significant difference amongst the various models was the speed control switch(es). Very early cars had a very small rotary type switch that mounted under the floorboard just in front of the accelerator pedal. These are gone. Later, a similar, but larger, switch was employed in the same location. It sits inside a metal electrical junction box (also used in home wiring). This switch turned the car on and controlled the 3 speeds that the car could provide. These cars had 7 solenoids each; 2 for forward, 2 for reverse, plus 3 more-one for each of the 3 speeds.

Later still, came the Mayo jar speed control (as I call it). This model had 8 solenoids (a fourth speed was added) and a funny looking plastic jar that protected 4 small roller-arm micro switches that were employed to control the 4 speeds of the car. A little round disk behind the micro switches was connected to the accelerator pedal and as it rotated it sequentially closed or opened the small switches which in turn energized or de-energized its respective speed solenoid. Click on Larger Picture at the bottom of this section for a look see at this marvel.

Service Notes: If the car is jumpy in the first speed and you have a 7 solenoid system, then your accelerator switch has probably failed. If the car has an 8 solenoid array then one of the small diodes between the small terminals of the solenoids may have failed. This assumes that the solenoids and micro switches test out to be OK

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