Young Minnesota man restores truck he began with late father, grandpa

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With the Minnesota State Fair coming to a close, final judging for the 4-H competitions are underway. A teenager is in the running for his restored vintage ford pick-up truck, but it took 10 years to finally make it to this point.  

The vintage Ford pick-up truck looks like it rolled off the showroom floor; it’s restored to near perfection.  But 18-year-old John Duden faced some obstacles that nearly took him off course, and now he’s in the running to win.

 “We started to take everything apart and do it right,” John said. “I couldn't use any power tools, it was all hand sanded.”

When John was 8 years old and living on the family farm in Plainview, his dad Elmer took him to a nearby scrap yard where they found the body of a 1928 Ford pick-up truck. The two paid $700 for it with plans to restore the truck together.

“It was supposed to be done two years from when we got it,” John said.

Instead, John's father died in a farming accident at only 51 years old. Patty Duden still struggles to talk about her late husband. But a few years after his death, Grandpa Tom Zabel picked up where they left off.

“We started to take everything apart and do it right, not cut corners on it,” John said.

Then there was another unfortunate obstacle in the road, Grandpa Zabel passed away from old age. Instead of quitting, John refocused his efforts and spent all his free time restoring the Ford on his own.

“He was determined, determined to do it,” Patty said.

Ten years later, it's rolling out and finally complete at the Minnesota State Fair. The truck is dedicated to his father and grandfather. 

“He doesn't have to win, it's already won in our hearts,” his sister Becky Duden said.