FRIDLEY, Minn. (WCCO) — As an auto mechanic, Tim Holmberg’s job is one of repair and restoration.
In his Fridley based repair shop, cars and engines get a tune up. The work is rarely personal but there is one particular engine that has ties to family.
“I have an attachment to this one, I guess,” said Tim Holmberg, who is restoring an old semi-truck.
The 400 Cummins big cam engine is a piece of a larger project representing time spent between Tim and his dad Wayne.
“I hope I get it done fast enough to get my dad in it to go for a spin, that’s the goal,” Holmberg said.
In the back parking lot of Tim’s business sits a 1980 cabover semi-truck.
It’s the same semi where Tim spent his childhood summers. For roughly a decade, Tim would finish school a week early and then travel the country with his dad who drove a Bekins moving truck.
“I fell in love with it when I started going with him. The big truck thing, something about being on open road and being that high up, I fell in love with it,” Tim said.
“I’m glad with the time spent together and it must mean something to him,” said Wayne Holmberg.
During their summers together, the two traveled to every state. Wayne had a helper during his moving jobs and Tim got time with his dad on the open road.
“I love spending time with my dad. You have your good times and bad times but learned a lot from him with life,” Tim said.
That routine continue for roughly 10 years but by 1992, Tim was 16 and summers spent in the truck weren’t as appealing.
“He joked with me, it’s because I got interested in women, you know, girls. That’s when I, ‘I’m done,'” Tim said.
Time eventually took its toll on the truck. In 2001, Wayne decided repairs were too expensive while on a job in Oregon.
“I just called a salvage company and said, come and get it. I got on the airplane, and flew home and found another truck,” Wayne said.
“I always thought in my head, man I’d really love to have that thing back,” Tim said.
In 2010, fate intervened while Tim vacationed on the west coast. Wayne told his son that Tim was in the area where the truck broke down. That tip would lead Tim to an Oregon salvage yard, the very same yard that took his dad’s semi-truck.
“I recognized it right away. I knew this truck inside and out. 4292 that’s the truck number,” Tim said. “I said, I need to have this. I need to get it back to Minnesota where I’m from.”
Eighteen years after Tim’s last cross country ride, he found a way to get the truck back to Minnesota to surprise his dad with a piece of the past. When Wayne first saw his old semi, he didn’t recognize it.
“I said, oh, you god an old truck back here,” Wayne said. “Then, I realized what it was and I said you got to be nuts.”
Mementoes from past trips were still in the truck’s cab. Tim found old papers with his dad’s handwriting as well as an old Casio watch that his dad always wore.
Tim knows the truck is in dire need of repair and he expects full restoration will take years.
“You just start some place and keep going. Eventually do a little bit each day, as often as you can, and it eventually gets done,” Wayne said.
“Yeah, it’s going to be hard work and money but I’ve got time,” Tim said. “The memories for me, I don’t want to let them go so if I can attach to it this way, and keep this in my life for my kids or my nieces and nephews, that’s pretty huge for me.”
Tim says once the truck is restored, he has no plans to sell it.
His dad, who still drives a big rig, part time is looking forward to taking it for a spin.