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Historical truck resurrected by local community members 

The newly resurrected 1936 Ford Truck.

Truck belonged to old blacksmith shop

Local members of the community have recently resurrected an important piece of Paso Robles history: a 1936 Ford truck that belonged to Frederick Cuendet, a blacksmith, whose shop was located right in the heart of downtown Paso Robles. The truck was passed down to his grandson, Mark Brown. Local car enthusiasts Kevin Wright and Tim Edwards bought the truck and began the resurrection process in November 2023 and brought it back to Brown this month.

“You don’t see too many of [the 1936 Ford trucks] around, but when you do they catch your eye…both my brother and I both drove it in high school, though Jerry took far better care of it than I did. I learned to drive in it, but by the time I graduated from high school in 1974, it had accumulated some wear…the truck is completely original, except for a 1946 flathead V8, which was part of the magic Kevin worked,” said Brown, who works as a circuit board designer for infra-red cameras. He adds that Wright and Edwards “made rapid progress and were having a lot of fun…importantly, they embraced its history.”

The before picture of the 1936 Ford truck after not being driven for over 50 years.

The first owner of the truck was Frederick Cuendet, who was born in 1884 and moved to California from Switzerland when he was 20 years old. His blacksmith shop was located at 13th and Railroad Streets, where he was well known for making custom branding irons during the 50 years it was open. One notable project he worked on was building an adobe mud-mixer used for the rebuilding projects at Mission San Miguel in the 1950s. When Cuendet passed away in 1960, the truck was given to his daughter and grandsons. A fender bender put it out of commission and Brown was the last person to drive the truck in 1974. Over 50 years later, Brown was the first person to drive the newly resurrected truck.

“It was an honor and true pleasure to work with [Edwards]…we had nothing but fun…[we] brought it back to its original soul,” said Wright, who calls repairing these vehicles resurrections as he is bringing back not just the vehicle, but a lifetime of memories to the previous owners.

Fred Cuendet’s sign, who ran a blacksmith store in Paso Robles for 50 years.

Wright and Edwards only repaired what was needed with the aim of keeping as many original pieces in the truck as possible, such as the mechanics, top part of the seating, and paint. The motor was replaced with one from 1946. When working on the truck, Wright found an auto care service sticker that showed the last service was in 1973 at the now closed Walter’s Union Service, which is now home to Third Base Market & Spirits

The Walter’s Union Service sticker from the truck.

Wright, who runs local electrician business Wright Electric, has 12 vehicles registered to him and considers resurrecting vintage vehicles, such as cars, trucks, motorcycles and bikes, with Edwards a hobby.

“When I drove it, so many memories came back, not the least of which was the feeling of driving the car. I characterize it as driving a buggy, but with a V8 instead of a horse. It feels like a long absent family member has returned home. It’s quite a turn of luck that brought the truck back, but all the credit goes to Kevin and Tim. I am just a guy who was in the right place at the right time,” said Brown, who is planning on buying the truck back from the partners.

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