John Vancanneyt never touched a manual transmission until he came to work here at ZBAG several months ago. He is in training as a builder and currently works on Dodge pickup NV5600 and G56 manual transmissions.

          John didn’t arrive lacking in mechanical experience, though. He’s always worked on dirt bikes, snowmobiles and old cars. Originally from the Twin Cities, John has family in this area. His dad, who works as a mechanic at an auto dealership, owns a ’66 Dodge Charger and John helps him work on it occasionally. Collectible vehicles are definitely an interest for him.

          “My dream car would be a ’68 Charger,” he commented. “I’d like to do a full restoration.” He realizes finding one will be a challenge.

          In the meantime, John keeps busy with dirt bikes and snowmobiles. “I just sold my dirt bike,” he said. It was a SSR 35. “I have a ‘98 Polaris and a ’72 Arctic Cat Cheetah. I take the Cheetah to shows. It’s all original, very clean. My great uncle bought it new, and it was only licensed from ’72 to ’74, then it sat in the barn until my dad picked it up.”

          When John is not building manual transmissions or working on his vehicles, he enjoys fishing for northern, bass, musky and walleye. “Up north, in the area where my dad grew up, we have a relative who owns a resort,” John explained. That’s his favorite fishing spot, and eating beer-batter fried fish is a major part of the fun.

          Here at ZBAG, John is building the high quality, reliable manual transmissions the company is known for, and is gradually building up his set of mechanical tools. “When I first started here,” he recalled, “I had no tools, I had to use my dad’s.”