Rtech Fabrications calls it the Ponderosa. We simply call it awesome.
Friends, there are crazy trucks, and then there’s this. That’s not to say the many custom off-roaders we’ve covered over the years aren’t cool, and there have indeed been many. This old Chevrolet stands out for a few reasons, not the least of which being it stands over just about everything around it. There’s no denying this 1966 Chevrolet K30 Crew Cab is absolutely massive, but die-hard Chevy truck fans will be the first to say that such a thing never existed in the first place. Dually crew cabs wouldn’t show up until the 1970s, so yeah, this bonkers build takes on a whole new meaning with that bit of info.
Enter Rtech Fabrications, a custom shop in Idaho that has a penchant for building crew cab Chevy pickups long before they were offered from the factory. As such, this baby blue pickup affectionately called Ponderosa rides on a one-ton C30 frame from 1972. We’ll not go into all the details about the truck’s undercarriage, but from the Dana 60 axles to the 20-inch wheels and a towering Skyjacker lift kit, it’s safe to say this truck is built to the extreme. For that matter, we’ll also breeze over the transplanted Cummins 12-valve 5.9-liter turbodiesel engine, built to produce around 550 horsepower (410 kilowatts) and a staggering 1,300 pound-feet (1,763 Newton-meters) of torque. Suffice it to say, this custom rig has no problem getting down the road.
Gallery: RTech Ponderosa Custom 1966 Chevy Crew Cab
The magic here is the greenhouse, which is hand-fabricated by Rtech and fuses two classic cabs together. It’s not nearly as simple as it sounds, with extensive sheet metal work for reinforcement and modifications to the rear doors being just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. As you can image, all the body mounts needed to be custom-made, and one can’t undertake something like this without adding some modern touches. Power windows, power side steps, air conditioning, and a retro-themed modern sound system with Bluetooth capability give added comfort to passengers, among many other things.
According to Rtech’s website, you can have your own Ponderosa crew cab but as you’d expect, such things aren’t cheap. Pricing starts at $150,000, but then again, where else will you find something that never existed in the first place? This isn't the first Rtech project we've seen, and we definitely hope it's not the last.
Source: Rtech Fabrications
RTECH FABRICATIONS DEBUTS AWARD-WINNING NEW
PONDEROSA 1966 CHEVY CREW CAB 4x4 PICKUP
COEUR D’ALENE, ID – Award-winning pre-1972 Chevy truck specialists Rtech Fabrications recently unveiled the company’s latest custom Crew Cab creation. Dubbed the Ponderosa, this four-door 1966 Chevy K30 dually took top honors at its first two public appearances: the “Brothers Choice” award at the 2019 Brothers Annual Chevy and GMC Truck Show and the “Builder’s Choice” trophy presented by Art Morrison Enterprises at the Goodguys 32nd Pacific Northwest Nationals in Puyallup, Washington.
“The reaction to The Ponderosa has been exceptional,” says Rtech Fabrications Founder Randall Robertson. “The Brothers events are some of the premier Chevy truck shows in the country, and it is an extreme honor to win the ‘Brothers Choice’ award three times now: The Ponderosa this year, last year with The Duke 1972 K50 Crew Cab, and previously with Cowboy, our 1970 K20 Crew Cab.”
As with all Rtech Fabrications projects, The Ponderosa was a ground-up build. A 1972 8,300-pound GVWR C30 chassis was sourced as the foundation for the 175-inch-wheelbase Crew Cab conversion. Rtech fabricated custom mounts for the suspension and added crossmembers in the proper locations to support the powertrain components. The lift is provided by Skyjacker leafsprings. Ride is controlled by Bilstein 5160 remote-reservoir shocks and innovative Rtech rear traction bars that multi-task as lift blocks.
Numerous other upgrades were required to control the added weight of 37x11.50R20 Nitto Trail Grapplers duallies on 20x8.25 American Force wheels. Steering is bolstered with a Saginaw 708 box, modified by Red Head Steering Gears for increased hydraulic power. Brakes follow factory GM K30 spec: Bendix/Bosch hydroboost, front slotted/cross-drilled disc brakes and rear 13-inch drums. The front axle is a Dana 60, which has an innovative locking-hub setup that is accessed with an Allen wrench through the wheels’ center caps. The rear axle is a Dana 70; both differentials have 4.10:1 gearsets and are protected by G2 aluminum covers. Also, Rtech added its custom 60-gallon fuel tank made from TIG-welded ¼-inch 6061 aluminum. Its placement was strategically chosen for optimal weight distribution, and the tank was custom-contoured to clear suspension components.
Moving inward, custom driveshafts from Six States Distributors (Spokane, Washington) connect the axles to a heavy-duty NP205 transfer case, which is mated to a durable NV4500 5-speed automatic transmission.
To power The Ponderosa, Rtech went with an American-made Cummins diesel from the Ram portfolio instead of choosing an Isuzu-developed GM Duramax. A 1996 12-valve 5.9L Cummins was chose for its renowned 300,000-mile durability. Rtech built the engine to produce about 550 horsepower and 1,300 lb.-ft. of torque. Modifications include a ported/polished head, a Competition Cams camshaft, Mahle pistons, a BD Diesel manifold and upgraded turbocharger, a custom intercooler, Dynamite Diesel Stage 3 injectors, a K&N intake, and a Flowmaster 4-inch exhaust system. Cooling is controlled by a Champion 3-core aluminum radiator and dual Derale electric fans. AMSOIL synthetic lubricant increase component life truck-wide.
The Ponderosa’s true beauty lies in its cab. Extensive Rtech modifications include reconfiguring factory front doors to function as Crew Cab rears. The job also involved adding Nu-Relics power window mechanisms and structurally fortifying the roof. Sheetmetal work involves using 16-gauge material and spot-welding every inch to exceed factory specifications. Further, hydraulic mounts were used to mate the cab and bed to the frame, upgrading in-cab ride quality. Rtech added Chevy Stepside fenders to the 8-foot long-bed box to clear the dual rear tires.
Another Rtech upgrade includes adding thick-steel tubular rocker panels for structural rigidity and protection. To ease ingress/egress, AMP Research Power Step XL electric running boards are used. Rtech makes custom brackets for them so that the Power Steps are flush to the body when retracted. As a custom touch, Rtech painted the Power Steps silverto match the custom bumpers.
Speaking of which, both bumpers purposely remain factory. The front bumper is augmented by a Warn 12,000-pound winch and a custom crossmember with integrated Class V receiver hitch. A chromed grille from a 1966 Chevy was used to further make the Ponderosa appear period correct.
Lucent GM Light Green paint was applied by Rtech Fabrications. Other exterior details include LED lighting from Offroad LED Bars, custom windows by Grizzly Glass (Hayden, Idaho), brightwork by Spokane Metal Finishing (Spokane, Washington), rare Dino’s Chevy Only badges, and a custom 5th wheel bed ball just for fun.
Inside, The Ponderosa combines the best of the old and the new. Rtech Fabrications executed the upholstery in factory-reproduction green vinyl and cloth in the factory 1966 GM pattern using materials sourced from SMS Auto Fabrics. Seating is 1966 GMC Sport Trim buckets, and the carpeting is Daytona-weave nylon. The custom console lid was created from a GM hood. To update the electronics, Rtech utilized a Speedway Motors wiring harness. A Bluetooth-compatible RetroSound Hermosa head unit is backed by a Kenwood amplifier and speakers. Other dash details are OE-style Dakota Digital gauges and controls for the Old Air HVAC controls. The Ponderosa also features cruise control from Dakota Digital and a period-correct nav system: a Hull Manufacturing compass.
In all, The Ponderosa 1966 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 represents a departure for Rtech Fabrications, which is known as a 1967-1972 Chevy/GMC specialist. “One of the main cornerstones of our business is to preserve the original look of a factory-made truck from that era,” Randall Robertson continues. “Feedback from truck fans we’ve spoken to is that we achieved that and more with the Ponderosa.”