If you aren’t familiar with the crew over at Rtech Fabrications, you certainly need to be. They build trucks that never came from the factory and build them in a way that makes you question whether they started out with a stock crew cab or not. The amount of work and customization that goes into each and every one of the trucks that comes out of Rtech is staggering and you will definitely want to check out all the photos below. This thing is awesome.
RTECH FABRICATIONS DEBUTS AWARD-WINNING NEW PONDEROSA 1966 CHEVY CREW CAB 4×4 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 37×11.50R20 Nitto Trail Grapplers duallies on 20×8.25 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 4×4 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.”
For more information, please contact Rtech Fabrications, (208) 719-0490, www.rtechfabrications.com.
Rtech Fabrications “Ponderosa” Specifications
Vehicle: Rtech Fabrications 1966 Chevy Crew Cab 4-Door 4×4
Engine: 1996 12-valve Cummins 5.9L 6BT turbodiesel, Competition Cams camshaft, Mahle pistons, ported/polished head, BD Diesel manifold, Dynomite Diesel Stage 3 injectors, BD Diesel turbocharger, dual Derale electric fans, Champion 3-core aluminum radiator, custom intercooler, K&N intake, Flowmaster 4-inch exhaust
Power: 550 HP, 1,300 Lb-Ft
Transmission: NV4500 5-Speed Manual
Transfer case: NP205
Front axle/differential: Dana 60, 4.10 gears, stainless-steel drilled/slotted rotors
Rear axle/differential: Dana 70, Detroit Locker, 4.10 gears, drum brakes
Skyjacker leafsprings, Bilstein 5100 shocks, custom-lift traction bars
Steering: Red Head box, factory tilt column
Tires: 37×11.50R20 Nitto Trail Grappler
Wheels: 20×8.25 American Force
Custom Crew Cab 4-door conversion fabricated from several 1964-1966 Chevy/GMC bodies, factory 1966 chrome grille, Lucent GM Light Green paint by Rtech Fabrications, factory front bumper painted silver, custom glass by Grizzly Glass (Hayden, ID), plating by Spokane Metal Finishing (Spokane, WA), custom Dino’s Chevy Only badges, custom 5th wheel bed ball
Upholstery: Green vinyl and cloth from SMS Auto Fabrics in factory 1966 GM pattern
Carpet: Daytona weave
Dash: Dakota Digital OE-style gauges
Console: Custom using GM hood
Infotainment: Bluetooth-compatible RetroSound Hermosa RetroRadio AM/FM head unit, Kenwood amplifier and speakers
Lighting: Off-Road LED Bars
Armor: Customized AMP Research PowerStep XL running boards, customized factory rear step bumper
Accessories: Custom front crossmember with Class V receiver hitch, AMSOIL synthetic lubricants, Old Air air conditioning, Warn 12,000-pound winch, OE nav system (Hull Mfg. compass), Speedway Motors wiring by Jose Gonzales (Rtech Fabrications), Dakota Digital cruise control, custom Rtech Fabrications 60-gallon gas tank