This pickup truck is a wolf in sheep’s clothing

We have covered plenty of customized trucks from famous tuners like Hennessey, Tuscany, SVE, Roush and the lot. But these were generally new-gen trucks with a lot of electrical and electronic shenanigans. Today, however, we’ve decided to cover a restomod operation by RTech Fabrications. The company basically works on 1967-1972 Chevy and GMC trucks, however, the vehicle in question is a 1966 Chevrolet K30 Crew Cab pickup truck that has been restored to all its glory. Oh, and the company has moniker’d it ‘Ponderosa’.

Exterior

  • GenRock Green Color
  • LED Headlights
  • 12,000-pound Warn Winch
  • AMP Research Power Step XL running boards
  • 20-inch wheels wrapped in 37-inch rubber
  • Truck bed lined in ash wood
1966 Chevrolet Ponderosa by Rtech Fabrications Exterior
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Rtech has built the Ponderosa with a lot of added rigidity to make it a lot stronger than what it was in factory condition.

Rtech has used 16-gauge sheet metal and plenty of spot welding in creating the body. Upfront, it kind of has a double face. Under the lip of the upper half lies a set of turn signals on either side and an air dam in between. Below that is the 1966 Chevy grille with the name embossed on it. Round headlights are placed on either side of it. Of course, it doesn’t come with fog lamps and LED Daytime Running Lights and stuff, but the company has installed LED headlights. How about that, now? Factory bumpers are retained, but more strength is added behind them. Rtech has also mounted a 12,000-pound Warn Winch to a custom cross-member that also springs a Class V receiver hitch.

To add further bracing, Rtech has installed tubular steel rocker panels. The split-design look runs all across the side profile and ends on the truck bed where an outward bulge, which is referred to as Chevy Stepside fenders (above the rear wheels) nullifies the effect. Manually-adjustable wing mirrors are placed on the doors and look classy. Since the vehicle is raised quite high, Rtech has placed AMP Research Power Step XL running boards for easier ingress and egress. These are fixed on custom mounts so they retract flushly with the body. The tall stance of the Ponderosa was created using hydraulic mounts between the body and frame injects. The company has placed the factory front doors at the rear to ensure plenty of room for all occupants.

1966 Chevrolet Ponderosa by Rtech Fabrications Exterior
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The truck rides on 20-inch American Force wheels wrapped in 37-inch Nitto Trail Grappler tires.

As for the truck bed, it is lined in ash wood and fits a fifth-wheel bed ball. The tailgate is embossed with the ‘CHEVROLET’ lettering in white over the green body. The small taillights are placed on the extreme ends, but are bright enough to be visible to drivers behind the truck. The rear of the crew cab comes with a closed glass section that allows passengers to view all the action happening in the back. Speaking of the exterior color, the Ponderosa is painted using GenRock’s light green supplied by Auto Paint Plus, based out of Post Falls Idaho. It looks extremely retro and is well-suited to the 1966 K30 Crew Cab pickup truck. As for the fuel tank, it can store up to 60 gallons of diesel.

Interior

  • Digital gauges in old-school covers
  • Thin steering wheel
  • Armrest made of an old GM hood
  • Custom window switches
  • RetroSound Hermosa head unit with Bluetooth compatibility
  • Cruise control
1966 Chevrolet Ponderosa by Rtech Fabrications Interior
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Step inside and you will be greeted by a straight-forward, no-nonsense cabin. The old-school gauges behind the steering wheel form the ‘instrument cluster’. But there’s a twist.

They may look like analog gauges, but Rtech has actually replaced the system with Dakota digital gauges.

Circular Mercedes-esque air vents can be found here as well. The center console is custom-made and the armrest is actually made of a GM hood. The theme on the inside mimics the exterior color. Rtech has used Green vinyl and cloth - that is the stock 1966 fabric pattern - for the bucket seats that belong to the 1966 GMC Sport trim. For the flooring, custom Daytona weave nylon carpet has been used. The custom windows and window switches are all powered by a Speedway Motors wiring harness.

1966 Chevrolet Ponderosa by Rtech Fabrications Interior
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In terms of technology, there is a RetroSound Hermosa head unit that supports Bluetooth and runs through a Kenwood amp and speakers. There is also a ‘period-correct navigation system’, which is basically a Hull Manufacturing Compass unit.

Drivetrain

  • 5.9-liter Cummins Diesel engine
  • 550 Horsepower
  • 1,300 pound-feet of Torque
  • Venture Gear 4500 five-speed transmission with a twin-clutch
  • Dana 60 dual front axle and Dana 70 rear axle
  • Bilstein remote-reservoir shocks
1966 Chevrolet Ponderosa by Rtech Fabrications Drivetrain
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Under the hood of the Ponderosa is a Dodge-sourced 5.9-liter, Cummins Diesel engine taken from a 1996 Ram pickup truck. Rtech has heavily re-engineered it, and the truck is a perfect sleeper now.

The engine has been completely overhauled with Mahle pistons, a new camshaft, BD Diesel manifold, and an upgraded turbocharger, new injectors, K&N intake, and a FlowMaster four-inch exhaust system.

The Ponderosa now makes a monstrous 550 horses and 1,300 pound-feet of torque – yep, 1,300 pound-feet. The engine is mated to a New Venture Gear 4500 five-speed transmission with a twin-clutch which sends power to a heavy-duty NP205 transfer case.

1966 Chevrolet Ponderosa by Rtech Fabrications
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Interestingly enough, the gear lever is marked only to the fourth gear. Rtech Fabrications founder Randall Robertson told Autoblog he wanted to keep the old-style four-speed shift knob, but hasn’t had the time to get the "5" inscribed on it yet. The engine is also equipped with custom driveshafts. The axle duties are taken care of by the Dana 60 dual front axle and the Dana 70 rear axle.

Rtech has also installed a Skyjacker leaf springs suspension system, Bilstein 5160 remote-reservoir shocks, and rear traction bars that also function as lift blocks.

As for the steering wheel, it is a thin, period-correct wheel that is coupled with an Offroad Design linkage and Saginaw 708 box, with Red Head Steering Gears to boost hydraulic power.

Pricing

1966 Chevrolet Ponderosa by Rtech Fabrications Exterior
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Rtech is asking $150,000 for the Ponderosa. It is quite steep, but if you take into consideration that this model is over half-a-century old and has been restored to glory, I don’t think it’s that bad.

Final Thoughts

1966 Chevrolet Ponderosa by Rtech Fabrications Exterior
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You don’t come across such meticulous restorations every day, especially when the truck is taken to another level instead of just bringing it back to the factory state. The paint palate used on the Ponderosa looks exquisite. Rtech has made major changes to the drivetrain and that makes this a perfect pickup truck to maneuver on any surface. With the addition of stuff like LED headlights, cruise control, Bluetooth head unit, and deceiving digital gauges, Rtech has managed to integrate modern features while retaining the classic, old-school, retro feels. If there is anything that does not work in the Ponderosa’s favor, it’s the pricing. But, hey, even if the truck is capable of being a daily driver, you will buy it as a collectible, won’t you?

  • Leave it
    • The price
    • Does not have much left from the original 1966 Chevy
    • Maintenance will be troublesome

Source: Rtech Fabrications

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