For the wide variety of trucks offered each year, there are combos that were never made. RTech Fabrication in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, has filled the breach by offering some killer combinations and body styles of vintage trucks Chevy never made. The trucks are a mashup of restored and customized, with a lot of fabrication thrown in.
One we especially like is called “The Duke.” Does it look like a nicely restored 1972 Chevy crew cab pickup? Even down to the color? Well, it is but it isn’t.
Chevy Never Made Crew Cabs In 1972
First, Chevy never made a crew cab in 1972. It built Suburbans, but not crew cabs. Aftermarket coachbuilders built a few, but not many. Also, by the front end, you can see this is a heavy-duty Chevy truck that was called a C50. These big dogs were used in extreme heavy-duty applications where a company didn’t need to go that extra step and purchase a Peterbilt or Kenworth. Your typical half-ton Chevy pickup was a C10 for comparison.
Standard truck bodies were used on a C50 chassis but these heavy-duty chassis were taller than a C10 pickup frame. Because of this Chevy designed taller front ends used along with larger fuel tanks and running boards mounted on each side below the body. They looked larger because they were larger. More imposing, also.
So, what you are seeing is a combination of two different configurations of the 1972 Chevy truck that were never made or combined. Actually, both. Confused?
RTech Made A Truck Chevy Never Built
RTech found a C50 cab and front end from a moving truck and fabricated a crew cab body from a combination of the cab, extra cab doors, and Suburban top and pieces stitched together. Because all of the pieces are factory sheetmetal, and because RTech kept the fabrication as if Chevy actually made trucks like this, it looks like Chevy did. But, it didn’t.
Under the hood and throughout the chassis adhering to 1972 was thrown out the window. A 5.9-liter Cummins 6BT diesel engine from a 1996 Ram powers this beast. Hooked to the diesel is a NV4500 manual transmission combined with a NP205 transfer case. The 20-inch KMC Hoss 2 wheels are wrapped with 40-inch Nitto Trail Grappler tires. The one-ton axles are a Dana 60 front, and a 14-bolt rear.
Authentically Not Authentic
Once the body was fabricated it was covered in a stock 1972 Chevy truck ochre color combined with fleet white. Remember that nasty plaid GM used inside of its trucks from the back in the day? The Duke was upholstered in the yellow and black plaid combo called “Highlander Plaid” to tie in with the whole “factory-original” look. We hated it then, we love it now.
While the stock-looking steel dash panel seems factory original, it has had air conditioning vents and a display screen added that you’d swear was how they came in 1972. Yes, you could get factory air in 1972, but it didn’t look this fully-integrated. No, you couldn’t get the screen because that would have been out of a Jetsons cartoon if Chevy had it then.
RTech goes out of its way to give components a factory finish-look, so there is not a lot of fancy chrome or polished aluminum. The engine compartment looks like it could have come from the factory this way, though we know it didn’t.
In all, it took RTech three years to finish the Duke. We first saw it at the 2017 SEMA Show. Since then it has been shown, used, and been a marketing tool for other truck “restorations” that never existed. Motor Biscuit will show you more from RTech in later posts.