Monster trucks are far from the reach of Brazilians. But classics are still easily found in the second-hand trade. Some have been restored, others modified.
However, in the United States things are different. There, there are several companies enabled in this type of modification and with each passing day they become more popular. This is the case of Rtech Fabrications Ponderosa, a company specializing in classic Chevrolet and GMC pickup trucks made between 1967 and 1972.
Their latest novelty is a D20 monster truck, but with a dual rear wheelset. Even the name is very macho: Ponderosa. The stunt truck was discovered by the folks at Autoblog.
At no less than 6.10 meters long, it is 75 centimeters longer than an S10 double cabin. The Ponderosa is monstrous in everything, even at the price of $150,000, equivalent to R$ 620,000. The height of 2.43 meters makes NBA basketball players look like caps. And the wheelbase of 4.44 meters is equivalent to the total length of an average sedan like the Toyota Corolla.
The Ponderosa is that kind of pickup that could already come standard with an American flag. In fact, the brand has already released photos of its other models with a huge flag of the country.
Based in the interior state of Idaho, the preparer used the bodywork of a 1966 K30 model, a relative of the old Brazilian Chevrolet D (diesel), A (alcohol) and C (gasoline). But the chassis is from the K30 1972, a more recent version of the picapona. The result is a light green monster with all the retro feel on a mini truck chassis.
A restomod doesn't have to follow the restoration to the letter. There is room for some “sacrileges”. In the case of this Chevrolet, the use of a Chrysler engine in place of the V8 Chevy is the biggest one. Cummins' 5.9 turbodiesel came from the second generation of RAM.
To yield much more than the original, the six-cylinder in-line gained new valve commands, pistons, injectors, as well as reworked exhaust and intake. The big miracle, however, came from the much beefier turbo and intercooler.
There are 557 horsepower and no less than 248 kgfm. It's the kind of strength capable of carrying a medium-sized truck and many tons on its back.
Just imagine the roar emitted by the Flowmaster exhausts. We hope for something apocalyptic. The engine seat should not be too small either. At least that's what we imagine when looking at the size of the tank (227 liters).
Interestingly, there is no automatic transmission. The gearbox is a five-speed manual and the transmission handle has only the indication of four gears. Would it be a retro touch? According to the folks at Autoblog, no. The detail is yet to be fixed.
The structure is almost a Schwarzenegger version of the original. Structural rigidity was reinforced by roof braces, extra spot welds and the use of thicker steel. The chassis gained extra tubes on the sides and the front also underwent reinforcements to withstand the shock of an electric winch capable of unblocking a tank.
The other specifications meet both the pick-up trucks and the more brucutus jeeps. The rigid axles are Dana 60 and 70 and have an articulation capability capable of copying any terrain. The dual (front) and quad (rear) shocks are from Bilstein. Despite the use of leaf springs, ride comfort is guaranteed by technologies coming from trucks, examples of which are hydraulic bushings between chassis and cabin. In the video below, the Ponderosa appears to roll smoothly over the grass.
Affection is everywhere. The green paintwork and white ceiling reek of the 60s, while the interior metal trim is original. The sound system has a retro look and seems ready to announce the death of Kennedy or some news about the war in Vietnam or the space race, but it is a modern device by RetroSound and the speakers and amplifier are by Kenwood.
The time travel is reinforced not only by the monochromatic and chrome cabin, but also by other elements typical of the cabins of that time, among them, the horn activated by the steering wheel rim and the horizontal speedometer. The old GPS and compass coexist harmoniously.
Like other restomods, there are modern elements to bridge the gap between the ancient world and the current one. The LED headlights are the most eloquent examples and make a perfect contrast to the chrome grille. There is room for handcrafted details, such as the ash slats used for the bucket cradle.
The comforts are from 2019: there is no lack of air conditioning, power steering and a practical cruise control. The great thing is to embed all these technologies in the most discreet way possible. Even the turbo pressure gauge is hidden in place of one of the control buttons on the panel.
To top it off, no power windows: the cranks serve as a reminder of an era when having a big pickup was synonymous with making an effort. Along with climbing on the way in, it will be the only exercise the occupants will have to do.
Behind, the interior space is larger than the living room of many modern apartments. The monstrous wheelbase is so far from the front seats that you could stretch your legs like you would in a Business Class plane.
As blunt as the look is, there are handcrafted details like the leather upholstery on the top of the dashboard, a luxury that pickup trucks at the time didn't even know was possible. The seats covered in curvy and fabric are the same as in the Sport 1966 line.
All the delicacy of the finishes is a counterpoint to the rough look of the suspension and truck wheels. At 22 inches, they have ten nuts and wear offroad tires. Traction is temporary 4X4 (rear-wheel drive in normal use). After all, it wouldn't do well for an animal that size to get stuck in the mud.
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