Looking over his current stable of big, rolling beasts, you’d find it hard to believe Ramiro Rodriguez’s passion for trucks all started with a scrappy little Dodge D-50. “Working in the ag industry, I was born and raised in trucks,’ explains Ramiro. His passion for hard-working haulers has gotten larger, much larger. Now, he’s fallen in love with Chevrolet’s classic C-series line of trucks but special heavy-duty 50 series versions.
A Two-Door ‘Duke’
His current project is a K50 Blazer, nicknamed the ‘Bulldog’. The truck debuted at the 2019 SEMA Show and was built by Rtech Fabrications, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The shop launched in 2013 and since then has made a name for themselves building some truly hard-working haulers. Owner, Randall Robertson, has a long motoring background full of on, and off, road experiences and wants his creations to be ready for duty. “I’ve always loved trucks,’ explains Randall. “But I love the trucks that can be used. We design everything for the extreme. All of our products are built to be worked hard.”
The idea for this Blazer came about from The Duke, another truck built by the shop. That big brute began as a 1972 Chevrolet C50 but was converted into a K50 crew cab truck. “Someone edited images of it to see what it look like as a two-door version,’ explains Ramiro. “It was just what I wanted.”
One Big Blazer
The project kicked off in 2018 and while the whole rig screams the familiar Blazer, the only component utilized from the iconic K5 ute is the windshield frame. The rest of the truck is sourced from Chevy’s much larger C50 trucks, which typically pulled duty in industrial and military spaces. They were produced from 1967 through 1972. In addition, many of the components are custom made and hand fabricated to achieve the right look. For example, the rear fender flares are front flares that have been heavily reworked. “We didn’t set out to make a C50 pickup,’ explains Randall. “We wanted this to look like it started off as a full-size Blazer.”
Under the brute’s big hood is a Cummins 5.9L diesel engine making 550 horsepower. It’s paired to a 47Rh hydraulically shifter performance transmission. The truck’s brakes retain the factory calipers but have been upgraded with drilled and slotted rotor and steel braided and coated brake lines. At each corner, are custom powder-coated American Force wheels in a mirror black finish, wrapped in massive 40x20x15.5 Toyo tires. “We don’t use anything smaller,’ laughs Randall. “Those big wheel wells need big tires to fill them out.” Up front, as with all of the C50 series trucks RTech builds, a Dana 60 axle was installed.
Inside the open-air cockpit, Randall and his crew took inspiration from the Blazer’s ‘Highlander’ trim, adding in striking yellow plaid fabric to the seats, center console, and door panels. The seats are from a 2010 GMC Sierra but have had their headrests removed for a more retro look. The rear seat utilizes a K5’s rear seat frame but has been remade with modern foam. More modern tech comes by way of items like a backup camera, new sound system, and air-to-air intercooler and AC condenser with a high-powered fan. RTech Fabrications also created a custom roll cage and one of a kind soft top.
The truck was completed just two weeks before the start of the SEMA show. The first time Ramiro saw the finished product, he knew it was a winner. “To see this big, beautiful monstrosity coming at you, it was love at first sight,’ recalls Ramiro. “Randall and the team nailed it.”
With gleaming paint and a spotless finish, Ramiro didn’t want to rack up any test miles but don’t think this brute is merely a polished trailer queen. “After a few more shows, we’re going to take it out and get it dirty in the mud,’ gushes Ramiro. “I can’t wait to drive it.”