Ridetech Pulls Together Another 48-Hour Build
ANYONE WHO’S TURNED A WRENCH ON A CUSTOM TRUCK CAN TELL YOU THAT MAKING A RIDE THAT YOU’RE PROUD TO OWN CAN TAKE YEARS TO ACCOMPLISH. Between tuning the suspension, tweaking the interior and finding the parts to make it all happen, you easily have months of work. The paint and bodywork alone can quickly turn days and weeks into years. So when the Ridetech crew decided that they wanted to build a vehicle in 48 hours, the world said they were ridiculous. But not only did they do it, they did it again, and this year, at the 2017 Barrett-jackson auction (Jan. 14-22, Scottsdale, Arizona) they did it a third time. And boy, it was a doozy.
Let’s break down one of the obvious things about this right off the bat: the time worked on the truck, from start to finish, was 48 hours—just not straight through. “We wanted to have something to show to everyone over the span of a week,” says Steve Chryssos, marketing manager at Ridetech. “We wanted to take that 48-hour timespan and break it down in six-hour increments.” By doing that, not only could they livestream the event to people across the world, they could also show off the build to attendees while it happened. Since the plan was to sell the truck at the auction once they were done, potential buyers could see the build in progress—a rare feat for sure.
To make this all happen, a lot of pieces had to be in place, both literally and otherwise. Weeks before the event, Chryssos and the team at Ridetech were sourcing parts from across the country, coordinating installers and making sure all of their ducks were in a row before a single bolt was turned. In the end, more than a few companies came onboard the project, including American Autowire, So-cal Speed Shop AZ, Hushmat, MSD Ignition, Kicker Stereo, C&R Racing, Vintage Air, Forgeline Wheels, BFG Tires, Fitech EFI, Optima Batteries, Prestone, Detroit Speed, Ringbrothers, No Limit Engineering, Currie, Classic Instruments and Baer Brakes.
Then there was the decision to be made about the kind of vehicle to start with. Ridetech does more than just trucks, so there were tons of options to pick from, but it also had vehicles on hand to choose from. So where to start? For Ridetech, the answer was clear. “The truck phenomenon is undeniable,” Chryssos says. “It just flat-out makes sense to spend money on these things.”
Which brings us back to selecting the truck itself. At first, the idea was to pull something out of its R&D division. After all, it has three second-gen C-10s in its fleet, so it made sense. But then they got to talking to the crew at Barrett-jackson about the situation, and they came across another option. As it turns out, Barrett-jackson had a pristine ’68 GMC right there in Scottsdale to work with. The color wasn’t particularly popular among those involved, but it was a known quantity. They didn’t have to go hunting for trucks, hoping that they weren’t packed with Bondo. Instead, this was a nicely done up truck that just needed a few tweaks. “It was too easy to not use that truck,” Chryssos says.
There’s one other thing that should be mentioned, because it’s completely different from the way most trucks are built. In those situations, it’s usually either a few guys and/or a shop that do all of the hard work throughout the process. Maybe the build shuffles from location to location while things are completed, but generally it comes down to a team of people who come together to make something happen. At its core, that’s what happened here, but it wasn’t just parts from various companies assembled by mechanics; the owners and CEOS of those companies turned the wrenches themselves. That’s right, the Vintage Air unit was installed by the vice president of Vintage Air, and so on down the chain. That’s impressive.
Once all of the parts were assembled and the truck was selected, it was time to head out to the annual Barrettjackson auction at Westworld in Scottsdale, Arizona. Day one focused on a few different components, including the Classic Instruments gauges, American Autowire wiring kit and the Vintage Air airconditioning unit, as well as some general teardown. By day two, progress was made: The engine bay was blacked out to match the new look planned for the exterior, and a C&R Racing radiator was prepared. Day three brought in the Fitech EFI unit and a start to the suspension, which, of course, included a Ridetech Streetgrip suspension, Currie rearend, Baer brakes and tons of other goodies.
At this point, things got interesting. There were a lot of people involved in this build, for obvious reasons. Six hours a day is a very small amount of time to get things done, and it wasn’t like the deadline could be pushed up.
WEEKS BEFORE THE EVENT, CHRYSSOS AND THE TEAM AT RIDETECH WERE SOURCING PARTS FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY, COORDINATING INSTALLERS AND MAKING SURE ALL OF THEIR DUCKS WERE IN A ROW BEFORE A SINGLE BOLT WAS TURNED.”
After all, it was set to go across the block in just a few days. Although the scope of the build might seem small at first, things were getting more complicated. Currie and Baer teamed up to install the rearend, and since they were converting everything to disc brakes, new brake lines were also run up to the front to ensure that aged lines didn’t compromise the system. But there was another problem first discovered on day three. Most GMC trucks came with a leaf spring rear suspension, so that’s what Ridetech prepared for the build, but this truck had been converted to a coil-spring setup somewhere along the way, so the team had to improvise. It was well within the realm of their expertise, so solving the problem wasn’t a big deal, but it’s those little flies in the ointment that have the potential to ruin an entire build.
In that same vein, there are always things that come up at the last minute that you just can’t plan for. Usually they require a quick trip to a local hardware store, but that wasn’t easy for the team to manage for multiple reasons. Fortunately, two companies saved the day. United Pacific Industries supplied a few parts for the build, and SO-CAL Speed Shop Arizona also delivered parts, usually with perfect timing. Big kudos go out to those two for coming through in the clutch.
By day five, the crew had turned a corner. The rear suspension was done, as was the Fitech EFI system and the No Limit fuel tank and cap. The Kicker stereo was ticked off the to-do list in addition to the Retrosound kick panels, and Hushmat came in to install a full kit to keep the noise levels down in the ’68. The C&R Racing radiator was installed, all of the fluids from Prestone were filled, the Lokar pedals were installed, the wiring was completed, and the Optima battery was installed with a Detroit Speed billet holddown—point being, things were going well.
THE INTERIOR WAS POLISHED OFF AS WELL, AND THE LITTLE DETAILS STARTED TO FALL IN PLACE LIKE THE DOOR HANDLES, MIRRORS AND SO ON. EVEN THE BILLET HOOD HINGES FROM RING BROTHERS WERE INSTALLED. THINGS WERE LOOKING UP.”
Day six brought more of the same. With the Forgeline wheels and BF Goodrich tires installed, the truck was lowered off the jack stands for the first time in almost a week. The interior was polished off as well, and the little details started to fall in place, like the door handles, mirrors and so on. Even the billet hood hinges from Ring Brothers were installed. Things were looking up.
Or they were until the afternoon turned the traditionally perfect Scottsdale weather into a full-on rainstorm. That pushed back the exhaust work a bit, and as day seven rolled in, the floor of the build space was still soaked. “The wrap guys, being the last in line, really got it the worst,” Chryssos says. “They were working in a minor lake.” Eawraps, the company in charge of the vinyl wrap job, came in to lay a custom matte black vinyl over the top of the truck, then separated the black from the green with a single orange stripe. “I would absolutely think twice about putting one of my hot rods back into paint jail knowing that this is a viable option,” Chryssos says. That
THE ORIGINAL TRUCK WAS AT A GOOD STARTING POINT, BUT IT DEFINITELY NEEDED SOME IMPROVEMENTS.
FITTING THE SMALL-BLOCK V-8 WITH A FITECH FUEL-INJECTION SYSTEM ADDED AN EXTRA LEVEL OF RELIABILITY TO THE TRUCK.
A CURRIE REAREND WAS PAIRED WITH THE RIDETECH SUSPENSION AND BAER BRAKES, MAKING FOR A KILLER COMBO.
BETWEEN THE KICKER STEREO SYSTEM AND THE AMERICAN AUTOWIRE HARNESS INSTALLATION, THERE WAS A LOT OF WORK TO BE DONE UNDER THE DASH.
DOING A WRAP IN A CROWDED AREA CAN’T BE FUN, BUT WHAT MAKES IT WORSE IS DOING IT IN RAINY AND FLOODED CONDITIONS.
TO FILL THE NASTY GAP LEFT BY THE FACTORY AIRCONDITIONING BOX, THIS CUSTOM
PLATE WAS MACHINED AND ENGRAVED TO COMMEMORATE THE BUILD.
THIS CUSTOM GAS FILLER COVER WAS MADE JUST FOR THIS BUILD, AND IT DOES A GOOD JOB OF HIDING THE ORIGINAL HOLE WITHOUT REQUIRING PAINT.
THESE BILLET HOOD HINGES BY RING BROTHERS CLEAN
UP THE MAMMOTH FACTORY MODELS NICELY.