Gennie: The Drool-Worthy Dropped Diesel Dodge Dually
For many of us, building cars and trucks is a hobby. It's something we’re passionate about, and we spend our weekends tinkering on and dreaming of a finished masterpiece in the garage. For Humberto Ortiz, hot rods are much more than just a hobby. They are a way of life.
Running a custom chassis and suspension fabrication shop called Vulcan Specialties in Lubbock, Texas, Humberto definitely knows his way around a truck. He has built numerous cars and trucks both for himself and customers over the years, but when his family got a little bigger, he knew it was time for something a little different. Humberto wanted to build a something that he could take his kids cruising around in, so a crew cab was in order.
The platform he landed on was an ‘80s Dodge D350 Dually. Having four doors and a long bed was a must, but that was really his only criteria since Humberto could modify or build the rest of it to his specifications. Eventually, he found the truck he had been looking for in Midland, Texas. Although it was rough around the edges and wasn’t exactly pristine, it had one very big bonus tied to it. The stock engine was replaced many years ago with a Cummins 12-valve turbo-diesel and NV5600 6-speed manual transmission. It wasn’t until an entire year after buying the D350 that Humberto began working to shape his dream truck, which would later be nicknamed Gennie.
Beginning the Build
Nevertheless, he got busy planning the build. A low-riding dually on airbags with big wheels, turbo-diesel and manual transmission already sounds like a dream to many truck enthusiasts, but this was not going to be any ordinary build. Humberto began tearing the truck apart, down to its cab and chassis, so he could start from a clean slate. The front suspension was custom-built, retaining only the factory spindles.
After buttoning up the steering and sway bar in front, Humberto moved to the back half of the truck. Again beginning with a clean slate, Humberto cut off the existing frame rails and constructed entirely new ones from 2x6-inch square steel tubing. The rear suspension consists of an extra-long 4-link system on airbags. Humberto also built a heavy duty sway bar to ensure the truck stayed stable and comfortable even when hauling heavy loads. The rest of the frame was boxed for reinforcement in certain areas, featuring all-new cross-members to hold the transmission, fuel tank, driveshaft loop and gooseneck hitch.
When the chassis work was finished, Humberto moved onto other integral body parts that needed attention. Starting with the firewall, inner fenders and roof skin, Humberto reworked and replaced all the sheet metal himself. Then it was time to build the truck bed to his liking. Humberto built custom boxes to house the electrical system, as well as the air-over-hydraulic brake system. Because this truck was still going to be used to haul stuff around, Humberto built custom hidden bed rails into the bed sides for cargo tie-downs.
While the body was sent off for bodywork and paint, Humberto took the opportunity to coat the entire frame to inhibit corrosion. This was also a good time to reassemble all the chassis components and get everything ready to drop the body back onto.
Relicate Leather Interior
Now a full two years into building Gennie, Humberto was ready for the final assembly. While the truck was taking shape, he had the interior completely redone by Mario’s Trim Shop with Relicate Leather products. The entire wiring was also redone for a clean and functional finished product.
Wheels and Tires
When it finally came down to the roller stage, Humberto chose a set of Nitto NT420S all-season truck tires with a custom red pinstripe for a classic look that matches the color combination he chose for the truck. The NT420S tires provide year-round performance and a quiet, comfortable ride. To really give off the real resto-mod dually truck look, Humberto was careful in his sizing, choosing a set of 265/40R22 front tires and 285/40R22 rear tires wrapped in 22-inch American Force wheels, in a brilliant chrome finish.
You might have noticed some of the body pieces resemble other classic trucks. That’s because Humberto put a custom twist on the Dodge body by incorporating a pair Chevy C10 bumpers, C30 dually fenders and a classic Chevy ribbed roof skin. Even the paint is from Chrysler SRT vehicles, with a Bright White base and Granite Gray accent. This hybrid Dodge/Chevy body makes this truck truly one-of-a-kind, and the execution is so seamless that you’d likely say they belong on the truck to begin with.
The final push for Gennie’s debut later that year at the Lone Star Throwdown put Humberto into high-gear, but he was able to pull it off to and make it to the show for its unveiling. Humberto has many people to thank for helping make this project a rolling show-stopper. He owes much to his family, especially his father for always being willing to lend a hand, and his wife for supporting him through the long nights and endless hours required for a build of this magnitude. In addition to his family, Humberto would like to mention the following local businesses for their help with the build: West Texas Auto Colors, Lubbock Bolt Bin, Farmers Hose Supply, Benitez Mobile Truck Repair, Elite Media Blasting, Seminole Diesel Service and Mario’s Trim Shop. We know all too well the amount of work and dedication it takes to create something truly unique and inspiring, but in Humberto’s eyes, being able to cruise around with his family and share his passion with them in the truck makes it all worth it.