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by Fuelish Media

Life can take some unexpected turns, even when you think you know exactly where you’re headed. Sometimes, that means ending up in a career that you never thought you’d end up in and yet couldn’t imagine being happier doing anything else. 

Ricky Rosas was always into cars growing up, and it became pretty apparent over the years that he had a natural talent for drawing them. As he approached college age, he decided that he wanted to design vehicles for a living. Being in Northern California, the logical choice was to attend the Academy of Art University. 

Now, a lot of people automatically think of Art Center in Pasadena or CCS in Detroit when transportation design schools get brought up, but the Academy of Art, which has long been respected as a leading design school, also happens to offer degrees in industrial design (which includes automotive design), as well as a newer automotive restoration program. So, this was the perfect environment for Ricky to hone his design skills while still remaining close enough to home to work on his personal automotive projects when time allowed. 

After graduating and evaluating where he wanted to go from there, Ricky realized that going the typical route of working for an OEM wasn’t what he wanted in a career. However, by combining his love of cars, his self-taught experience in automotive body and paint, and his now sharpened sense of design, style, and attention to detail, Ricky figured that he had an edge compared to others in the automotive industry who, perhaps, weren’t as multi-faceted as he now was.

With that in mind, he decided to dive headfirst into building custom vehicles for select clients. But, of course, he also wanted a little something for himself that would not only be an enjoyable cruiser, but a testament to what he was capable of.  After searching out a suitable candidate, he eventually located a ‘58 GMC 100 in someone’s garage. Most of it was there, but there was some rust to contend with, among other issues. Not one to scare easily, Ricky bought the truck and hauled it off to his shop for a proper build.

The GMC went under the knife for the following four years, with Ricky creating a vision that would both appeal to the masses and to those enthusiasts who appreciate quality and a bit of quirkiness. For example, a somewhat knowledgeable car nerd might be able to ID Ricky’s use of ‘60s Volkswagen door mirrors, but we bet only a fraction would recognize the ‘70s Alfa Romeo Spider door handles just below the smoked one-piece door glass. 

It’s details like these that exhibit Ricky’s appreciation for great automotive design and customization, while showing that modifications don’t always have to be in your face to be impressive. With that in mind, when it came time for color, he chose a custom, classy green hue with a hint of yellow pearl to set the hard edges off just right in the sunlight, while the re-chromed original bumpers add their own shine to the exterior. 

And after Ricky worked his magic with the chassis and suspension, giving it a slammed airbagged stance with just the right amount of hot rod rake, he bolted on 20 and 22-inch US Mags wheels with Pirelli 40-series tires. But for that hot rod rake to be legit, the GMC would require something more substantial than its original inline-six engine, and a 6.0L LQ9 fit the bill perfectly. They are, admittedly, not the prettiest engines in factory form, so Ricky hand-fabricated a custom fiberglass engine cover that really complements the truck. 

Once the truck was complete, the real question Ricky had was, would people dig it? After all, he was depending on attracting the right clients with this build, and since so much of the truck was about the details, he worried that the little things he did to set his GMC apart might go unappreciated. Well, all that worrying was for nothing as Ricky’s truck took home a Trick Truck Pick award at the latest Goodguys Pleasanton event. 


  • 2005 Chevrolet LQ9 6.0L engine assembled by Ricky Rosas
  • 2005 4L80E transmission built by Grant & Dan’s Transmission, Fremont, CA
  • Custom fiberglass engine cover by Ricky Rosas
  • Aluminum 20-gallon fuel tank
  • Boxed and notched factory frame
  • Currie 9-inch rear end with 3.73 gears
  • Triangulated 4-link
  • Airbags from AVS
  • RideTech shocks
  • Heidts Mustang II front suspension
  • Willwood front and rear brakes
  • CPP under-cab master cylinder
  • GM rack-and-pinion steering
  • 20x8 and 22x12 US Mags Invader wheels
  • 235/40/20 and 325/40/22 Pirelli tires 
  • Custom green/yellow pearl paint by Rene Rodriguez and Ricky Rosas 
  • Pinstriping by Rich Luna, San Jose, CA 
  • Bodywork by Ricky Rosas
  • 1960s Volkswagen door mirrors 
  • 1970s Alfa Romeo exterior door handles
  • Factory bumpers re-chromed by Moreno’s and Auto & Truck Bumper, Hayward, CA
  • Upholstery done by Alameda Auto Upholstery, Alameda, CA
  • 2003 Volkswagen Beetle bucket seats in mahogany leather
  • Custom door panels and center console
  • Dakota Digital gauges 
  • 13-inch aluminum steering wheel
  • Restomod Air climate control
  • Stereo installed by Ricky Rosas and Ector Berber
  • Pioneer head unit
  • Alpine amplifier
  • Hertz 6.5 speakers
  • Rockford Fosgate Punch 10 subwoofers

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