Eric Blakstad is one of the many specialists that works to ensure the quality and dependability that ZBAG’s remanufactured units are known for. Eric is one of the builders who concentrate on producing rear differentials. He assembles a large quantity of the 10-bolt General Motors medium duty rear differentials produced here, both 8.5 and 8.6 inch.
Eric came to ZBAG in 2011 after about 18 years in the heating and air conditioning industry, but he grew up working on cars. He explains that his dad and uncle own a gas station and he grew up working there, doing general repairs for customers. In his free time, he ran demolition derby cars for almost 20 years. “I got a lot of automotive experience from that,” he recalls. His favorite derby car was a ’73 Chrysler New Yorker. Usually in demolition derby, “you use them once and you’re done,” he says, but he ran the New Yorker a few times and took a second place with it. Eric eventually got out of the demolition derby scene. “It’s pretty expensive,” he noted.
Currently, Eric has a mud truck, a 1969 Dodge, that he enjoys working on and driving in mud bogs. The truck has a ’69 chassis with a ’79 Dodge 360 engine, 727 transmission, and 241 transfer case. Eric did all the engine and transfer case work. A close friend modified the 727 transmission. It has a late model Dodge Dana 60 front axle assembly and a GM 14-bolt corporate rear differential, both of which Eric rebuilt and modified, making this truck extremely durable. He hasn’t been able to spend time on the truck this year due to a fire that destroyed his home, but he plans on competing in 2016.