SWEET ELAINE

A Toast to What’s Im­por­tant in Life

Street Trucks - - CONTENTS - TEXT BY JOHN MATA JR. PHOTOS BY KEVIN AGUILAR

THERE ARE CER­TAIN THINGS THAT GIVE OUR LIVES PUR­POSE. No mat­ter what fate throws at us, these “things”— whether they’re peo­ple, places or ob­jects—give our lives mean­ing. Fam­ily ranks right up there as one of the most im­por­tant, while com­mu­nity, ca­reer and pas­sion­ate in­ter­ests rank pretty high as well. When you’re able to com­bine the as­pects that give your life pur­pose into a sin­gle goal, well, that’s the best of all worlds. Keith Rozelle can def­i­nitely attest to the im­por­tance that fam­ily has in his daily life. “I’ve al­ways been a car guy since I was lit­tle,” he says. “I grew up in Ari­zona, and my dad was al­ways tak­ing me to the drag races ev­ery year when the pros came into town. I have a pic­ture of me in John Force’s Coca Cola car be­fore any­one even knew who he was 30 years ago.”

Keith’s story is prob­a­bly fa­mil­iar to most mo­tor­crazed guys who grew up with cars on the brain and were lucky enough to have some­one to guide their fas­ci­na­tion in a pos­i­tive di­rec­tion.

Keith is 42 now and has a fam­ily of his own, but back when he grad­u­ated from high school in the ’90s, his love of fast, cool cars was con­tin­u­ing to peak. “Back then, mini-trucks were huge. I had a 1974 Dat­sun B210. I in­stantly cut the coils, low­ered it and put a gi­gan­tic stereo sys­tem in it. My dad thought I was crazy.” As you can see, those days of glo­ri­fy­ing low-to-the-floor clas­sics haven’t for­saken Keith. If any­thing, he’s pushed the lim­its fur­ther. “I still love the look of a truck lay­ing on the ground, and now that I’m older and can af­ford a lit­tle more than when I was a 19-year-old kid, things have got­ten more in­ter­est­ing.”

“In­ter­est­ing” may be an un­der­state­ment. Ac­tu­ally, it is an un­der­state­ment if you ap­ply it to the truck that he owns to­day. The truck has the fa­mil­iar power, agility and sound of raw ag­gres­sion that he was ex­posed to watch­ing drag races with his dad, and it has that

low-slung style that shaped his taste in cus­tom ve­hi­cles when he was younger. “I wanted to build some­thing nice,” Keith says. “I’ve al­ways loved the smooth look of the 1967-72 C-10s. As a fam­ily, we all agreed that we wanted a time­less truck that we could keep for a long time and en­joy tak­ing around on the local car show cir­cuit.” Keith; his wife, Athena; and kids, Car­son and Brook­lyn, en­joy go­ing to car shows to­gether. It’s be­come some­thing of a rit­ual for them. They look at all of the ve­hi­cles, not just the trucks, and have gath­ered ideas from street rods, muscle cars and smooth lowrid­ers, which are ap­par­ent when giv­ing their truck a once over. Not so long ago, the hunt was on for a sec­ond gen­er­a­tion C-10. Luck­ily for the Rozelle fam­ily, Keith hap­pened upon one that was clean and in good run­ning con­di­tion. “I drove it around for a year or so, then I met Nate Porter of Porter­built. We were

orig­i­nally talk­ing about just ’bag­ging it to sim­ply put the truck on the ground. That’s all that we had dis­cussed. That plan didn’t last too long once he started working on it.” A straight­for­ward ’bag job is def­i­nitely not what Keith ended up with, but he’d be the first to ad­mit to be­ing happy about how things turned out. A cus­tom chas­sis with front and rear Porter­built Drop­mem­ber sys­tems came to­gether com­plete with com­ple­men­tary Wil­wood brake up­grades and an Ac­cuair-pow­ered air man­age­ment setup. Keith re­al­ized he was deeper in the build than he had first an­tic­i­pated, but he was pleas­antly con­tent with it all the same. With Nate Porter on the job, Keith was able to rest easy know­ing that the truck was go­ing to sit right, while be­ing safe and reli­able enough to take his fam­ily for ex­tended cruises. “I work in the air-con­di­tion­ing business, and my shop is in the same build­ing as Fat Fender Garage. I started go­ing into the shop and chat­ting with Ja­son Noel and the other guys there more fre­quently as the chas­sis was com­ing to­gether at Porter­built. When the time was right, he checked the truck into their care. It was at Fat Fender

Garage where ev­ery­thing else on the truck de­vel­oped into what it is to­day, with the ex­cep­tion of the in­te­rior and stereo work, which were skill­fully tai­lored by Unique Car Au­dio. “I got to see the progress on the truck daily, and have since be­come pretty good friends with Ja­son and Nate, along with their talented teams. These guys didn’t hes­i­tate to go the ex­tra mile.”

Through­out the two-year process Keith and fam­ily wit­nessed the pro­gres­sion of a ma­chine that be­came much more than a just ve­hi­cle. Sure, they have an amaz­ing spec­i­men to take to shows, but their truck car­ries more weight than that. “We named the truck af­ter my late grand­mother, Elaine,” Keith adds. “The col­ors we picked for the truck, we feel, are time­less and el­e­gant, which are words that per­fectly de­scribe Elaine Koblin­ski as a per­son. She will al­ways be in our thoughts when we spend time to­gether at car shows or at home in the garage with the truck.”

As a car guy from the start, and now a fam­ily man, the things that Keith cher­ishes in life have man­i­fested in the form of one beauty of a C-10. Some might not see ev­ery nut and bolt that was re­placed through­out the course of the build, and some might not know the full story of the truck’s name­sake, but that’s OK. He didn’t build it for any­one other than those clos­est to him.

SEAN WARN OF UNIQUE CAR AU­DIO NOT ONLY WIRED UP ELAINE’S SOUND SETUP, BUT ALSO RES­UR­RECTED THE IN­TE­RIOR TO AN ALL-TIME LEVEL OF GLORY ONE STITCH AT A TIME.

JL AU­DIO AMPS AND

SUBS HAVE BEEN NEATLY TUCKED AWAY BE­HIND THE SEAT FOR FULL-BOD­IED SOUND FROM A CUS­TOM COM­PACT EN­CLO­SURE.

THE IN­TE­RIOR SPACE HAS BEEN UP­GRADED WITH STEER­ING FROM SO-CAL SPEED, DAKOTA DIG­I­TAL HDX GAUGES, ICE-COLD AC AND A KEN­WOOD HEAD UNIT TO CON­TROL THE TUNES.

THE FOAM ON THE FAC­TORY BENCH SEAT WAS RE­SHAPED AND COV­ERED IN SUP­PLE BLACK LEATHER WITH CON­TRAST­ING GRAY STITCH­ING.

THE 2015 LS3 GIVES KEITH THE POWER HE WANTS AND A LOOK THAT BRINGS A SMILE TO HIS FACE EV­ERY TIME HE POPS THE HOOD.

NATE PORTER’S HAND­I­WORK IS ON DIS­PLAY UN­DER THE BED FLOOR. A CUS­TOM CHAS­SIS AND REAR DROP­MEM­BER KIT ARE JUST TWO OF THE HIGH­LIGHTS LO­CATED WHERE MOST EYES DON’T SEE.

THIS CHEVY’S BED AC­TU­ALLY HAS MORE BELLS AND WHIS­TLES THAN MOST PEO­PLE WILL NO­TICE AT FIRST GLANCE. IT FEA­TURES ROUNDED COR­NERS, AN AC­TU­ATED BED THAT AD­JUSTS UP AND DOWN AND A CLASSY CUS­TOM FLOOR.

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