by Scott Mason

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The community of GM truck lovers stretches far and wide, but at the end of the day, it’s a really tight-knit group. “Hey, do you know so and so?” “The dude with the red ‘73 on 24×15’s? I met him at Dino’s a couple years ago.” It’s like that. 

If you ever make your way to the Carolinas, Mr. Benny Carelock is the guy who everyone either knows or knows of. His list of accomplishments, both in and out of the C10 community, is impressive. In 2020, he made a feverish run at the presidential election. Some paperwork was lost, and he never ended up on the ballot, but that’s another story. He’s also one of the faces behind the scenes of the wildly popular and rapidly growing C10 Fall Revival event in Oakboro, North Carolina. In the midst of this flurry of extra curricular activities last year, he was somehow able to blow apart his perfectly good ‘70 Blazer and resurrect it with a brand new identity in less than 6 months.

I first laid eyes on the latest version of the Carelock Presidential Blazer at last October’s Fall Revival show and Benny gave me the 10-cent tour. “This truck was red 6 months ago,” he told me with a sheepish grin. He sunk the hook and began to reel me in. “Yeah, I decided to take a nice old truck and make it the way I really wanted it.” 

The process began with stripping the Blazer down to its bare bones. Everything came apart and the body was sent out to Dustin Hatley to touch up the bodywork and get everything straight and perfect for Chris Hart to lay down a coat of GM Misty Turquoise and GM Pure White paint. The turquoise is a radical departure from the previous shade of arrest-me-red, but very era-correct and absolutely stunning. The paint dazzles in the sunlight and photos don’t do it justice. 

New glass and trim was added to bring the exterior up to the next level. The interior was refreshed by Darrell Presley with ‘71-72 scroll-style seat covers on the original bucket seats along with complimentary ‘70-71 door panels. New carpet from ACC, a 15” stock-style steering wheel, Kenwood head unit, and Dakota Digital VHX gauges keep that vintage feel alive, with a nod to modern comfort. Chris Dodd crafted a custom ashtray mount for the Accuair control pad.

Underneath the belly of this gentle beast, Slam Specialties bags and Accuair management work together to provide the subtle ride height altitude adjustments. A C-notch in the original frame allows extra suspension travel in the rear without having to cut into the mint factory floor. A set of REV 111 Salt Flat wheels in 20×8.5 and 20×9.5 were painted a custom shade of gold to compliment the new paint on the truck. Sumitomo HTR Z5 tires in 245/40 and 275/40 provide the gription on the tarmac.

Beneath the hood, Benny kept it low key. The understated appearance of a small block Chevy dressed in factory-fresh ‘70’s attire is a refreshing sight. Travis Little put together the good looking 350 and topped it off with a Weiand intake manifold (cloaked in Chevy orange paint) and a Holley 600cfm carburetor. As former Presidential Candidate Carelock puts it, “It ain’t no twin turbo LS, but it gets after it.” More poignant words were never spoken.

Keep an eye out for his Blazer, and make sure you say hi to the legend that is Benny. 2024 can’t come too soon.

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Benny Carelock • ‘70 Blazer
  • Mid-80’s 350ci small block Chevy assembled by Travis Little of Oakboro, NC
  • Weiand intake manifold
  • Holley 4160 600cfk carburetor
  • MSD Street Fire ignition
  • Vintage style cloth-covered plug wires
  • Champion aluminum radiator
  • Dual Flowmaster mufflers
  • 700R4 transmission with stock torque converter
  • Original chassis with rear C-notch
  • Stock rear trailing arms with custom bag mounts
  • CPP front and rear 5-lug conversion
  • CPP adjustable shocks, front and rear
  • Accuair air management
  • Slam Specialties SS7 Air bags
  • CPP panhard bar
  • Rev 111 wheels, 20×8.5 and 20×9.5, custom paint
  • Sumitomo HTR Z5 tires, 245/40R20 and 275/40R20
  • Switch Suspension hood hinges
  • Bodywork by Dustin Hadley 
  • Paint by Chris Hart with code 34 Misty Turquoise and 521 GM Pure white
  • Truck Shop Glass
  • Shaved firewall and one-piece rock guard fabricated by Chad Pyler of Oakboro, NC
  • Custom ashtray mount for Accuair controller by Chris Dodd
  • Dakota Digital VHX Classic Gauges
  • Kenwood DNX5775 head unit
  • JL Audio C2 650 speakers
  • Vintage Air Sure Fit climate control
  • Factory-style 15” steering wheel
  • Original seats with ‘71-72 scroll seat covers
  • ACC carpet
  • Upholstery by Darrell Presley
  • Lokar billet gas pedal
  • Shout: Karmen, Stella and Millie Carelock, Tony, Cody, and entire Smith family, Kasey Harris at Harris Art Co., Steve and Samantha Duncan at Cutting Edge Designs, Dustin Hatley, Chris Hart, Landon Smith, Chad Plyler, Travis Little, Nick Almond, Philip Hatley

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