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Owner: Briah Linn Merinic
Truck: 1997 Ford F350 Crew Cab Long Bed
Every now and then you run into an individual that reminds you not to judge a book by its cover, and that big things sometimes come in small packages. Briah is a third generation owner/operator of a 24/7 family towing business & body shop that has been in the family for 31 years. But don't think for a second that she's a desk jockey. If you find yourself in need of her companies towing services, chances are, Briah will be the one stepping out of the cab when the tow truck arrives.
Briah is a car junkie. On average she owns 5 to 6 vehicles at all times. If she sells one, she simply buys another, fixes it up, and then sells that one as well. She is constantly buying and trading vehicles however, there is one truck that won't be for sale anytime in the foreseeable future. That truck is the first vehicle she ever owned. Normally we would tell you all about Briah's truck, but in this instance we thought we’d let her tell her own story.
I’ve been around diesels since I was in diapers. We always ran old UD cabs over tow trucks, which of course came with Nissan diesel engines, but eventually ended up investing in Fords/International diesels as lighter duty trucks. I learned to drive on those trucks. I learned to enjoy the potent smoke/fumes, the loud stack/no muffler roar, the long lasting life, the power, the torque, how they worked, how they ran, how they broke, how they basically completed our life. I guess it's just something you are either born with or never learn to love. Most little girls were worried about getting Barbie dolls for Christmas, meanwhile I wrote my letter to Santa asking for a tow truck and a wrecked car. Hah, I was never your typical girl. I couldn't wait until I was old enough to get behind the wheel of our loudest, dirtiest truck. We ended up with a 1992 F450 IDI that my dad bought the year I was born. Basically, I grew up with that truck. It made me fall in love with its old, smelly, slow, torque packed self. From day one the 7.3 OBS was my soulmate, and I had to have one. Although I took more interest in the Powerstroke 7.3, just for a little bit more speed and being easier to find. I want to say I was around 14 years old when I made the decision I would find my dream truck. I looked for two years. Two months before my 16th birthday, I came across an old blue and white plow truck from Connecticut while searching eBay for the 900th time. I immediately fell in love, so I just kept looking at it every single day watching my bid time dwindle. It was my dream. 1997 crewcab, longbed 7.3 F350 with 200k miles. It wasn't perfect. It had your typical OBS rust, dents, work truck galore, but to me it was beautiful and had a history. I didn't care; I HAD to have it. I showed my parents, and they literally looked at me like I was insane. They told me it was too old, too rusty, too beat up, find something else, find a newer one, wait longer, let it go, that one isn't good enough, typical parent stuff. At the time I was working for my parents at the shop getting small amounts of money. Instead of taking or spending any money, I had them put money aside for my first vehicle instead of a “paycheck". I thought I had it all figured out with money and dreams, yet here I was not being able to get what I wanted. I was heartbroken. I felt like that truck was already mine, and everyone else just knocked it down. I went to school feeling super bummed the day the truck went off even after leaving my laptop at the shop & BEGGING my dad to bid on it for me (I had no eBay account, and certainly couldn't bid in class hah). He texted me telling me he just couldn't do it, and he let the truck go. I went through the rest of the school day so miserable. When I got to the shop after school, I walked in to get my laptop and do my homework. When I opened the lid to the laptop, a picture of the truck was taped to the screen, along with the confirmation of highest bidder. I had it. I had my truck. Literally happiest day of my life. I remember crying on the floor for about 30 minutes. I still smile when I think about it. We had the truck shipped via car hauler to Harrisburg, about four hours away from where I live. My dad and I had his friend drive us to the yard in Harrisburg, and we drove the truck back the four hours. It was like riding in a big, long, loud dream. I’m pretty sure I slept in it the first night I got it home. I insisted my parents drive it EVERYWHERE for me until I was old enough to do so myself. Don't get it mixed up though, my parents are about the only people I let get behind the wheel hah.
Every single panel on the truck has been replaced from other clean OBS trucks. Briah spent a ton of time and recruited family to help find parts off of trucks mostly in the southeastern US. All of those panels were then straightened, blasted, and painted with DeBeers Gecko Pearlcoat Green paint. The frame was blasted and coated, she also added a Luverne rear drop bumper and a new OEM Ford front bumper.
“No frowny bumpers allowed", she said!
In addition to the restoration, Briah added Bushwacker Extend-A-Flare which helps to give the truck a unique look while adding to the original body lines.
Bed rhino lined
Wheels & Tires
For shoes Briah chose to go with 33 Cooper ST Maxx on DC-2 wheels from Dick Cepek.
Spyder aftermarket headlights and Xenon 6K HIDs.
OEM Ford tow mirrors were added to replace the factory mirrors.
For now Briah's performance modification list is fairly small. Mainly because she has spent so much time restoring the vehicle's exterior, performance has taken a back seat to that. She knows, however, that as an owner of a body shop it is more important to have your truck looking its best than it is to have it go fast. But don't count her out. She has a long to do list of performance upgrades now that the truck is sitting pretty.
Cold Air Intake
AFE stage 2 cold air intake
Briah decided to go custom and had a stainless steel 4" turboback exhaust created for her truck.
TS Performance 6 position switchable chip with stock TS tunes.
Regeared to a 4.10
1. Is your truck male or female & does it have a name?
A. Thor! And he is all male.
2. What is the one diesel event you never miss?
A. I’ve only been to a few small diesel events. Although I am an owner of a beautiful one and love to see people just as passionate about them as I am, I just don't get much time to take off and travel all over to events. Also, I don't care much for the events that consist too much of beer, half naked girls hanging on guys, and kids who know nothing about the truck they have. I guess I get along better with the old guys who use their diesels to pull campers than the young kids who use their trucks to get popular.
3. What is the one piece of advice to those just entering the diesel market?
A. Your truck doesn't have to make anyone happy but YOU. Too many kids who think in order to stand out they have to make their truck be exactly like the rest of the crowd. You don't need to become a truck clone. If you like light bars, get one. If you don't , then don't . If you want to paint your truck seven colors, go for it. If you want to have huge wheels, have them. If you want to stay stock size, stay. It's your money, and it's your truck. Don't let anyone else put it down. Their opinion doesn't matter.
4. What is your favorite #dieseltips?
A. Tip #259 - Girls chase boys that own diesels. Women pass boys in their diesels they own.
5. Favorite place to buy Diesel parts?
A. Thoroughbred Diesel of course! Isn't that obvious? On a real note though, you are the only place I buy parts from simply because they come quick and undamaged. Thanks for being awesome!
6. Is there a mistake you made along the way you would like to warn people against?
A. Don't rush. Toward the end I got antsy because I wanted to drive the truck at the end of my senior year. I put it on the road before I finished the running boards and a few other accessories, and as you can see, I never got around to doing it again. Don't rush because you won't finish it. It's over 2 years later and I'm just getting the time this summer to fully finish the project on him with running boards and whatnot.
Want to keep up with Briah and her build? You can follow her on all the social channels listed below.