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Rule Number One: The customer is never wrong. Rule Number Two: If the customer is wrong, see Rule Number One. How many of us have been obliged to work under such a mandate? The truth is that everyone who draws a paycheck must meet someone's expectations in exchange for a refreshed bank account.
No one works harder to accommodate customers' expectations more than custom-truck builders. Budget constraints, a list of mandated parts, and completion deadlines all combine to make customer satisfaction a very fine line to walk when you're in the business of building off-road trucks. Brandon Briscoe, owner of Twisted Tin Custom Fabrication, has walked this line for several years. "I've had a lot of good opportunities for building project vehicles for people in the off-road industry," he flatly states. "When I built my own personal truck, I thought it would be a good way to show off some of my own ideas and get to build a project the way I wanted."
Here's a bittersweet scene. It seems that we strayed too far from the established vehicle
Brandon's '01 F-150 SuperCrew started life as his daily driver and stayed fairly stock while he was busy building others' toys. His creativity gears were constantly turning, vigilantly waiting for the right time to transform the truck from stocker to shocker. Ford's 5.4L Triton mill is a good one, but a bit more oomph was still needed. Rather than tear into the fresh-out-of-the-box internals, power was pumped up with a Vortech supercharger. The 'charger installation, documented in a previous OR story entitled "Vortech SuperCrew," brought the power levels to 400 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque.
With plenty of power on tap, suspension surgery was next. The tail section was a fairly simple endeavor. Deaver leaf packs combine with Twisted Tin shackles and King bypass shocks mounted to a Twisted Tin bedcage. Done. The front suspension made up for the simplicity of the rear. The Twisted SuperCrew began life as a 4x4, and Brandon wanted to keep the four-wheel drive on tap to extend the versatility of his personal ride. "It's a lot of work when you do it all yourself," he adds. "There are no short cuts for doing it the right way." In this case, the right way meant custom upper and lower control arms, a one-off pair of spindles, and an extensive search for a pair of axleshafts that would span the 5-inch-wider gap between the front differential and the front drive flanges at the wheels. "The plan was to widen the frontend while still keeping the truck as a four-wheel drive and to use two shocks per wheel. The fit was very tight."
Team Off-Road was lucky enough to be on the scene when the completed 'Crew made its first post-build foray into the dirt. The years of planning, building, and waiting paid off with a truck that climbs rocks, rips through sand washes, and carries four people comfortably. Was the Twisted SuperCrew perfect? Almost. "The suspension is a bit soft," Briscoe admitted. "You're always gonna have to change something on a truck that's freshly built." A stiffer set of coils should bring the frontend to an optimal state of tune. We've ended many a truck feature posing the question as to what's next for the truck or its owner. In this case, we already know. Brandon sold the truck. "I'm over it, and I'm getting on with the next thing." The next thing for Twisted Tin's owner is a long-travel A-arm Bug with a 120-inch wheelbase and Chevy LS-1 power. Since we cover everything off-road, we just might intrude on that project's maiden voyage, too. For now, we know that there's a lucky owner out there driving an ultra-capable SuperCrew and that Brandon Briscoe has satisfied customers on both sides of the shop counter.