John Mata Jr. February 07, 2024 F100 Builders Guide
Photos by Devan Ence
Some might look at this truck, as amazing as it sits in beautiful bare-metal skin, and see transport wheels and its incomplete interior only to ask, Why is it deserving of a spot in print? Why not wait for it to be completed THEN feature it?
While those are valid questions, it’s important to realize that not all project vehicles are built in vain. This 1968 F-100 isn’t exactly on the cusp of being buttoned up for good, but it’s close, and it has come a long way since Taylor Marecle first bought the truck back in 2014. A lot has happened since then—both with the truck and in Taylor’s personal life—and instead of letting things get the better of him, he has instead put things into perspective and has continued in the only direction that truly matters: forward.
Taylor is a custom truck guy through and through. This truck would have been customized and fully built one way or another, but he was faced with circumstances that gave him a unique incentive to press on and raise the bar for the bumpside project he has always wanted. Taylor’s brother Griffin, who was also a big F-100 guy, passed away in a motorcycle accident in 2019. While the two brothers struggled to get along as kids, they fused together as adults through their shared passion for Ford pickups and everything else that goes along with sharing brotherhood and family life.
“I have dedicated my ‘63 build to the memory of my brother and have even named it after him,” Taylor says. “Griffin was the original Fly’n Lion. He never had less than five project trucks going on at once—not to count the 20 friend projects that he was helping with, which he put more time into than his own projects. He was never short on close friends, and I was honored to be included in that group.”
While both Taylor and Griffin enjoyed looking at a clean, classic Ford truck, they were both heavy into performance as well.
While both Taylor and Griffin enjoyed looking at a clean, classic Ford truck, they were both heavy into performance as well. This is what inspired Taylor to secure a 2019 Coyote engine for his ’63, along with a VMP supercharger to add even more power gains to the mix. Oh, and the Tremec Magnum 6-speed transmission he also got would soon make driving the F-100 an absolute blast. Ordering the major parts and supporting components is one thing, but for the much larger scope of customization as far as fabrication and metalwork goes, Taylor made a great decision in asking Sonny Warner of Sonny’s Speed and Kustoms in Twin Falls, Idaho, to assist in these very important categories and then some. Not only did Sonny help in planting the Coyote engine into place, but he has also constructed sheetmetal paneling within the engine bay to fully preface the compartment with more of his excellent craftsmanship to come.
Getting the right stance for the truck was of utmost importance for Taylor, and after bouncing ideas off Sonny on how to get an ideally aggressive ride height, the two settled on a list of modifications to make it happen. To start, Sonny boxed the factory ’63’s frame for rigidity and created exhaust pass throughs that would soon house the custom piping he would later create. A Crown Vic crossmember and Fat Man Fabrications took up residence at the F100’s front end, and a custom 4-link setup was fabbed up along with a through-frame sway bar for the rear. To further promote overall excellent ride quality, Ridetech coilovers were added to each corner to seal the deal on the truck’s modernized chassis system. Upgraded Wilwood braking components for each end were also assembled to ensure the truck’s stopping power would be just as powerful as its momentum.
With the engine and suspension departments shown some attention, Sonny soon moved onto working on the Ford’s 60-year-old body. While the truck didn’t come to Taylor in horrible condition, there was some specialty metalworking that just had to be done to give it that look he knew Griffin would wholeheartedly approve of. Sonny was given free rein of the rest of the upcoming modifications such as the customized factory grille, fresh Holley headlights and the addition of one-off ’73 E-100 Econoline bumpers on each end. A one-off double skinned tailgate with billet emblem was fabricated with the addition of a double walled inner bed, fresh rocker panels under the door, and for kicks, a stealthy gas filler placed behind the left taillight. Taylor and Sonny do have a plan in place for paint to come, but you can’t blame the guys for enjoying the truck as it sits in full bare metal—it is a wonderful sight to behold.
While the interior is in current ongoing progress, big strides have been made such as custom dash and metalwork, along with some awesome touches that will evolve into much more noteworthy condition soon enough. For now, it’s interesting to pay attention to the things that have been done and notice later just how much they have been improved on once the cab space is complete.
“As we make more and more progress on this truck, I can’t help but hope that Griffin is watching in agreement from above,” Taylor comments. “I didn’t realize it at the time, but a lot of the decisions I made in life were in an effort to be just like him.”
As the Fly’n Lion steadily takes its final form, we’re sure that it will go down not only as one of the coolest custom F100s to be unleashed onto the show scene, but it will also carry with it a certain sentimental value due largely in part to its very special namesake. We wish Taylor and all of those involved with the project well with the build phases that are remaining, and we are highly anticipating seeing the finished state of this impressive rolling memorial for the beloved Griffin Marecle.
Engine & Drivetrain
Chassis & Suspension
Body & Paint