A Farm Boy’s Dream

November 2021 Feature Gus Surdu

This article originally appeared in our September 2021 issue.

A couple hundred miles or so east of Salt Lake City, Utah, lies Vernal, a town of about 10,000. It’s certainly not a big city, but then again Taylen Nielsen has never been a city kid. Taylen spends his time working at a power plant in Vernal, training and caring for his four horses and, of course, working on his 1995 F250 7.3L Power Stroke.

A Street Princess

In a dreamland with perfect weather Taylen’s OBS might actually have worked as his daily driver. Unfortunately, Utah sees its fair share of snow and with snow comes salt and with salt comes rust. For a diesel enthusiast like Taylen, any damage to his truck is a personal insult to his character.

Taylen named his pickup Phyllis but thanks to his over protective nature, and the two or three car washes it gets a month, the truck took on a name of its own.

“I call it Phyllis but everyone in my family calls it the Street Princess,” he explained. “Everybody makes fun of me for not driving it in the snow and salt and in the rain. I don’t drive it off-road very often anymore so that’s just how it got the name Street Princess. I’m just fine with that, I like the name Street Princess for it because I treat it like a princess.”

Of those making fun of him and his diesel is his wife, Keeley, who recently gave birth to their son, Clay.

“My wife,” Taylen mused, “I have to give her a lot of praise because she’s put up with this crazy diesel mechanic habit that I have of wanting to deck this truck out as pretty as it can be. It hasn’t been her most favorite of things to deal with but at the end she’s always happy about this truck.”

Paying Attention To The Details

Keeley can thank Taylen’s brother for his diesel obsession. His brother owned a 2001 lifted Super Duty with an extended cab and in high school he let Taylen help work on it. His love grew from there and he bought his Ford in college.

“It was bone stock,” Taylen said. “It had nothing done to it at all. It was exactly what I wanted and it’s been a work in progress ever since.”

He performed a Dana 60 swap and straight piped it, but thanks to a financially responsible wife, Taylen agreed to not put any more work or money into Street Princess until it was fully paid off.

Two years later, Taylen went to work on the upgrades.

He gave it a lift followed by a 2.5-inch PMS reverse shackle kit and drove it like that for a year and a half. “I was happy with it and I was going to just live with it like that,” he explained. “One day I was coming home from practice for team roping and I was coming up this little hill in Vernal and it cracked a piston on me. I put a 38r turbo on it before that as well as an intercooler. I think the turbo helped crack the piston. Those pistons on the 7.3L are just prone to cracking. I told my wife, ‘I’m not getting rid of this truck because I love it.’ I told her I was going to build a motor for it. She wasn’t the happiest to hear that but she knew it was worth it so I ordered a short block from Dynamic Diesel.”

Taylen had an old co-worker he described as a “perfectionist machinist, mechanic and welder” who built the custom 200/30 injectors. A flow test showed they all came back within a half a percent of each other. Not bad for homemade.

Naturally Taylen’s favorite parts of Street Princess are the things that make it look pretty. For him, the 33x12.50x20 Toyo AT3 tires on Anthem 20x12 wheels did the trick.

“I like a good-looking truck,” Taylen reiterated. “I can live without power, but I hate looking at a stock grandpa truck that is just ugly.”

This diesel certainly isn’t the stock grandpa it was when Taylen first bought it in 2013. As a mechanic and welder himself, he built the fuel system, made all the brackets and even crafted his own traction bars.

Additional modifications include a 66/73 turbo from KC Turbos, Riffraff Diesel Performance fuel banjo bolts with 6673 air filter and cover, a custom headliner and naturally a cowboy hat rack.

Horses And Diesels

For our uninitiated big-city diesel enthusiast readers, team roping consists of a duo working together on horseback to tie up a steer, with one rider roping the horns and the other the hind legs. Taylen uses Street Princess to tow his horses to team roping competitions all over Utah, Colorado and even up into Idaho and Wyoming.

“I have won two different saddles team roping and always trying to win another,” he said. “I have won a lot of belt buckles too.”

Taylen personally trains his horses for the competitions, his first love before he was ever interested in diesel pickups. But he finds a way to combine the two.

“Trucks and team roping are my hobbies,” Taylen concluded. “When I win team roping it helps pay for my truck parts. It's nice when I get done roping and I get to ride home in my sweet OBS truck.”



Anthem Off-Road






Dynamic Diesel




KC Turbos




Riffraff Diesel Performance




Toyo Tires



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