This article originally appeared in the October 2021 issue.
For most people, building the truck is the journey. I’ve got my lift on; now what wheels and tires do I want? What would be a good accent color to my paint job? Do I really need these bigger injectors? Ben Maurer’s build journey started much earlier than most. His upbringing shaped who he is and how he would build his 2016 F250 Lariat 7.3L Power Stroke.
The old saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Ben follows this to a T. In fact, he might’ve invented the saying, but don’t quote me on that. His wife, Nicole, tells Ben that he finds a way to fall into things that benefits him. Things just seem to work out.
“I like to look at the positive things in life,” Ben explained. “My philosophy is, if you couldn’t handle something, it wouldn’t happen. Through the good, through the bad, whatever life throws at you, there’s a silver lining to it and it’s just the way I go about looking at things. It’s a positive attitude. It’s been with me since my teenage years. Even when something doesn’t go the way I expect it to, there’s a momentary ‘Oh, why did this have to happen?’ A couple hours later it’s like, ‘Okay, this happened. What can we do with it?’ I like to solve problems.”
Ben likes to find meaning in things. This Aristotle, Plato-esque philosophical mentality reaches every part of his life, including bowling.
A high school friend had a couple old bowling balls he no longer used and offered them to Ben. After playing for a while, that friend asked Ben to join a bowling league and according to Ben, bowling teaches you to be humble.
“It has made me better not only in that sport but it forces me to adjust what I’m doing in certain scenarios too,” Ben said. “There are so many variables. You can throw every ball perfect and still not get a strike.”
Ben’s ability to see the good in things means that in July 2015, when he was standing on the side of a ditch just minutes after climbing through the back window of his flipped donor truck, he was already planning his next build.
Another vehicle turned in front of his at the last second, causing Ben’s truck to roll on its side and slide 100 yards. Two bystanders then helped Ben out the back window — the only glass not shattered. Ben had a clean cab he was planning on using on the truck now wrecked just a few feet from him, so while waiting for the police officer to talk to him the thought came: If I have a clean cab already, what else can I do?
Ben worked long hours at a 300,000-acre farm, giving him plenty of hours to think about his build while driving tractors.
“The goal from the get-go was I want to build something unique,” Ben remembered. “I will build something that no one else has done and I want to keep it as true to the Ford brand as I possibly can. The basic thought was, if there’s a factory Ford part option out there for what I want to do, I want to maintain that so you could pass it off as a Ford factory built truck — if they so choose to do something like this.”
Besides the transmission build, all the work is self installed by Ben’s hands, in his driveway, with occasional help from a friend and his father-in-law.
Modifications include adding custom tunes from DP Tuner after installing Swamps Diesel Performance single-shot injectors. From the aFe Power cold air intake to the Garrett GTP38R turbo then out the 4-inch MBRP straight pipe exhaust, Ben built his truck the way he wanted it.
Other mods included CNC Fabrication HPOP lines, Strictly Diesel regulated return and fuel banjo bolts, short throw shift kit, Diesel Innovations stainless headers, heat wrapping from Design Engineering Inc., custom stainless door sills, custom aluminum wire trough at the back of the engine compartment and Calvert Racing CalTracs.
For the most part it’s a finished build, besides one thing.
“I’m in a revolving door of deciding what my permanent headlight situation is going to be,” he admitted. “The original headlights that I have in it were a smoked aftermarket set of headlights, but I’m not satisfied with the quality of them.”
Despite dissatisfaction with the headlights, Ben and The Vengeful One recently won Best of Show in the East Coast Diesel Nationals Show and Shine.
The Vengeful One
Ben grew up a huge Disturbed fan and while completing the build, they released an album with a song called “The Vengeful One.” After everything he went through from the crash to the rebuild, Ben felt like it fit for his truck’s name. Not only that, but he did it his way.
“I don’t like to do things the way other people do it,” Ben said. “I like to come up with my own combination in everything I do. I like to retain a somewhat factory look and the fact that until I pop the hood or turn the key, no one knows what it is. It’s a sleeper.”
Besides an extremely supportive wife, without whom Ben says he couldn’t have completed [The Vengeful One], he found additional support in an unlikely place: an Instagram group for Ford Mustangs (@strayponiesofig). Despite being the only truck owner in the group, Ben feels like he’s found a place he fits in
“It’s a bunch of Mustang people who basically feel like they don’t like how a lot of car shows go, that the way the judging is, is kind of biased. We’re all kind of a barrel of misfits. We all get along together. It’s kind of a running joke that I’m the only truck in an all-Mustang, or all-Ford group.”
Stray Ponies of IG has helped Ben get out to more shows to show off his sleeper, which surely will bring home more hardware going forward.
Design Engineering Inc.
Garrett Advanced Motion