Wayne Cook
August 1, 2008

Step By Step

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At this point, the Comet looked good and ran smoothly. You might have expected Dominic to be a happy man at this juncture, but it turned out he wasn't completely satisfied. The engine pirated from that '88 5.0L was getting tired, and Dominic realized this was his chance to build his own engine, something he always wanted to do. After talking it over with his dad, the decision was made to rebuild the V-8 using an Eagle stroker kit, with the longer stroke crank bumping the displacement out to 347 ci. Other engine components were scaled up to meet the demands of the increased internal volume. For example, the throttle body size was enlarged to {{{90}}} mm, and the exhaust system is a big 3 inches in diameter, from the header collector all the way out to the tip of the tailpipes.

It sounds to us like Dominic and his dad have a good handle on how to go about resurrecting a classic Ford car. The father and son team did about 90 percent of the work themselves on this project.

Dominic now enjoys working on classic Fords so much that he has decided to start his own business, tentatively called Dominator Motorsports. We admire his courage and wish him the best of luck in his new venture. It certainly didn't take him long to go from a high school novice to being something of an expert at the ripe old age of 22.

The Details
Dominic Palazzolo's '64 Mercury Comet 404 Engine

  • 347ci stroked Ford V-8
  • 4.030-inch bore
  • 3.400-inch stroke
  • Eagle forged-steel crank
  • Eagle forged-steel I-beam connecting rods
  • Keith Black pistons
  • 10.0:1 compression ratio
  • Howard's Camshafts solid roller cam with 0.619/0.632-inch lift
  • Edelbrock Victor Jr. aluminum cylinder heads
  • 2.05-inch intake, 1.60-inch exhaust valves
  • Heads polished and port-matched
  • 1.60:1 Ford Racing Performance Parts (FRPP) roller rockers
  • {{{Probe}}} Industries aluminum intake manifold
  • 90mm '03 Cobra mass air sensor and throttle body
  • FRPP 42-lb/hr injectors
  • Dominator Motorsports 3.5-inch induction and filter
  • MSD 6AL ignition
  • Ford distributor


  • Tremec five-speed manual
  • BBK Ripper shifter


  • Ford Explorer 8.8-inch axle narrowed 3 inches overall
  • 3.73 gears
  • 31-spline axles


  • Patriot headers, 1 5/8-inch primary diameter, 3-inch collectors
  • 3-inch aluminized-steel exhaust system
  • Hooker Aero Chamber mufflers


  • Front: '65-'66 Mustang upper and lower control arms, lowering springs, Koni adjustable shocks, 1 1/8-inch antisway bar, manual steering
  • Rear: rear leaf springs dearched and turned over; springs relocated forward, Koni adjustable shocks


  • Front: Granada disc, 11-inch rotors
  • Rear: Explorer disc, 10-inch rotors


  • Front: Halibrand Cobra III, 18x8 inches
  • Rear: Halibrand Cobra III, 18x9 inches


  • Front: BFGoodrich KDW, P265/35ZR18
  • Rear: BFGoodrich Drag Radial, P295/35R18


  • '90 Tempo bucket seats; aqua and teal vinyl and suede upholstery; aqua replacement carpeting from Dearborn Classics; stock steering wheel; Auto Meter tachometer and gauges for oil, water, volts and fuel; Ford CD six stereo in glovebox, 6x8 speaker front, 6x9 speakers mounted on rear package tray


  • Oxford white PPG single stage, paintwork by Pankow Center in Clinton Township, Michigan; original 404 trim; Crites BFX ram air hood; high-beam ram-air induction setup