The beautiful Oxford White '64 Mercury Comet 404 you see here is owned and operated by Dominic Palazzolo of Clinton Township, Michigan. Dominic grew up in the heart of Ford country and he was weaned on Blue Oval lore while visiting the car shows and racetracks of his youth. There was a strong family influence as both his father and uncle were hard-core Ford musclecar fanatics. So complete was his exposure that when the time came for him to get a driver's license and find his own ride, only a classic Ford would cut the mustard.
Dominic's taste had been influenced by the great Ford musclecars from the Total Performance years, such as the Fairlane Thunderbolt and Boss 429 Mustang. So at age 15 he began his quest, looking for either a '64 Fairlane or Falcon. As a high school student, Dominic wasn't exactly rolling in dough, but he managed to cobble together the princely sum of $2,500 to put down toward a driveable project. However, the hunt got off to a slow start because, as many of our readers are no doubt aware, a classic Ford automobile, particularly one with two doors, is hard to find for that sum unless a very special deal comes along.
Such a deal did, indeed, manifest itself when Dominic's father noticed this '64 Mercury Comet for sale in a newspaper. The two went to look at the car that same night. What they found was an original-condition, six-cylinder-powered, two-door sedan. Although the driveline was nothing to write home about, the body was in nearly perfect shape with minimal rust and no collision damage. Dominic had hoped to find a hardtop for his first car, but it didn't take long for him to warm up to the sedan or "post" body style. The factory called it the 404, and even to this day, the car has a sturdy and business-like look to it that many classic Ford fans seem to appreciate. The post body is also a good choice for racers, because the added strength of the solid B-pillar makes it more resistant to flexing than either a convertible or pillarless hardtop.
Only 27,774 miles showed on the odometer of this one and, considering that the car was well within Dominic's ballpark price range, the little Merc' was just too sweet to pass up. Finally, after a bit of haggling, a purchase price of $2,650 was agreed on, with the extra 150 bucks coming courtesy of Mom and Dad. Little did the three of them know that a six-year-long restomod adventure had begun.
Dominic knew going into the project that finding parts for a Mercury Comet of this vintage might be difficult. Many companies specialize in Mustangs but little is offered for those working on a classic Mercury. He was not discouraged, however, and began to improvise wherever possible, gathering parts from across the Ford spectrum. For the frontend rebuild, he borrowed suspension components from the '65-'66 Mustang, while the front-disc brakes came from a '70s vintage Granada. The 5.0L fuel-injected engine originated in an '88 Mustang GT, and the 8.8-inch rear axle with disc brakes are from a late-model Explorer. To evaluate the condition of the body, the car was taken to a family friend who teaches an auto-body class for a vocational and tech school. At the school, the small amount of bodywork required was accomplished, and the PPG single-stage paint job was applied.
The symmetrical underhood...
The symmetrical underhood look on Dominic's car is definitely different. The short-deck 347 is open for business, with a wide selection of go-fast goodies, including electronic fuel injection for a flat torque curve and great fuel efficiency. The dual inlet system offers very little restriction and gets cold air through the high-beam openings. The electric water pump and manual steering means only one belt at the alternator is needed.