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All Of the Above: Rich Carpino's 1962 Mercury Comet

For many hotrodders, starting a family means putting the brakes on the project car. Parenting doesn’t leave you with a lot of spare time for wrenching or driving. But what if your romance was kindled over dyno charts and spec sheets?

Rich and Kristen Carpino wanted a classic Ford that could be easily upgraded to compete in autocross, but it also had to have room for the kids, nice street manners, and, at Kristen’s request, fins. They engineered this 1962 Mercury Comet to perfectly satisfy all of their needs, and we think it will make you happy, too. Click the slideshow link for complete details and more stunning photos.

Photography By: Todd Biss Productions
Art Direction By: Lance Nemes and Barbara Williamson-Dungey
Story By: Derek J. Manke


Frame: Boxed and triangulated front frame rails, full-length subframe connectors, cross-braced rear frame rails, Welder Series crossmembers and motor mounts
Front Suspension: Owner-built tubular control arms with Howe Racing extended ball joints, Mustang II spindles, double-adjustable coilover shocks, Mustang rack and pinion, custom solid sway bar, mounts, and links
Rear Suspension: Owner-built parallel 4-link with panhard bar, double-adjustable coilover shocks, Welder Series adjustable splined rear sway bar
Brakes: 4.6L Mustang Hydroboost brake booster, Wilwood dual-piston calipers and AFCO rotors front, Ford Explorer rear disc brakes, Power Stop carbon-ceramic pads all around, Classic Performance proportioning valve
Wheels and Tires: Vision American Muscle 143 Torque Series wheels (18 x 8.5"), Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R tires (255/35R18)

Engine & Transmission
Block: Ford 4.6L 32V Teksid
Reciprocating Assembly: Factory forged crank, Speedmaster H-beam rods, Mahle forged pistons (11:1 compression), 1997 Cobra camshafts degreed with Trick Flow adjustable crank sprockets, intake manifold runner control delete, Steeda SFI balancer, Fidanza aluminum flywheel
Air and Fuel: Smoothed Cobra intake, relocated idle air control, Spectra Premium Mustang EFI fuel tank with Walbro 255 in-tank pump, 60 lb./hr. injectors, Summit Racing® aluminum hard lines, Earl's UltraPro Teflon®-lined AN hose
Cooling: Summit Racing Triple-Pass radiator with dual fans, Derale engine oil cooler with dual fans, Summit Racing transmission cooler used for power steering
Exhaust: Cobra manifolds, fabricated X-pipe, Jones Exhaust mufflers
Transmission/Driveline: Rebuilt T-45 transmission with billet shift forks and carbon fiber synchros, aluminum driveshaft, LuK clutch, narrowed Ford Explorer 8.8 rear axle

Body modifications: 1969 Camaro front spoiler, front and rear USCA-legal tow hooks
Paint: GM bright white (repainted by previous owner in 2005); undercarriage and underhood stripped to bare metal and coated with Summit Racing Chassis Shield, topped with DupliColor Truck Bed Coating

Dash: Ididit steering column, Stewart Warner digital tach and shift light, Retrosound radio
Seats: Fox-body Mustang seats, Schroth Racing Profi II 5-point ASM harness
Other modifications: H3R Performance HalGuard fire extinguisher, "Comet" embossed door panels and rear deck panel, custom center console

Special Thanks
Our parents—Rich and Marlene Carpino, and Jim and Diane Gamauf—for all the babysitting time that made this project possible.
Retired professor Dr. Richard Gross for his guidance in engineering and life.
Our friends Bob Dodson, Barry Flesher, Mike Giamati, Tim Gullatta, James Mullen, Chris Sidor, Anthony Varca, and Scott Wallace, who make the everyday adventures of hot-rodding fun.

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