Bookmark this Page!
Website Index
Join Us - Help Preserve Auto History

Don't Want to Join Now?
Help Us Grow Our Collections
Donate $25

Donate here
They Support Us -
We support them

Volunteer to Help Us!

Home/Technical Info/Ford/ 11. Car Models Described/
Muscle for the Street Returns - The Fox Body Mustang
Part 04: Early Aftermarket Tuners

Summit Ford in its Dominator Heyday. The red GT in front is a Dominator
Related Site Sections you may want to visit.
Click on any Articles that appear here.

When Files are shown BELOW - CLICK on the File Name to the Right of the Article Name
Article Name File Name

Information about this item:

Part Four: The Fox Body Mustang: Summit Ford Dominators
by Tony Ray, . Wild About Cars Ford Brand Manager

Ford was still feeling it's way when the 5.0 was reintroduced as a performance model, but there were lessoons learned from Pontiac's turnaround in the early 60's:

  • Racing victories are meaningless without a credible product in the showroom.

  • If you can't get the best parts into your customer's hands through normal means, find alternative means. But no matter what, make sure the parts are available.

  • 1 and 2 will be impossible to accomplish without a network of dealers who understand high performance.

Summit Ford was already deeply involved in performance by the time 1982 rolled around, but the new 5.0 represented Ford's first serious foray into high performance street cars in years, and Summit jumped in with both feet.

In 1982, Summit hosted a High Performance Day headlined by F1 legend Jackie Stewart. Over 100 new Mustang GT's were present and accounted for. Also present that day was former USAC open-wheel pilot and entrepreneur Greg Weld, whose Weld Draglite wheels would go on to become as symbolic of the new musclecar era in general, and the 5.0 movement in particular, as the Cragar S/S had been of the 60's. But Summit's involvement went far beyond selling stock Mustangs. Also introduced in '82, almost as soon as the first 5.0 HO's rolled out of Dearborn, was Summit's Dominator Mustang.

1982 Dominator
The name may sound trite, but the car itself was pure American muscle. In its first year, the package wasn't so much a package as simply a collection of traditional hop-up parts available to customers who wanted to buy the kind of automotive barbarism that hadn't been seen on new car showroom since 1971.
Four-barrel carb/intake conversions, long-tube headers, and even Paxton ball-drive blowers were kept in stock at all times. The cars were promoted heavily, and even Ford began to take notice.

Whatever the '82 car lacked in cohesiveness the '83 Dominator more than made up for. Offered as a package car in three states of tune, the Stage I and Stage II consisted of varying levels of bolt-on speed equipment. But the top of line model, the Stage III, was a different animal altogether. The engines were removed and sent to a local performance shop where the factory slugs were pitched and replaced with forged TRW domed units, giving a compression ratio of around 12.5:1.

The stock hydraulic cam was replaced with a high lift mechanical stick, and the short block was topped with the factory D9 heads that had been fitted with oversize valves and heavier springs. The stock aluminum intake was reused and topped with a non-emissions Holley four-barrel. The smog equipment was deposited in the round file, and a special MSD ignition system lit the mix, while long-tube headers vented the hydrocarbons. A special water/meth injection system was installed, just in case the owners found themselves low on fuel and miles from the nearest gallon of Hi-Test, and the whole thing was topped off with a custom-made ram air system.

The result was a beast the likes of which hadn't been seen in well over a decade. A Stage III Dominator was fully capable of cracking the 12 second barrier on basically stock suspension and skinny production tires. It was a vicious, snarling brute of a car, and it was also 100% illegal.

All good things come to an end, and the Dominator was no exception. The powers-that-be eventually became aware of the shenanigans occurring in a little suburb of Kansas City and landed on them with both feet. The Dominator would live on through the 1990 model year, but it just wasn't the same. Oh sure, the difference in as-delivered horsepower between the '83 and the '90 5.0 was enough that the later car, even with nothing but a few bolt-ons and some judicious tuning, could run comfortably in the low 13's, but the magic of the Stage III couldn't be duplicated, if only because of when it appeared.

If the '82 GT was a first shot in the new performance wars, then the Stage III Dominator was an ICBM. Other Ford dealers, such as Tommie Vaughn in Houston and John Bleakly in Atlanta, would continue to fly under the radar, delivering up highly modded (and highly illegal) Fox Mustangs right through the end in 1993. But Summit will always have the distinction of being the ones who hit first.

Click on any Images If Below
to See them Full Size

By 1985 the Dominator was a package and included that neat name on the front fenders.

High Performance Day Ad

Summit Dominator Ad "the front end of a Dominator GT



















The Auto History Preservation Society Website and Logo: Copyright 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 - All Rights Reserved.