Steve Dauria is a man with high-octane fuel running through his veins, a true car nut. As a child he would sit on his mother’s doorstep and just stare at the cars parked down his street. His passion for automobiles never went away, and eventually lead him to owning over 70 vehicles through buying, repairing, and selling them as a college student. Today Steve drives a custom 1964 Mercury Marauder, but the journey to his perfect car wasn’t easy as the latest Petrolicious film illustrates.
The project started not with a car, but as a boat that was for sale. One of Steve’s friends offered it to him, but he was only interested in the motor nestled within the hull. Originally from a Ford or Mercury, this 427ci V8 engine was stripped and rebuilt by Steve in his spare time. With the restoration complete, and nothing to do with the now pristine engine, he stored it under his work bench and forgot about it for eight years.
It eventually became time to find a home for this V8, and while the plan was initially to find a 1954 Mercury Capri or a 1963 Ford Thunderbird, a Mercury Marauder body came up for sale on eBay. Captivated by the large road racers of his childhood, Steve bought the Mercury for $1500. However, when it came time to register the car it turned out the white car was reported stolen years before. Thankfully the Marauder ended up staying with Steve and so the restoration began.
Part way through lovingly forging his dream car, Steve started to lose the use of his legs for reasons doctors couldn’t figure out. The project was then handed to a racing prep shop who helped finish the bodywork to his specifications.
The time finally came to fit the engine that had been harboured in a garage for the best part of a decade. It started, it ran, but it wouldn’t cool. Steve tried everything to work out what the problem was, but even an infrared gun provided little enlightenment. With just 400 miles on it, the motor was removed and taken apart in search of a fault. Nothing. Frustrated and at wits’ end, he yielded and sold the engine as it wouldn't play ball in the Marauder. Steve bought a lighter 502ci aluminum FE block that packed 602hp, and gave that a try. Astonishingly, the new engine soon started to overheat just like the old one.
The solution came from a magazine that suggested that the originally marine-based engine used a different pulley system for the water pump. BINGO! New five-inch pulley on, the engine ran beautifully. Sadly, Steve is still experiencing health issues, but he enjoys every second he spends in his perfect 1964 Mercury Marauder.
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