Wanting to build cars and engines when and how he wanted to build them without waiting on others, Doug Domhoff knew the only way to do it was to start his own shop. He grew up with a fascination for cars and really got into the industry in his 20s.
He started with general repair work such as brakes and body work and the classic small block Chevy stuff, and his engine building prowess blossomed from there.
“There got to be more race engines here than the other work, so I started doing that and I really liked it,” Domhoff says. “I opened Domhoff Racing Engines in 1976 and the machine shop, Domhoff Automotive Machine, opened in 1982. We work on anything that comes in the door as long as it’s not a diesel.”
Domhoff admits the shop gets a wide variety of engine work, but it sees primarily domestic performance engines such as Pontiacs, Chryslers, small block and big block Chevys, and high-end dirt late model Ford engines. Domhoff will get the occasional import engine, but it’s a rarer occurrence.
“It’s just me and my son Shawn here, and we do everything in-house in a 3,000 sq.-ft. shop,” Domhoff says. “We’ve got crank grinders, a good cylinder hone, surfacers, balancers, and a DTS engine dyno – we can do it all here. We’ve got a 3-axis CNC mill, a Serdi head shop and Sunnen hones.”
One of the builds Domhoff Racing Engines just finished up is a high-end Ford dirt late model engine for a repeat customer, which features brand-new-to-the-market cylinder heads and intake manifold.
“It’s a 436 small block Ford with a Dart aluminum block, a Bryant crank, Carrillo rods, CP pistons, Total Seal rings, a Bullet camshaft, BAM lifters, Smith Brothers pushrods, a Jesel rocker system, a CV Products timing belt, an ATI damper, MSD coils, and the heads and the intake are done by MBE, which is a CID casting,” he says.
The MBE heads and manifold are the very first ones used in the country. Domhoff worked out the cylinder finish on this engine with Total Seal Piston Rings and it features standard clearances throughout.
“These cylinder heads and intake are the first ones to be dynoed and run,” he says. “CID Induction Systems and MBE worked together on these things. They designed the castings, did the machining and the porting. The heads have super good flow numbers for the port volumes. Both the heads and the intake are aluminum. They were looking for a new head to replace the old Roush Yates ones and this is what they came up with.”
The 436 cid Ford is a brand-new engine build, however, the short block was rebuilt – used block, crank and rods – the rest was brand new.
“I can’t give out the horsepower numbers, but it’s definitely better than the old Roush Yates engine,” Domhoff says. “The horsepower is better than 2 hp per cubic inch. This engine runs the dirt track super late model series.”
If you have an engine you’d like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder Editor, Greg Jones at [email protected]