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Hooniverse Asks- The Ford Maverick, Collectable or Forgettable?

Robert Emslie December 11, 2012 Hooniverse Asks 72 Comments

It’s weird what cars make it as collectables and which ones are consigned to history’s mysteries due to a lack of desirability. Looking at cars from the early ’70s, many are  grotesquely large and are incompetent at anything other than having their parking location be easily determined – from orbit. Not only that, but as the ’70s progressed, each year brought a diminution of power to every single engine sold in America.

One car that bucked the trend as far as size was concerned – while at the same time offering an engine bay that’s capable of supporting a healthy heavy breather of an engine – is Ford’s Maverick. The Blue Oval boys had replaced the upright and staid Falcon with the fastback-sporting Maverick in two-door coupe and four-port sedan in 1970. The company’s pony car remained the Mustang which also shared a lot of Falcon DNA under the skin, but Maverick, unlike the Falcon, was now almost as good looking as the ‘Stang. Some might aver, it was even better looking.

Mavericks are old enough now that the blade-bumpered early models are no longer on the radar of the EPA and almost all state emission control nannies. That means the available 302 can be made all kinds of horsepowery, and the car was built in such numbers that both suitable subjects and parts are still readily available. It’s still an old ’70s American family car and that means drum brakes all around for a lot of models, and a six cylinder engine and automatic combo that was also most common back in the day. None of that makes for particularly engaging, or safe, driving now. Balancing that, the Maverick is still a darn good looking car – sort of a Pinto done right – and that’s why I want your opinion on its current desirability. What do you think about Ford’s fastback family car, is the Maverick collectable or forgettable?

Image: [OldParkedCars]

  • danleym

    I like them. And the collectability is growing, just like a lot of previously over looked cars because a lot of people can't afford the entry cost of your more traditional muscle cars now. It's a good looking design that can fit a V-8 easily- what more could you want out of an old American car?

  • $kaycog

    I don't remember the last time I saw a Maverick, but I really like it and think it's very collectible. I love this Grabber.

    <img src="http://www.maverick.to/pics/shaw_simpson_72_grabber.jpg"width="500"/&gt;

    Image: Maverick.to

  • JayP2112

    I started down this path earlier this year. Nice looking car.
    Hitting CL turned up 3 or 4 Mavs and each one was torn to hell from starting to make a drag car out of it.
    Runners look at $3000, rollers $1500.

    There are a few survivors locally and they are sharp.
    Of course they are out of my price range. 🙁

    • cruisintime

      Lots of old cars on Craigslist torn to hell and then forgotten.Most of them overpriced. Damn shame!

  • smalleyxb122

    I really like the looks of the Maverick, and as an often overlooked vehicle, the prices have remained pretty reasonable. Dare I say the (non-Grabber) Maverick is mostly undervalued. I think that collectability will continue to rise, especially as long as the economy continues such a slow recovery. The disposable cars of yesteryear are the ones that have seen the biggest bump in value over the past few years, as everyone without Barrett Jackson money is clamoring for the few remaining affordable classics, and, thus far, the Maverick seems to have mostly avoided their radar.

  • The Ford what?


    They are already on the path to collectability. People are starting to really notice them as a Mustang alternative, since they're still cheap but just as customizable as a Mustang. They make great cheap hot rods. Any Windsor will drop right in, they're very light, drivetrain options are great, and a ton of Mustang and Pinto parts drop right on, so you have instant access to one of the largest and least expensive pools of aftermarket parts on the planet. You can put together a HELL of a car for well less than $10k. I've been giving serious consideration to picking one up before they get any more expensive, as prices are already starting to creep up, especially for verisons like the Grabber.

    <img src="http://www.jdmeuro.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/FORD_MAVERICK_ENKEI_RPF1_02.jpg&quot; width="600">

  • Probably more collectable than this one:

    <img src="http://www.motorstown.com/images/ford-maverick-2.7-01.jpg&quot; width="400/">

    Though I'd bet that the above Nissan Terrano clone is rarer in your neck of the woods than the US Maverick is here.

    As far as the US one goes, I love them. Especially the 4-door with that coke-bottle waistline. I like the idea of a nicely restomodded Maverick Sedan with a bit of shunt to it. I can see the 2-door getting popular among the "alternative choice" fraternity.

  • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    <img src="http://www.1000steine.com/brickset/images/6375-2.jpg"&gt; They will, the price has been going-up, and I liked them a lot when I was a kid. They looked like a more curvy better looking Nova to me. Even the wheel arches seemed more unique. But the favorite thing for me was the gas cap. I had this Lego gas station set and also a helicopter one back then. I was able to use the pieces from those two sets and make a Maverick with a roof. It made me really happy to pop the little brick off the back and fill it up 🙂

    • MVEilenstein

      Legos FTW

    • RahRahRecords

      I think that very station set was my first Legoland set. I had Lego sets before it but not with the little people.

      • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

        It was my first set, period. My parents emigrated to USA when I was young. I still remember the plastic dump truck I got for that first Christmas here. This set I got for Easter, it was really something, I can't imagine my parents saving-up for it, but it was really something. I had these really crappy Russian imitation bricks before, they were so soft and would break, no wheels or anything just red and yellow in two lengths. So Lego was really something. My parents had heard about Legos back in Poland, but you just could not get them, any hard currency you had you needed and could not waste on a toy. Anyway, I tore that gas station up and built it over and over again, then for my birthday I got that helicopter. Somewhere I have a photo of me on the ground playing with both simultaneously. I don't know how my parents managed back then, but they did. It meant a lot to me as a kid, means more now for other reasons.

  • Number_Six

    I can't lie: I hated them when I was sixteen and the Maverick was the first car for half the metal heads in my town, and I hate them now. They looked tired and wheezy in 1985 and the time that's passed since then has not fixed that for me.

  • E39

    I had 2 of these in high school in the late 70's. You could buy them with the 302 and a 3speed on the floor for $800 all day long. Great fun in a straight line. I was the king of 1 wheel burnouts. They don't stop well and they handle even worse. I rolled one, and don't recommend that experience to anyone, but I survived unhurt. I guess people can collect whatever they like, but i will always look at these as wonderfully overpowered, crappy, disposable cars.

  • Devin

    I actually saw one on Sunday, they're pretty handsome still.

    I don't remember them being any good, my sister had a brown one that she complained about constantly (I was something like 7, but I remember that the car didn't last very long), but they are handsome, and it's probably easy enough to swap out the bad bits for good ones.

  • Every year I go to the "Fabulous Fords Forever" show at Knott's Berry Farm. It's the biggest Ford show on the west coast, and each year, the number of Mavericks that show up increases. Some are stock, but some have been modified to be serious street machines.

    I really dig them, even if their underpinnings go back to early '60s Fairlanes.

  • darren

    Had one I built as a teenager. Have a replacement now. Great little cars. Light,nimble and affordable. They make a nice looking alternative to big buck builds. The attention these cars receive at cruise nights is boggling.

  • Van_Sarockin

    Mavericks looks very nice, but they aren't all that much as cars. They do show that Ford sure knew how to milk the hell out of the Falcon platform, but that left the Mav pretty antiquated from the moment it was introduced. It was a compact car, a step up size-wise from the Pinto, but a big jump from there to the Torino. But the interior wasn't very spacious, and the trim let you know you were deep into economy car territory. A carpenter of mine had one and liked it, until the passenger side front suspension fell off one day as he was driving down the interstate.

  • quattrovalvole

    This is one of the cars that I know exists yet I've never seen one IRL. Judging from the pictures posted here, looks like they can be made to look quite sharp with proper mods.

    • You've never seen a Maverick? Heavens to Murilee, I feel old.

  • Stumack

    Coincidentally saw a later Comet sedan in daily traffic today – brown of course. Ford had no idea how to deal with the 1974 bumper regulations, and the Maverick came off perhaps worst of all. The only possibly redeeming feature these had was the styling, and it was ruined after '73. After a couple of years, the Maverick changed roles- when it was introducted in early 1969 it was pitched as a VW fighter, at less than $2.000, The Pinto came along to fill that slot, and it morphed into a dull-as-dishwater compact and gained the longer wheelbase four-door.

  • Modeleccentric

    I was always underwhelmed by the stock Maverick, but an artfully done build or a clean Grabber will get my attention. That being said, the older I get, the more I appreciate the car's "Fishy" look. A great choice if you love Fords and wand something Hoonworthy on The Cheap. (I've still got a soft spot for the Fairmont).

    • A pedestrian compact car distinguished by more than a bit of "wow-i-ness" in the sculpted body lines: it's the domestic equivalent to the Opel Manta.

  • Paul from NB

    The fact that they were and still are cheap, dependable and plentiful should make them a great collector! I have owned several (my first car was a 77 4-door that I bought for $100). I have always loved them BECAUSE they were different. There is a huge following for both Mavericks and Comets. One such example is http://www.maverick.to which has a very active forum and tons of valuable information regarding these vehicles! In fact, that's how I found THIS Hooniverse article!! I now own a 19K original 71 Grabber. I recently took it to a show and shine and parked across from a 65 Shelby. I had more people circling MY car than the Shelby! Everyone who sees my car has a story to tell of their experiences in a Maverick or Comet!

    And in this economy, who can afford to restore or buy a $100,000+ Mustang?? COLLECTABLE for sure!!

    <img src="http://sphotos-g.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/76233_10151280419653274_1895516007_n.jpg&quot; width="600">

  • eggsalad

    "Mavericks are old enough now that the blade-bumpered early models are no longer on the radar of the EPA and almost all state emission control nannies."

    Unless you live in certain counties in Nevada, where smog checks are required for all vehicles 1968 and newer 🙁

    • Blows my mind that Nevada would have stricter smog regs than California.

      Apparently, though, pre-'75 vehicles in CA are technically exempt from testing, but not the actual emissions regs. A cop could theoretically send your '68 Mustang to a smog ref to check if the original emissions equipment is in place.

      • danleym

        That's the same everywhere. The emissions equipment is a federal regulation- even if you're in a state that doesn't do testing, you can still be ticketed for removing a cat or the egr, or whatever other smog equipment is there. Obviously no one really prosecutes it, but they could if they wanted to.

        Here in Missouri, we have emissions testing for all OBDII cars and a safety inspection for everything else (no year limits at all). Technically, for the safety inspection they're supposed to make sure the emissions equipment is present without actually checking the emissions, but I've yet to have a problem on both of my vehicles that don't have cats, egr, or their air pumps.

      • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

        IL is also '68 and newer if you live in certain places. It was getting annoying to drive so far to testing facilities that still had a working dyno and hose setup. So they made it that OBDII cars only had to pass once as long as they stayed registered in IL continuously.

  • scroggzilla

    <img src="http://img209.imageshack.us/img209/7287/maverickhollywood1um1.jpg"&gt;
    In Argentina, Orestes Berta turned the Maverick into a 500 hp beast, powered by a 302 with a Gurney-Weslake head, which dominated touring car racing. <a href="http://mmb.maverick.to/showthread.php?t=41810” target=”_blank”>http://mmb.maverick.to/showthread.php?t=41810

  • Target29

    While I had forgotten about Mavericks, all the comments above show that they have not been forgotten.
    I used to get them confused with the AMC Matador because quite a few had the same (insert adjective here) brown colour.

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/48/1976_AMC_Matador_coupe_cocoa_fl-ho.jpg"width="600"&gt;

    Did anyone else know that AMC ran NASCAR?

    <img src="http://memimage.cardomain.com/ride_images/3/2823/221/32055110260_large.jpg"&gt;

    • danleym

      I did! But, I'm a little strange like that, so…

      Driven by none other than Bobby Allison, too!

  • They're all over here in California, for all the standard reasons…well, at least the pre-smog ones, that is.

    Being all Falcon underneath makes them pretty terrible by default, but a few cheap mods away from general competence (by old car standards).

    The nice part is they're carrying almost no mainstream appeal/nostalgia price bump, meaning they cost the same as any other unpopular 60s-70s car in the same condition. Rough drivers in need of upgrades = ~$2k, built but not perfect = $3-5k.

    The boyfriend of the gal I sold my wagon to has one with a gnarly 302 that he was planning to swap for a turbo 2.3 setup. Made me happy the Country Sedan would be in good hands.

  • Charlie

    I would love to find one of the brazillian converted wagons. I'm pretty sure there was an article here about a grey one. One of my favorite all time wagons.

  • Mr. Queeg

    There's so little emotional baggage associated with these that you can mod them like crazy guilt-free.

  • Stephdumas

    One Ford dealer in Toronto, Canada offered its own version of a Maverick with a Boss 302. There some vintage pictures at http://mmb.maverick.to/showpost.php?p=834972&amp;… Imagine what if there was a Maverick Boss 302 going after the Plymouth Duster 340. 😉

    In Mexico, the Maverick in its 1st year was sold as "Falcon Maverick" just like the Duster was sold as "Valiant Duster" in its first year here. http://www.flickr.com/photos/ifhp97/5337890163/

    And looks like it's time to refresh our memories with the Shelby Maverick. 😉 http://hooniverse.com/2011/02/25/hooniverse-gastb

  • facelvega

    So, to sum up:

    -very good styling particularly for its day and size class
    -easy to get a 5.0 in it
    -cheap to run

    -terrible build quality
    -cheap design like the blah interior
    -direly needs serious brake and suspension upgrades
    -floppy chassis with bad steering geometry means even with those upgrades it will never handle well

    Think I'll pass.

  • tom kirk

    @facelvega I've owned to mavericks……. about your negatives there i can presonally tell u that most of is a little wrong. i love these cars bad interior design on base models but there were up grades like the ldo interior was nice, brake and suspension these cars did have disk brakes and are easy to upgrade with junk yard parts….. and the chassis is not as flimsy as say a chevy vega….. all the up grades you do to these cars do stand out and preform….. i can enjoy driving my car in the mountains and still pull 20 mpg

  • Stephdumas

    One Ford dealer in Toronto, Canada offered its own version of a Maverick with a Boss 302. There some vintage pictures at http://mmb.maverick.to/showpost.php?p=834972&amp;… Imagine what if there was a Maverick Boss 302 going after the Plymouth Duster 340.

  • Rob

    Love Mavericks!

  • Dave

    Been a Maverick owner for 24+ years, I've never had one I didn't like.
    <img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v47/DiamondDave/mygrabberdearborn.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    • Vairship

      That's a beauty! The two-tone paint really shows off the lines.

    • aaron

      My first car what that shade of green but was solid green. i bought a lip spoiler and wanted to get a offenhouser dual carb intake. it all came to an end when some yayhoo turned infront of me and then i wished i had focused on geting disc brakes sooner.

  • MattC

    I had a friend in the late 1980's that wedged a 351 into a dark green Maverick. It was the ultimate sleeper as he kept a false single factory exhaust tip ( the real dual mufflers pipes exiting downward prior to the rear wheels).

  • B72

    Maverick was great

    <img src="http://doctorretro.typepad.com/.a/6a00e54f9bc55f883400e55401eb0c8834-320wi&quot;,width=500>

    Oh you meant the Ford? For the era and type I was more of a Nova guy, but done up right a Mav' can be Ok I guess.

  • JoeS.

    I like the look of the car, there is one for sale I saw on craigslist a few days ago. http://lasvegas.craigslist.org/cto/3461011880.htm
    Looks great but I don't have that kind of cash he is asking for.
    But for sure they will be classics.

  • X11 Fan

    Had a 71 Comet which ran flawless until I sold it for a 79 Firebird. 200 six cylinder with auto and am radio. No other options. Weird greenish brown color.

  • TurboBrick

    Not collectible, therefore very afford-ible to do whatever your please. There was a pretty badass gray four door sedan with a blower sticking through the hood at a local car show, I found myself liking that concept quite a bit.

  • Bren

    Have seen them in Vietnam (V8 / 6 ) and Ireland (6) – no better looking car on the planet when Grabber'ised !
    If a V8 came up near me at the right price then I could be tempted !

  • There is one in this clip that I spotted here in Olympia WA. Looks pretty sharp…

  • Jim

    My high school car was a two-door '72 w/ the 302. I was the second owner. I inherited it from my stepmothers uncle when he passed away. My stepmothers brother went with him in '72 to purchase it & talked him into the 302. Thank goodness he did. It was a pretty good sleeper that smoked wi ked brake stands!

  • boxdin

    There is another Maverick on this very site as I recall. Someone may remember its called 'da shit" ?
    I"ll see if I can find it.

  • boxdin
  • JasonBrian Johnson

    Collectible!!! I’m currently have a ’73 restored-modified. Hoping for an early xmas present this year. 🙂