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Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Garage – The Ford Maverick Grabber

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Welcome to the Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Garage, where we discover cars that were never really thought of as Muscle Cars, and it’s my job to change your mind about them. I know that this feature will produce a fanatic following, so over the next several weeks we’ll be running this feature super-regularly so you can get your fix. And look at what we have here: the Maverick Grabber, powered by the tried-and-true Ford 302 CID V-8. Let’s see if it belongs in the Garage…

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The Grabber package lent a sporting flair to the cut-price Maverick coupe, and it deserves a second look. The original Maverick’s main purpose was to offer an inexpensive option within the “compact” segment, and the Grabber actually had little in the way of performance options, even in its day. However, it has potential; these lightweight cars have the look, and their Falcon/Mustang-derived chassis can yield true fun just by swapping few parts from a huge catalog of performance goodies.

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For 1971, the Grabber became its own model within the Maverick family, and not just a trim package. The model included simulated hood scoops with blackout paint, stripes on the sides, fender decals, blackout tail panel, grille-mounted road lamps with the Maverick nameplate, blackened grille, hubcaps with trim rings on 14-inch wheels and D70-14 tires, twin body-color sport mirrors, a decklid spoiler, bright window frames and drip moldings and the DeLuxe steering wheel.

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Early Grabbers were only available with a choice of 170-, 200- or 250-cube straight-sixes. Then in 1971, for the first time since the Maverick was introduced, V-8 power became available in the form of Ford’s 302. In 1971 the two-barrel 302 was rated at 210hp, enough for mid-9-second 0-60 and sub-17-second quarter-mile times. For 1972, the auto industry switched from gross to net power figures, which meant a power decline to 143hp in the 302. Dropping the compression was one of the reasons why the 70′s engines lost power, and for 1973 power stayed at a rated 140hp, but by 1975 the 302 was rated at a measly 129hp. Parts for the 302 remain plentiful at the local parts store, and performance parts are as plentiful for the 302 Ford as they are for the small-block Chevy.

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Year-by-year changes were few, with the 1972 model adding a choice of seats, some interior trim options, additional tape stripe colors, and complimenting tail color instead of a black-out treatment. A “Battering Ram” front bumper made its debut in 1973, and the hood scoops were replaced with a flattened hood and tape stripes. The 1973 model did benefit from a new handling package, and the option of a bench seat. Instead of Hub Caps and Trim Rings, you could order your Grabber with Aluminum Slotted Wheels, available throughout the Maverick Line, along with radial tires. 1975 saw the addition of the large bumper in the rear of the car, the deletion of the spoiler, and the availability of Power Disc Brakes.

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The last year for the Maverick Grabber, 1975, changes were limited to white-letter radial tires and 14-inch styled-steel road wheels. Maverick Grabber production lasted through 1975 and the name was discontinued at the end of the year to make way for the bolder-looking Stallion. Grabber production was healthy, but declining: 38,963 units in 1971, 35,347 in ’72, 32,350 in ’73, 23,502 in ’74 and just 8,473 units for ’75. Tally that up and it’s more than 138,000 Grabbers, but not all of them were V-8 equipped.

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So do you think the Maverick Grabber is an Obscure Muscle Car (probably the 1972, and 73 version) and does it belong in the parking lot, or is it just another pretender to the throne? Let me know either way by voting whether or not to include it in the Garage, and then tell me how you like (or loathe) this feature as well. Once we start adding a significant number or Garage Dwellers, I will do a review, to see who is worthy of staying in the Garage…

Does the Maverick Grabber have what it takes to be placed within the Garage?

View Results

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Please Note: All Images are screen grabs from around the web. If you want credit for any image, please let me know in the comments section. Thank You…

Currently there are "50 comments" on this Article:

  1. Garland137 says:

    Last year I saw one of these in a grocery store parking lot. Brilliant shade of blue (wasn't Grabber Blue, though). Cool little cars.

    • mikey Pelican says:

      owned two Mavericks. A Grabber with 302, 1972 and a 1970 with the 200 straight six. A great car, and simple as a pair of pliers. A modern version of the Falcon. Wish I had one now

  2. dukeisduke says:

    Yeah, it belongs. I remember the Grabber.

  3. LTDScott says:

    I've always liked these. They have tons of potential and they're different than your average Mustang.

    This Sunday is "Fabulous Fords Forever" at Knott's Berry Farm here in SoCal. It's the biggest Ford show on the west coast, and I have been showing my car there since about 1999. Apparently other people have been taking notice of Mavericks as well, because every year the number of them that turn up at the show grows, and there are a few REALLY nice examples there.

    <img src="http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y22/hypergoon/Cars/2011-04-10113350.jpg&quot; width=650>

  4. pj134 says:

    I think this is the wrong website for these sorts of questions. The answer will always be yes. You could post a Innocenti by DeTomaso (bringing it back again) for the obscure muscle car garage and we'd probably vote it in.

  5. Modeleccentric says:

    It's interesting how attitudes evolve as one ages. When I was driving around in my Cosworth Vega, I looked down on the grabber as something "less than". Now, with the Cossie relegated to the scrapheap, and 30 years of gearhead evolution behind me, I can see the error of my ways. Such a great little car!

    • dukeisduke says:

      So did you DD a Cosworth? If so, what kind of mechanical issues did you see? What makes some people convert them from the stock Bendix EFI to dual Webers?

      • Modeleccentric says:

        I did DD a Cosworth, It was my first car. The Bendix EFI was horribly unreliable, causing the car to up and quit just when you needed it most, but it overheated and dropped a valve seat before I had the chance to replace the Bendix.
        Up until the overheat, all of the problems I had were electronic.. It was almost as if the usually reliable American electronics were being chewed upon by gremlins wearing "Lucas" tee shirts.

  6. neight says:

    Seeing LTDScott's name flashed a nominee in to my frontal cortex.

    The early 80's Crown Victoria's were also known as LTD's at the time, or at least had an LTD trim package (my dad had one as a company car). They actually made a two door version for some time.

    The fundamentals are all there, plus you get that Panther-tasticness that only weirdos like us can appreciate.

  7. racer139 says:

    Yes it definatly belongs… So if I was to build one today Id start with a 75 for the power disk brakes then add the hood and bumpers from a 73. Thats where id go in a different direction and add a coyote 5.0… That would probably nessitate removing the strut towers and adding an updated suspension and steering system and brakes and id probably add one of the newer 04 cobra style irs systems..Ummm may I would just start with a base model from any year so I didnt ruin a grabber.

  8. JayP2112 says:

    I was going to pay off a credit card with my tax refund.
    NOT ANY MORE. http://dallas.craigslist.org/ftw/cto/3745531814.h
    Straight 6 auto but look how clean!

    • dukeisduke says:

      Good grief, that's a steal, seeing all the work that's been done. So the real question is, is the town's name pronounced "JAW-shoo-uh" or "JAW-shoo-AY"? I've heard it both ways.

    • danleym says:

      Your credit card bills will still be here tomorrow. That car may not. I suggest you go buy it now.

  9. Bren says:

    Very,very popular in Brazil http://carros.mercadolivre.com.br/antigos-ford/ma… , came across one in HoChiMinh city in Vietnam but the guy was looking c.$6k which was a bit over my budget – ( I could get a W116 450SE for $3k there ! ).
    Maybe when they've risen in price then the Mustang II will start to rise ? http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads

  10. dukeisduke says:

    It's funny that Ford introduced the Maverick in '69 (originally as only a two-door) to compete with the Beetle, and then turned around just a year later and introduced the Pinto, also to compete with the Beetle. A real head-scratcher, that one is.

    • Mark J. says:

      All the "economy cars" then competed with the Beetle.

    • Vairship says:

      They were just copying Chevy, who introduced the Corvair in 1960 to compete with the Beetle, then introduced the Chevy II/Nova in 1961 to also compete with the Beetle and moved the Corvair into a sportier niche, then they introduced the Camaro in1967…

  11. stigshift says:

    I've got to go against the tide on this one- it was never a muscle car from the factory. Not saying I wouldn't enjoy seeing a well kept one, or that they aren't easily modifiable to wonderful performance. The key element of a muscle car was the availability of a heavy hitter powertrain, and a two barrel 302 was no where near the top performance engine for Ford at the time. Granted, the Mustang GT was re-introduced to us in '82 with a two barrel 302, but when that happened, the 302 was at the pinnacle of the performance options then available to us.

    • eggsalad says:

      I'm agreeing with you. True muscle cars came that way from the factory. Okay, the Mav did come from the factory with a V8, but it wasn't at all muscular.

      However, it cstretches the definition of "Muscle Car" too far when you include anything that came from the factory with a V8, that could be MADE muscular afterwards.

  12. Lotte says:

    I remember on Old Oppo someone had a black Maverick that he bought as a father-son project. It looked very cool to my untrained eye, like a mini-Mustang. Still does, actually. Now I know not all of them were great, and it seems that more than a few people saw them as My Geography Teacher's Crappy Car I Learned To Drive In, but yeah, throw in a big motor and suddenly it counts.

    I'm going to like this feature a lot.

  13. jeepjeff says:

    This is starting it off right. Thanks Jim.

  14. scroggzilla says:

    In Argentina in the early 70's, they raced Mavericks in their touring car series. Oreste Berta, who was heavily involved in prepping the IKA Torinos for the 1969 Marathon de la Route, built a particularly bad-assed Maverick, powered by a 302 with a Gurney-Weslake head that made over 500hp. The Hollywood Maverick, as it came to be known, tore its competition a new one before it was inevitably banned.
    <img src="http://www.gptotal.com.br/2005/colunas/pandini/img/20070205/fotos/Maverick%20-%20Luis%20Pereira%20Bueno.jpg"&gt;

  15. engineerd says:

    Damn, Jim. Way to start this off crazy awesome!

    I like the Maverick. My father cringes every time I say that, but I see a starting point for a fun car that won't look like everything else at the car show.

  16. Alff says:

    The Maverick's style has aged well – it's better looking now than it was back then. I would prefer a Maverick with a 302 to a Fox-body 'stang, just to be different.

  17. Rust-MyEnemy says:

    This is going to be a good series on this basis.

    I'd totally drive a hi-po Maverick, but something inside me wants it to be a four-door. I just like them.

    Weird.

    • Anthony Orenstein says:

      I LOVE the four door Maverick, in fact, I have three of them, all fully restored and two of them have won prizes in shows.

  18. joshwebster84 says:

    I know muscle cars. Muscle cars are a friend of mine. You, sir, are no muscle car.

  19. lilpoindexter says:

    A few weeks ago Hooniverse had pics of an Xr4ti…I quickly asserted that having previously been an Xr4ti owner, that I had somehow earned a few Hooniverse bonus points…Well guess what…I owned a Maverick, too. A '74 coupe with a v8. I eventually put the smaller bumpers on it.

  20. 2002camaroSS says:

    We have one in the back yard just collecting dust complete with a 5.0 block from a highway patrol mustang I don't know how to post pics on here but it's a 73 with the 71 bumpers and painted white its been in the family for about 25 years

  21. Mad_Hungarian says:

    A non-Grabber '70 Maverick was my first car. It was a family hand me down that was not my choice at the time but hard to pass up because it was essentially free. I didn't miss it at all when it finally succumbed to a combination of an abused transmission and spreading rust. However, the styling has grown on me over he years. I agree it's debatable whether the Grabber was really a muscle car out of the box, but the reason the Maverick has been discovered by enthusiasts is that it is easy to make into a muscle car. It serves as the poor(er) man's Mustang — most of the performance and handling upgrades available for Mustangs will bolt right on.

  22. PrelateBishop says:

    In stock form, no, this isn't a muscle car. I mean, seriously, there has to be some modicum of performance to be allowed entry into the category and this thing is like an asthmatic doing sprints while trying to breath through a crazy straw.

    However, a stock-looking example that has been resto-modded within an inch of its life would be most excellent. You know the recipe; big wheels that still have stock styling, a modern powerplant (aforementioned Coyote?) mated to a row-your-own 6-spd tranny, and disc brakes that look like dinner plates…now we're talking.

  23. Otto Nobetter says:

    I had a non-Grabber 2dr with the 250/6 cyl. It had gobs of torque and regularly whupped my Buddy's 302-probably cuz of my superior driving skills(but actually b/c of better gears that the 6 cyl cars came with)

  24. John McMilllin says:

    The rear spoiler on that blue Maverick isn't going to spoil much but the owner's day, if he chooses to reach top speed. The leading edge seems to be pointing upward, where it would generate positive lift at speed. Every Mustang fastback I saw with that adjustable spoiler was set like that, back in the day. I liked to think of it as the publicly posted results of the Redneck IQ Test. Maybe it just looked right that way, matching the plunging roofline, but real spoilers stand up to the wind and create a little drag to do their good work. Adjustable spoilers disappeared from cars decades ago, and this might indicate why.

  25. Boosted Shelby says:

    My first car was a 72 Grabber, 302 w/ a C4. I had my heart set on a 71 Boss Stang (didnt have all the $$ needed, and had to ask the parents for a front), and I was shot down on the Boss. I found the Mav Grab at a decent price ($1500) and drove the wheels off of her. Swapped to a 4 barrel carb and cam with true duals and it ran great. As I recall everyone hated it in high school, thought it to be a POC. That didnt stop it from kicking the crap outta most of the "muscle cars" of the day. I had plans to place Shelby Stang (65 to 66) suspension on it, but it never happened. Its light weight allowed it to handle quite well.
    To me a muscle car not only has to be fast, but attract the fairer sex just as well. The Maverick NEVER did that…lol. It usually won the ladies over after whooping up on the muscel cars, IF you could get them in it…it had to earn its respect. That car got me hooked on lighter weight cars and the ability to transition curves better than the bigger cars.
    But hey, what do I know…I have a 1986 GLHS Omni that has its hooks buried in me so deep that I will have to be buried in it..lol

  26. Doug says:

    Mine was a 1972, gold metalic with orange decals. It was a 302 V8, 3spd on the floor and had glasspacks and wide tires. I would love to have another one!!

  27. Tony says:

    I bought one of these new in 1973. It was a white and orange Grabber with the 302 V8. Keep in mind that the Maverick was a very light car compared to the Mustang and Camaro. My friends were all into muscle cars and had Camaros, Chevelle SSs, Mustangs and thought my Maverick was a joke. But I'll tell you something. I could beat the 307 Camaros, keep up with the 350 Camaros and SS s and 351W Mustangs. The only ones who I couldn't match were the 351C mustangs and 396 Camaros . They just outclassed me. However, if I had had the money I could have made a few changes, like a better carb, and headers and dual exhaust, and then even the big boys would have been fair game.
    Tony212

  28. big al says:

    i owned a 70-71 mercury comet had a 302 with a big cam and 70's style turbine aluminum rims with 4 speed transmission, bottle green,always wanted a jet black 68 maverick with v8 and centerline rims ,still do.they are 1/4 mile machines with their light bodies,but suspension is typical ford,squeakly…

  29. Christine E. says:

    My first car was a '71 Grabber 3 speed with the V8 engine. It was candy red. My father got it at an auction and fixed it up (he owned an autobody shop. I learned to drive in that car. My mother was worried about a young woman owning such a fast car, but my father believed I could handle it (he taught me how to drive). I'm now 55 and that is the favorite of all the cars I've ever owned – light, fast and sexy. Wish I still had it.

  30. Lovell Orr says:

    I have a one owner 1971 maverick grabber with 80000 original miles 302 automatic in the floor very good condition has never been restored would you like to buy it.

  31. ashmire says:

    I just woke up after having a strange dream about finding and beginning a major restoration project on my aunt's old car( never done any such work, but have no doubt it would be fun if I had some money and somebody to learn from. I have always been held to have masculine interests for a girl), which played a major role in my early childhood as I learned to read at a young age, in part, from pointing at things labelled on the dashboard as well as from wrappers of candy she( then just 16 though she seemed grownup to me at the time) would hand me as we were tooling around in the car. Anyway, I was half-convinced this car hadn't really existed since I never knew anyone else who had one, but I did a quick Google search, and sure enough, this is it, and to this day I seem to instinctively orient on things that particular shade of blue( or maybe I just always liked the color to begin with).

  32. Danny says:

    Hello, I am going to be working on a 77 maverick it's the v8 I'll most likely rebuild the 302 or if it's blown replace it for a 351 Windsor. But besides the engine work I can easly figure out I was wondering if anyone could tell me what I would need to change the big 77 bumper to the smaller earlier 70 bumpers and best places to look for those parts. Thanks guys

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