The Carchive: Ford Maverick

Mav1

Due to pressures of limited space, The Carchive had to be rehomed. Fortunately, below our 1990-built house there lay, undisturbed for dozens of years a network of long-abandoned tunnels and corridors, so labyrinthine that I have yet to explore any further than the length of my longest piece of string, lest I find myself trapped there evermore and resorting to eating parts of my anatomy in reverse order of importance.

Before filing it away for future ignorement, I thought I’d air this 1974 brochure for the Ford Maverick.


“We built the Maverick five years ago guided by one premise; that it would be the one compact by which all other compacts would be measured. We’ve held to that premise.”

Compact? Well, at 194 inches long the 4-door Maverick was comfortably longer than, for example, a Rover Sterling (the benchmark I always use, for some reason) or  a Volvo 700. But by the standards of the late ’60s, it was a pert little thing indeed, if not as pert as the buttock-shaped Beetle.

“Our goal: No unhappy owners.”

Were you, in 1974, a Maverick owner? Did it make you unhappy? Did the entire experience cause you to spiral down into a deep and inescapable depression? If so, Hooniverse want to hear from you.  By the standards of other Fords of the era, owners of which grew tired of their exploding antics should they look at them the wrong way, this compounded by the fact that so many cars of the pre-malaise (Praise-Be brother Murilee) era were as disappointing as the Braille version of the Kama Sutra, the Maverick appears to have not been All That Bad.

Mav2

“You get the full attention of a dealer organisation whose first interest is your satisfaction. This is a deep and personal interest that continues as long as you own your car.”

Ford CARED, y’know, almost to the point of stalking you, or so it seemed. Yes, your life may have been worth less than $5.08 worth of safety modifications; but your investment in the company was very important and you would be valued and be reminded of this every day. This ethos has continued to this day; Ford car dealerships and their attentive, caring staff are the envy of the world, and offer a personal service that Honda, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz can only aspire to.

Or something.

“Maverick designers were among the first to recognise that luxury is a matter of feel, not bulk”

Hooray for the Maverick designers! This seems to have been a philosophy that was very slow to catch on. If you got a plain white loaf of bread and made it three times the size, it wouldn’t be any the more luxurious. You’d just end up with too much plain, featureless, pappy bread. Big-car bread would tend to drip with chrome and chintz, but it was still bread. Maverick sought to be seen as, at the very least, a nice granary or Mediterranean olive loaf.

In my book, the Maverick is, inside and out, a very nicely styled car. Nice enough to make the Mustang II look a bit of a missed opportunity; in step with the times though that car may have been.

Mav3

The brochure begins with Maverick in its most lavish guise, specc’d up with the Luxury Decor Option. A lot of these bits ‘n bobs were dress-up parts, an Odense vinyl roof, colo(u)r-keyed wheel covers and “tasteful” chrome detailing. Inside, you had the joys of a rear seat ashtray, night/day rearview mirror, a dome light and the pure, unabashed luxury of reclining seats (“A visual and comfortable triumph”). There was also a simulated woodtone applique on the instrument panel, because wood is LUXURIOUS. As it happens, I burnt a load of old wood in a big fire the other week, I never paused to think how deluxe a time I was having. 

“Think of them as a family room on wheels”

The luxury could be spiked still further, with SelectShift Cruise-O-Matic and Select-Aire. I’d love to see the return of names like these; how about  Dripz-B-Gone wipers or Graunch-‘n-chip Alloy rims?

Mav4

The next model visited in the brochure is the base model, in two or four door derivatives. And you were hitting the ground with a thump because THERE WAS NO WOODTONE APPLIQUE ON THE DASH. However, there was a glove compartment, something Maverick lacked in the early days. Where fitted the random-stripe cloth looked the part and was actually considerably in advance of anything the UK market was yet offering. Its “no-nonsense good looks” were far more appealing than the “make it look like either your Grandmothers’ couch or something found on a train” choice of fabrics that we were used to.

Mav5

“Ideal for the driver with a little sport in mind”

“The Grabber” may sound like a nickname for a Dickensian rapist, but it was in fact the name of Fords sport-styled 2-door only Maverick.

“Grabber comes on strong. Grabber also FEELS like fun”. The name was all about attention seeking, and the car was far from subtle in its presentation, coming in Orange or Avocado with Pearl White or a number of other combinations all tape-striped to hell and back,  a Dual-Dome hood with Grabber graphics, and available deep dish forged alloy wheels with raised lettering. A must-have, of course.

“Sit behind the wheel and you’ll dig Grabbers all-vinyl interior”.

I really love verbal anachronisms like the above. Just imagine Scion today marketing a car as something that the kids will “Dig”. Imagine Toyota extolling just how “Groovy” the GT86 is. Maybe current Bentley publications are full of Forsooths, Lests, Yonders, Yae’s and Verilies. I just don’t know.

Grabber played at being a muscle car, and it must have been hard in that immediate post-muscle car period where fun wasn’t really allowed any more. Still, with the 302V8 still available it could at least still SOUND a bit like a hi-po ‘stang  did, even though the 200 CID ‘six was more what your Mom and Dad wanted you to have in your provocatively styled car.

For whatever reason, the Maverick name seems to have become rather forgotten. I have NEVER knowingly seen one in the UK. I have seen them in the USA, an impressionable vacationing me saw one in ’95 in absolute beaten-to-death condition, and I wondered why on earth an American Maverick was so different to the rebadged Nissan Terrano SUV we had with the same name.

I’d rather have your’s, I’ll be honest. Especially an early one in Anti-Establish Mint, my new favourite colour name ever.

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24 responses to “The Carchive: Ford Maverick”

  1. dukeisduke Avatar

    Wow, the Luxury Decor option – IIRC, those color-keyed wheelcovers appeared on some other Fords and Mercurys.

    1. Kris_01 Avatar

      Yeah, like the "looks-like-a-Mercedes" Ford Granada.

      1. dukeisduke Avatar

        They were used on Comets, with the color part in black instead of body color.

  2. Devin Avatar

    My sister used to have a Maverick, my enduring memory is that it was extremely brown, possibly the brownest car ever made. She says it was a great first car though, since it was possible to drive into anything and it wouldn't get damaged. I'm not sure how she found this out, but she is a good driver… today.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

      In high school my sister and I shared a base model straight-six '72 Chevelle. I guarantee it was browner.
      EDIT: I believe it was Aegean Brown (which, as I understand it, was actually the exact same color as Buick's "Nutmeg Brown")
      EDIT #2: It wasn't a base model Chevelle, it was a Malibu. But a 6-cylinder, vinyl bench Malibu, so I have no idea what the upfeatures were.

  3. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    "I really love verbal anachronisms like the above. Just imagine Scion today marketing a car as something that the kids will 'Dig'. Imagine Toyota extolling just how 'Groovy' the GT86 is. Maybe current Bentley publications are full of Forsooths, Lests, Yonders, Yae’s and Verilies. I just don’t know."
    <img src="http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/period_speech.png&quot; width="280">

  4. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

    Another good one Chris. But I think I speak for many of us here when I say I'd like to hear more about the tunnels.

    1. skitter Avatar

      We're going to need a bigger string.

  5. nanoop Avatar

    "Odense vinyl roof"? Iirc, Odense is a town in Denmark, famous for its corinthian leath… I mean, odensian vinyl.

  6. Batshitbox Avatar

    The contrast was pretty stark in my family. When my sister got her Maverick as her first car in 1983 we had all grown up in mom's convertible, 327 automatic '68 Camaro. The Maverick, in comparison, was laughable, ugly and thankfully short lived, a throwaway car even though it was less than 10 years old. Over time I would come to realize that 'ugly' was just a synonym for 'Ford', and also for "made in the '70s", but I can never abide a Maverick to this day.
    San Francisco, inexplicably, is absolutely ga-ga for the little runts. From Boss 302 Mavericks to vinyl topped Mercury Comets you can't go a day without seeing one of these things in sparkling unrestored condition. A situation I'm not too chuffed about, mind you.

    1. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

      I've never liked them much, though I seem to like them a bit better the rarer they become. If this continues unchecked, when there's one left, it'll be the best car ever made.
      I gotta say I'm amazed by how much stance changes the look of the Maverick, at least in my own head. Normal height, and the car feels like something a single mom with two boys would drive. Lift the back end a couple of inches and it morphs into a wannabe Camaro.

  7. PushrodRWD Avatar

    What I find interesting is that when I look at some of the older cars that are sold by US companies overseas they seem so familiar. The Ford Cortina from the mid 70s looks like a Maverick to me, with a cleaner nose and tail (probably due to the 5mph bumpers here). Some of the Australian cars are the same way.
    The Maverick was a joke at the time, but today is pretty cool. I enjoy seeing an old Grabber GT that someone has kept going. That is someone that is doing it because they dig the car and not because it is cool car to have.
    The Brazilians dig their Mavericks (and make them look awesome)
    <img src="http://www.lrservice.com.br/news/articlefiles/26-maverick_500Km_597px.jpg"&gt;

    1. Rover1 Avatar

      Because……racing car !!!

  8. P161911 Avatar

    Most of these you see now fall into one of two categories, worn out piece of crap or (about) 10 second drag racing car with a mega HP Ford V-8 of some sort.

  9. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    The Maverick wasn't a very good car. The right front suspension fell off my carpenter's car while he was driving down the highway. But it was better than the Pinto or the Vega. Ford finally stated advertising them, based on their 'Road Hugging Weight', as their main attribute. It's looking much better in hindsight.

  10. lombardi13 Avatar

    The fastest brazilian touring car around the Interlagos circuit is a Maverick, doing 1:42,388.
    Our current V8 stock car racing with tubular chassis and all that racing stuff does 1:41,961.

  11. Marc Avatar

    My first car was a 1974 Maverick 2 door with the LDO option. Granted, by the time I got the car, it was 30 years old, and all the luxury bits, (as well as most of the floor and quarter panels) were gone. While it wasn't a terribly bad car, it wasn't terribly good either. Parts were relatively easy to get, being that it was based on a first gen Mustang platform, fairly reliable (the straight six was anyhow), and had comfy seats. But it was also dangerously slow, had terrible brakes (four wheel drums!), and a bit thirsty. Still love that car…

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