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Ford Maverick

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Ford introduced the compact Maverick in April, 1969, as an early 1970 model to replace the outgoing Falcon, which was dropped after the 1969 model year (although the name did live on briefly in 1970 as a base model Torino). Ford initially saw the Maverick as an import-fighter for cars such as the Toyota Corolla and Volkswagen Beetle, although most would agree that the subcompact Pinto, introduced a year later, was much better suited for that role. The Maverick was initially available only as a 2-door "fastback" sedan, but a 4-door sedan model would follow in 1971. No station wagon model would be offered. According to several Ford insiders, the Maverick was originally slated to be either a full Mustang replacement or the newest restyling of the Mustang, but of course neither scenario came true. The Maverick carried on thru the 1977 model year (with its corporate twin, the Mercury Comet) with only minor changes until it was replaced by the Fairmont in 1978. This report covers both the Maverick and Comet, except where noted.

Here's a quick rundown:

Ford Maverick
Ford Motor Company
Production 1970-1977
Class Compact
Body Style 2-Door Coupe
4-Door Sedan
Length
Width
Height
Wheelbase 103" (coupe)
109" (sedan)
Weight 2600-3000 lbs
Transmission 3-Speed Manual, RWD
4-Speed Manual, RWD
3-Speed Automatic, RWD
Engine 2.8L (170 cid) I6 (1970-1972)
3.3L (200 cid) I6 (1970-1977)
4.1L (250 cid) I6 (1970-1977)
5.0L (302 cid) V8 (1971-1977)
Power 95-210 hp
Similar Mercury Comet

Contents

1970-1977

The standard 1970 Maverick coupe was built to a price ($1995 starting price to be exact), and lacked such features as roll-down rear quarter windows (pop-out windows were as good as it got) and a glovebox door to help keep costs down to a minimum. 3 I6 engines were available, starting with the base 2.8L (170 cid) I6 that was carried over from the previous Falcon. The larger 3.3L (200 cid) was optional, and the 4.1L (250 cid) I6 was added as a mid-year option (also carryovers from the Falcon). 3- and 4-speed manual transmissions, along with a 3-speed automatic, were available on all engines. A musclecar-inspired Grabber package was another mid-year offering, but with no V8 engine, the Maverick Grabber was clearly outgunned by compact rivals such as the Dodge Dart Swinger 340 and the Chevrolet Nova SS. Grabbers had special decals and unique blacked-out grilles with the parking lights up beside the headlights versus underneath the bumper for standard Mavericks. The 1970 Maverick was a major sales success for Ford, with nearly 579,000 units sold, a first year sales record bettered only by Ford's own Mustang in 1965, and certainly held its own with its rivals from Chrysler and GM.

1971 Mavericks were nearly identical to the 1970 models, but 3 major things happened to the Maverick this year: the addition of a 4-door sedan (with a 6" longer wheelbase and actual roll-down rear windows), a V8 option (the 5.0L 302 cid unit), and the gain of a corporate twin, the Mercury Comet, which differed from the Maverick by offering slightly more upscale trim, a different grille, hood, and individual taillight units borrowed from its larger Montego brother. All drivetrain choices continued from the previous year, and the Grabber model (and likewise Comet GT) could have a V8 this year (along with a dual domed hood) - still paling in comparison to its rivals, but at least Ford made an effort. For 1972, the Sprint option was offered on the Maverick only, which had a special white with blue and red trim paint scheme (also shared with the Pinto and Mustang), and could be had with any drivetrain. A new Luxury Decor Option (LDO) package was offered on both models, which dressed up the interior somewhat by including reclining bucket seats in a soft vinyl material, plush carpeting, woodgrained instrument panel trim, radial tires with body-color deluxe wheel covers and a vinyl roof. The LDO was pretty much mandatory if you didn't want your base Maverick or Comet resembling a bare-bones taxicab.

1973 Mavericks and Comets both had larger federally-mandated front 5 MPH bumpers and (wonder of wonders) a real glovebox door. The rarely-ordered 170 cid I6 was dropped, the 200 I6 was now the base engine. Other drivetrain and transmission choices continued unchanged. Grabber models got revised larger decals. In 1974, the rear bumper was enlarged to comply with the new federal standard, and the Grabber grille was now standard on all Mavericks. In 1975, Ford introduced a new line of compact/intermediates, the Ford Granada and Mercury Monarch, prompting many to wonder if this would spell the end of the Maverick and Comet, but Ford decided there was room enough for both the Maverick and Granada, so the Maverick and Comet stayed on and continued with very little change. Catalytic converters were introduced this year (depending where the cars were sold), so some Mavericks and Comets started requiring unleaded gasoline. The Maverick received other minor trim changes for 1975 that included another new grille and the replacement of Maverick nameplates on the hood and trunklid with FORD nameplates spelled out in block letters. Speedometers now read 100 MPH (down from 120) and got revised gauge graphics.

In 1976, the Grabber and Comet GT models were dropped, but Ford offered a new paint and decal Stallion package on the Maverick as a quasi-replacement and could be had with any engine option. Mavericks received another new grille (which was now divided in the middle) and gained front disc brakes as standard equipment along with a new foot-operated parking brake that replaced the old under-dash T-handle unit. Sales started falling on both models as they were getting a bit long-in-the-tooth - Chrysler had just replaced the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Valiant with the Aspen and Volare this year, and GM had an all-new Chevrolet Nova a year prior, not to mention Ford's own Granada and Monarch were making the Maverick look old-hat. 1977 Mavericks and Comets held on for one more year in 1977 with virtually no changes. The Maverick would be replaced by an all-new Ford Fairmont in 1978, and the Comet would give way to the Fairmont-twin Zephyr.

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