Ford Maverick

ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaMember Posts: 15,768
edited March 2014 in Ford
I expect folks might have some '70s memories of these. Ford sure sold a bundle of them.
Interesting to compare them to today's entry-level cars. The Maverick was pretty primitive by comparison, yet I thought it did it's mission in life pretty well. We had one, a '74, bought new. It was a 4-door with the "Luxury Decor Option", which meant you got some reclining bucket seats in front (from the Capri, I think), some plush carpet, a vinyl roof, and some vinyl-filled bodyside moldings along with a vinyl applique between the taillights. Aside from that it had power steering but manual drum brakes, an AM radio, automatic and the "big" six (250 CID). Oh, and I almost forgot, special body-color wheelcovers and the infamous Firestone 500 radials.
The engine was barely adequate, the brakes definitely inadequate. Ours had a pull to the left when braking the dealer could never cure. The worst problem with the car was rust. I have never seen any car rust this badly. We had it for a little over 4 years and in that time the underside of the hood totally rotted away, the front spring tower welds began to separate due to rust, the trunk began to rust because of an unrepairable water leak, and the dogleg between the rear door and the rear wheel opening rotted within 18 months (a perforation hole because the thing constantly filled with water).
It's a shame, because it was a nice-looking car and was utterly reliable. I liked driving it. But it was the last Ford I ever owned because of that rust (I know, they are probably much improved now).
Anyone else have any Maverick memories?

2017 Cadillac ATS Performance Premium 3.6


  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    The Maverick was probably one of the junkiest cars Ford ever made. Can be easily compared with the Aerostar and Tempo.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,706
    ...I would see one in the parking lot at work. It was a red 4-door, and looked like it was meticulously maintained. One day my Gran Fury was acting up, and I was under the hood for some reason or other, when the Maverick's owner happened to come out and we struck up a conversation. Funny how old car owners just sort of gravitate towards each other!

    The guy let me sit behind the wheel of it, just to feel what it was like. Considering I'm 6'3", it wasn't THAT bad. Felt like it had about as much legroom as a Nova of the time, but definitely less than a Dart or Valiant, which I'll always consider the benchmark of compact cars. It was actually pretty comfortable...the seat was pretty well-padded. Still, it let you know it was a compact car. One thing I never liked about the Maverick, or the Granada that was based upon it (or any of the Fox-bodied cars for that matter) is that the transmission and driveshaft hump are just disproportionately large, which makes the footwells feel like claustrophobic tunnels. They're also kinda narrow inside.

    Say what you want about the Maverick today, but it was sold from 1970-77, and sold well every year. In fact, its first year out, it broke the record the Mustang had set for first-model-year sales, back in '64. Like the Mustang, the Maverick's first model year was extra long, starting earlier than normal, in April 1969, I believe.

    As for small '70's Fords go, the Maverick wasn't bad. Heck, get 2-door model with the V-8, and it seems like it would've made a better Mustang than the Mustang II did!
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    I have to agree with you about the footwells. The ones on my parents' 81 Granada and '85 Marquis Brougham were very narrow. It's the same thing with my '92 Jeep Cherokee; the transmission tunnel is just too large.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    I remember a test of a 302 Maverick in Car & Driver (I think). It had a three speed stick (no four speed offered) and very slow manual steering. Apparently this combination demanded lots of hand and foot activity because they said you could go pretty fast if you didn't step on your hands.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    We were newly married, young and dumb.

    It was a 1970 with the 200 six and automatic.

    I remember, it was the nicer model with whitewalls and full wheel covers.

    Andre...stop laughing!

    Anyway, we paid I think 2500.00 for it. Signed up for 65.00 per month payments and later that night had a horrible case of buyer's remorse.

    In the end it worked out. Only kept it a couple of years but it was OK for what it was.

    No rust...So. Calif.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,706
    ...actually, I didn't start laughing until you told me not to ;-) How long did people usually finance cars for back then?

    Guess the cheaper model just had blackwalls and dog-dish hubcaps...maybe a big rubber mat inside instead of carpeting? About like what a cheap Dart or Valiant was back then?

    Didn't the earlier models lack a glovebox? For some reason, I remember reading that they had a little shelf under the dash, but no glovebox.
  • jaserbjaserb Member Posts: 858
    Shifty, burn this topic, PUHLEAZE!!! There is no room for a Ford Maverick topic in a Classic Cars discussion - that's a car best left forgotten. My folks had one when I was growing up - it was dark olive green, with a lighter color green vinyl top. Even back then I didn't think Ford could have made an uglier car if they tried. Actually, wait... that was the Mustang II era, wasn't it? I guess I have to correct myself.

  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572
    I learned to drive in a 76 Maverick 4 door. It was that light blue color Ford seems to paint half of it's cars. My father, who grew up in the depression, so only got two options - an AM radio and an automatic tranny. No air, had the 200 I-6.

    Have to say my siblings and I all learned to drive in that car, and we beat the hell out of it. My brother ran it through the fields and jumped a drainage ditch to escape the cops, car was uninjured other than the steering (manual) squeaked until the end.

    For the times and the price, not a bad car.
  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Member Posts: 219
    I remember that when they came out they advertised them as starting at under $2000. Of course at that price the glove box was optional.
  • avalanche325avalanche325 Member Posts: 116
    I am in So. Cal. and still see a couple Mavericks and a Mercury Comet (OOOOOOO, luxury car!) running around. My friend had one, that nasty green, without he glovebox. It would ALWAYS run, no matter what.

    He left a bottle of Coke in the car on a hot day, it exploded! Put brown spots all over the cream headliner.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    My folks never owned a Maverick, but you sure couldn't kill those seven-main-bearing 200 straight-sixes. Dad used to own a '68 Mustang coupe with a 200 and the thing would just keep running and running.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    Can't forget Mom's '81 Granada sedan with the trusy 200!
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,706
    ...which would put it around 1983-84, I had a friend whose family had not one, but TWO of those Maverick-based Comets! They also had a '72 Plymouth Satellite wagon. My friend's dad was an engineer for NASA. He must've had a thing for cheap, fleet-like vehicles, because in the early '90's, they had not one, but TWO Ford Tempos! They replaced the Comets. They kept the Satellite around for awhile longer though. Heck who knows...maybe they still have it! Haven't seen my friend or his family in about 10 years now, so I don't know what they drive nowdays!

    Jrosa, my grandparents had a '77 Granada coupe, then an '81 Granada coupe, then an '85 LTD. I forget what the '77 had in it, but I'm pretty sure their '81 also had the 200 six. The '85 LTD had a 232 V-6. After that, they got an '89 Taurus and now a '94 Taurus. Out of 'em all though, they always liked the look of that '81 Granada the best! In fact, that '81 had a habit of fooling people into thinking it was a much more expensive car than it really was. When it was still fairly new, they went to the local shopping center, and the local kids who were skipping school and hanging out were actually pointing and hollering "OOH LOOK!! THE NEW GRANADA!" And they were being serious! In 6th grade, I went to a private school where you had to pay extra to ride the bus, so most of the kids were in carpools or had parents or relatives pick 'em up. One day, Granddad was picking me up, and he came up in the Granada. One of my friends asked me which car was Granddad's, and when I pointed at it, he exclaimed "WHAT, IS YOUR GRANDDAD RICH OR SOMETHING?! THAT'S THE BEST LOOKING CAR OUT THERE!" And this guy's parents drove Benzes ;-)

    Oh well, I guess when it came to that pimpy look, Ford pulled it off the best back then ;-)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Too bad. Ford had the Pinto, the Mustang and the Maverick. They should have named the LTD the Clydesdale.
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    [ for which she had paid 100.00 ]on a 70 Maverick Grabber. Bright yellow. $2600.00 [auto, 200 cid 6....I was worried that she couldn't afford the payments!!!!] right off the showroom floor and the only one in the Chambersburg PA.area.It had just hit the dealership. We drove past a line in front of a movie house and people were pointing and staring like "What's that???" It ran beautifully, though the non power steering was tough on the old lady!
    Say what you will about it,it was more a small Mustang [which owed it's own existence to that same "junky" Falcon chassis that spawned the Maverick], than a VW fighter,and the rags at the time such as Motor Trend recognized it as such:"It's a 2600.00 Mustang for people who can't afford a 3200.00 one." That's as near the quote as I can remember.
    Anyone have one with the semi auto transmission that was offered early on?
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,706
    I used to date a girl who lived in Shippensburg, the next town up I-81 from Chambersburg! She drove a '77 Granada 4-door with a 302. I used to like making the road trip up there (it was maybe 90-100 minutes away) because it was like a whole different world up there. Quaint row houses, small-town charm, and all the old cars anybody could want ;-)
  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 43,522
    When I was in high school (late '70s), the guy accross the street was a used car sales manager for a Caddy dealer in the bronx. He used to bring home some interesting cars, of few of which I really wanted bad (including a '68 El Camino, 350 4-speed and a '70 Camaro SS396 4 speed).

    On topic, he had a Comet for a while. Red, 302 3 speed, the "sport" model (don't think it was a grabber, maybe some sort of "GT")? Never drove it, but it looked pretty sharp for the day, with mag wheels and tape stripes. Think it even had a hood scoop.

    Could have bought it for a whopping $900 or so at the time to replace my $300 '67 Camaro (the "lightweight" version without a trunk floor or rear quarters, 6 cyl powerglide).

    That Comet really did seem like a slightly roomier (taller) Mustang. Probably drove the same too.

    2020 Acura RDX tech SH-AWD

  • corsicachevycorsicachevy Member Posts: 316
    My father had a dark blue (beautiful color) Maverick two-door when I was child. It was the first car I ever drove. Being a country kid, I must have been about 9-10 years old when I got behind the wheel and began touring the cranberry bogs near my house.

    Because it was my "first", I still have a soft spot in my heart for the Maverick.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,706
    ...some friends of the family had a beat up '76 or so Maverick 4-door. It was dark blue, and I think it had a light blue vinyl top. They retired it when my grandparents sold them their '72 Impala, which was in better shape. At the time they also had a beat up little Datsun from the '70's. I think it was a 200 SX. Funky design, kind of like the '70's interpretation of futuristic style (along the lines of "Space 1999", "Buck Rogers" and "Battlestar Galactica"), and I remember it was a hardtop. I kinda liked their Maverick. It was cheap and beat-up, but just kept running. I think the main reason they wanted my grandparents' Impala was that this lady's son was about 6'5" and probably 250-300 lb, so he was probably killing that poor Mav!
  • mhansen1mhansen1 Member Posts: 14
    ... for a 1982 Granada station wagon. In '82/'83 I was 15 and had a friend who was a year or 2 older and had her license. Her mother had this Granada station wagon and used to let me drive it!! In fact, I would drive everytime we were together ... I guess it was ok since no cop was going to pull over a tan station wagon driven by a kid. I swear though if I ever found one in good shape I may even consider buying it ... have not seen one in years
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    old cars so interesting: what they've meant to you in the past, or a reminder.
    Andre:My Grandmother worked at Hanover Shoes and lived near Gettysburg and my older brother went to Shippensburg State College.We lived in a small village outside St.Thomas called Edenville:Two General Stores, 3 gas pumps and one stop light, if any! Beautiful country!!!!
    Granny's Maverick did show some rust in one of the quarters behind the wheel, so I did a very neat time intensive job on it with a small can of premix bondo. I had it blended and painted so you really could not tell anyone had been there, and my Grandfather says, " Here's how you can tell if the paint is dry already." And before I could scream "NO!",he'd let a piece of newspaper touch the just painted surface which of course grabbed the paper like crazy glue and stuck. Where he got the idea, I have no clue, but talk about an old fashioned throw yourself on the ground and bang your head in the dirt hissy fit!!! He was a great guy,but hell for sense!
  • avalanche325avalanche325 Member Posts: 116
    Are you sure? I can't get that picture in my head. Is there a picture of one somewhere?
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,706
    ...think of a Fairmont wagon with a Granada front-end. I think it might've been only offered for 1982. For '83, the Granada was replaced by the LTD, which had a sedan and wagon body style, but no coupe.
  • avalanche325avalanche325 Member Posts: 116

    That is not a pretty picture. I did a search on "Ford Granada" and got several hits. They were all in Europe. Not the same car. It looked like another version of the european escort. (the little one, not the US Capri) Seems to have quite a following.
    I would still love to see a picture.
    I worked a my dads gas station in high school, 79 - 82. There were plenty of Granadas, Monarchs, and Versais (sp) running around then. I remember you could count on the plastic gas cap cover door of a Monarch to be broken if the car was over 6 months old. The Granada had an exposed chrone gas cap.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,706 . You have to scroll down the page some. It's kinda grainy, but should give you a pretty good idea of an '82 Granada wagon.
  • blh7068blh7068 Member Posts: 375
    My neighbor had one...dark blue /dark blue interior. Myself and the neighbor kid when we were 12-13 years old used to drive it around their property(5 acres). It had the six (w/a real bad lifter tick!). I never thought it was a bad looking car...but I know they were riddled w/problems. Not my first choice, but a grabber with a 302 in one of those funky colors would be kinda cool....
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
    made a great college car for my daughter. Color was Ginger Glow with matching wheelcovers. An outstanding runner. It replaced her 65 Fairlane, 289, C4, 4 Door. Both cars were great in the mountain snow.
  • avalanche325avalanche325 Member Posts: 116
    Oh how the memories come back! I can see how i could only get a picture of the Fairmont, they don't look muck different.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 15,306
    ...has a yellow 1976 Mercury Comet in fairly decent condition. I've worked there for over ten years and have seen this car there just about every day since.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    You'd think after ten years they'd give him a raise.
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    and he's sitting on a nice chunk of change having not spent all his money on depreciating assets.:-}
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    There's a snappy comeback to that but I can't think of it now... ;-)
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    By that inscrutable comment I think Kinley is suggesting that life itself is a depreciating asset with an estimated useful life way too short to be driving a yellow 1976 Comet for ten-plus years.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Or the owner could have been a liberated human being with no self-image needs to worry about.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Member Posts: 1,308
    ...but, come on. It's a '76 Comet!
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    I'm nearly wetting my pants!!! LOL
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    What the big deal is about these humdrum little Fords.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Here's a link to everything you ever wanted to know about these cars.

  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,628 aunt had a '70, the exact car depicted in the ad (dull red, small hubcaps, 2-door, three on the tree). She *LOVED* it (it was her first car, she was ~18).
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    My mom bought a new four door Maverick 302 V8 back in 1974. It had the "Luxury Decor Option" which meant thicker carpeting, reclining front buckets, a map light, fake wood, wider side molding and "color keyed" wheel covers. It was a typical 70s American car- a near bulletproof drivetrain, second-rate handling, non-existent brakes, and sheetmetal that began to rust through within four years of purchase. It still wasn't as horrible to drive as her later purgatory on wheels- a 1984 Topaz. Isn't that somewhat like saying Hillary Clinton isn't as ugly as Rosie O'Donnel???
  • a_l_hubcapsa_l_hubcaps Member Posts: 518

    Yeah, I think I would rather drive a '74 Maverick than an '84 Topaz. At least the Maverick would run most of the time.

    -Andrew L
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    My dad's '77 Camaro did the same thing most Mavericks did back then: it rusted.
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