Ford Maverick (Americas)
1973 Ford Maverick
|Also called||Ford Falcon Maverick
|Production||1970–1977 (North America)
|Assembly||Claycomo, Missouri, U.S.
Milpitas, California, U.S.
Wayne, Michigan, U.S.
Talbotville, Ontario, Canada
Oakville, Ontario, Canada
São Bernardo do Campo,
São Paulo, Brazil
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door sedan
|Engine||170 cu in (2.8 L)
Thriftpower Six I6
200 cu in (3.3 L)
Thriftpower Six I6
250 cu in (4.1 L)
Thriftpower Six I6
302 cu in (5.0L) V8
|Transmission||Ford C4 transmission in automatic models|
|Wheelbase||103 in (2.616 m) (2-Door)
109.9 in (2.791 m) (4-Door)
|Length||179.4 in (4.557 m) (2-Door) (1970-1972)
187 in (4.750 m) (2-Door) (1974-1977)
193.9 in (4.925 m) (4-Door)
|Width||70.5 in (1.791 m)|
|Height||53.5 in (1.359 m) (2-Door)
53.4 in (1.356 m) (4-Door)
|Curb weight||2,909 lb (1,320 kg) (2-Door)
3,011 lb (1,366 kg) (sedan)
|Predecessor||Ford Falcon (North American)|
|Successor||Ford Granada (North America)
The Ford Maverick is a compact car manufactured and marketed by Ford for model years 1969-1977 in the United States, originally as a two-door sedan employing a rear-wheel drive platform original to the 1960 Falcon — and subsequently as a four-door sedan on the same platform.
The Maverick was originally conceived and marketed as a subcompact "import fighter", intended to do battle with the Volkswagen Beetle and newer Japanese rivals for North America from Honda, Datsun, and Toyota. The Falcon, Ford's compact offering since 1960 and main rival to the Chevrolet Nova and Dodge Dart, had seen its sales decimated by the introduction of the Mustang in 1964, and despite a redesign in 1966, was unable to meet the then forthcoming U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration motor vehicle standards that would come into effect on January 1, 1970. Consequently, the Falcon was discontinued midway through the 1970 model year, and the Maverick repositioned as Ford's compact entry, giving the Nova and Dart a new rival. A bigger Falcon was a rebranded low-trim version of the Fairlane for the second half of the model year, then went away.
Nearly 579,000 Mavericks were produced in its first year, approaching the record-setting first year of Mustang sales (nearly 619,000), and easily outpaced the Mustang's sales of fewer than 200,000 in 1970.
Trim packages and variants
Initially available only as a "2-Door Sedan", early models lacked a glove compartment, which was added for model year 1973. A 4-Door Sedan on a 109.9-inch (2.791 m) wheelbase was introduced in 1971 with roll-down rear door windows.
At introduction, exterior paint colors were named with puns, including Anti-Establish Mint, Hulla Blue, Original Cinnamon, Freudian Gilt, Thanks Vermillion — along with more more typical names including Black Jade, Champagne Gold, Gulfstream Aqua, Meadowlark Yellow, Brittany Blue, Lime Gold, Dresden Blue, Raven Black, Wimbledon White, and Candyapple Red.
Commercials compared the Maverick to the smaller Volkswagen Beetle for $1,995, although the Pinto was later Ford's primary competitor in the subcompact class (while also competing in that segment with the Chevrolet Vega that came out at the same time).
The earliest Mavericks featured a two-spoke steering wheel with a partial horn ring that was also found on other 1969 Fords, while the cars built in the 1970 model year had a revised steering wheel with no horn ring. Also, the early models featured the ignition switch in the instrument panel while the cars built after September 1, 1969 had the ignition switch mounted on a locking steering column, as did all other 1970 Fords in compliance with a new federal safety mandate that took effect with the 1970 model year.
A four-door model was introduced in 1971, available was a vinyl roof. Mercury also revived the Mercury Comet as a rebadged variant of the Maverick. A 210 hp (160 kW) 302 CID V8 was also introduced for both the Comet and the Maverick. The Comet featured a revised grille, taillights, trim, and hood.
The Maverick Grabber trim package was introduced in mid-1970. The package included graphics and trim, including a spoiler. It was offered from 1970 to 1975. In 1971 and 1972, the Grabber came with a special "Dual Dome" hood. A similar package for the Mercury Comet, the Comet GT, was also offered from 1971 to 1975, and featured a hood scoop.
A Sprint package offered in 1972 featured a red, white, and blue paint with matching interior. With similar packages offered on the Pinto and the Mustang, the trim package acknowledged the 1972 Olympics and was available for only one year. U.S. versions were given a stylized U.S. flag made into a rear quarter panel decal. Sprints sold in Canada were also red, white, and blue, but had a quarter badge styled from the Canadian flag.
A "Luxury Decor Option" (LDO) trim level introduced late in the 1972 model year included 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 Maverick LDO option (also offered on the Mercury Comet) was one of the first American compacts to be marketed as a lower-priced (and domestic) alternative to the more expensive European luxury/touring sedans from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, and other makes.
Minor changes were made from 1973 to 1975. For 1973, the 170 CID engine was dropped, making the 200 CID I6 the standard engine. Additionally, improved brakes and a previously optional chrome grille became standard. An AM/FM stereo, aluminum wheels, and a new slightly larger front bumper to comply with federal 5 MPH regulations. In 1974, the Maverick was unchanged except for new even larger federally required 5 MPH bumpers for both front and rear which required new rear quarter panel end caps. Jumping gas prices and increasing demand for smaller cars resulting from the Arab oil embargo did cause the Maverick to grow in popularity, selling 10,000 more units than the year before. Production of the Maverick and Comet dropped in 1975 with the release of the Ford Granada and Mercury Monarch as true Euro-style luxury compacts. The Maverick received minor trim changes for 1975 that included new grilles and the replacement of Maverick nameplates on the hood and trunklid with FORD nameplates spelled out in block letters.
In 1976, the Grabber was dropped, and a Stallion package was introduced. The Stallion option came with special paint and trim. Like the Sprint package four years earlier, Ford offered the Stallion option on several models, this time including the Pinto and the new Mustang II. The Comet GT was also discontinued. Standard Mavericks received another new grille 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. Production continued to drop.
The final year for both the Maverick and Comet was 1977. Both cars remained unchanged except for a police package on the Maverick which was not sufficiently upgraded for police work and sold less than 400 units. The Maverick was produced in Brazil until 1979. Maverick's place in the North American Ford lineup was essentially taken by the 1978 Fairmont.
The Maverick and Comet had no significant changes towards the end of their lifespans since they were originally meant to be replaced in 1975 by the Granada and Monarch. However, Ford decided to keep selling both sets of cars until the 1978 model year introduction of the Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr, which were built on an all-new "Fox" platform that would serve as the basic platform for many Ford/Mercury/Lincoln designs through the early 1990s.
- Nissan Patrol for the Australian Ford Maverick of 1988 to 1994
- Nissan Terrano II for the European Ford Maverick of 1993 to 1999
- Ford Escape for the European Ford Maverick sold since 2001
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- "Ford models". Schenectady Gazette. (advertisement). February 23, 1970. p. 31.
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- The Auto Editors of Consumer Guide (1989). Fifty Years of American Automobiles 1939-1989. Beekman House. ISBN 0-517-68640-6. OCLC 19556249.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ford Maverick.|
- Ford Maverick Webpage with History
- "Maverick: Ford's Big New Small Car." Popular Science, April 1969, pp. 83–85.