Junkyard Find: 1975 Ford Maverick

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1975 ford maverick

The Maverick (and its Mercury sibling, the Comet) was once one of the most numerous cars on American roads. From a period extending from 1970 through about the middle 1980s, the Maverick was everywhere, much as the Taurus is today. It was a cheap, simple machine, based on the same outdated but sturdy and well-understood-by-mechanics chassis design that Ford used beneath Falcons, Mustangs, Granadas, you name it, going back to the early 1960s. The Maverick is just about extinct now, other than a few kept alive by collectors; these days, I might see one every year or so at self-service junkyards. That makes this one (spotted at a yard in Northern California last week) a special Junkyard Find.

When I was a kid, it seemed like everybody’s mom had a Maverick (mine, however, had a Fiat 128). When I became old enough to drive, many of my peers got Mavericks as hand-me-downs from Mom. In the early 1980s, it was hard to get less cool than a Maverick; even the wretched Dodge Colt was considered a (slight) step up.

You could get the Maverick with a V8 from the factory, but nearly all of them got 200- or 250-cubic-inch sixes. Of course, it was no problem to bolt in a 302 or 351W, and most suspension goodies meant for (non-Pinto-based) Mustangs would fit the Maverick. Back in the day, a teenager who doubled the horsepower and maybe added some Centerline wheels to Mom’s ex-Maverick would gain back much of the coolness points lost by not getting a Trans Am at age 16.

I assume some big lawsuit against Ford was the reason behind these ugly dash stickers that you see on most early-to-mid-1970s Ford and Mercury cars. Or was this something that the rental-car companies slapped on their cars back then?

This car was underpowered and handled like a cement mixer, but it was affordable, got better mileage than an LTD, and ran most of the time. What else could you ask for during the dark Malaise days of 1975?

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  • Skyshark_442 Skyshark_442 on May 10, 2012

    i recently accuired a 1975 maverick 6cy with air option car copper and tan ugliest colors ever it had been sitting in a barn since 1988 i got it on a trade needless to say it runs and drives with only 63,000 orig miles however it does have the typical rust spots inner rear fenders ate and lower front but other then that she is a unique car.

  • Deaby16 Deaby16 on Sep 24, 2012

    I loved my Maverick.... My mom got it brand new. Fire engine red black pin stripe black bench seat two door. LOVED IT TO DEATH I don't know what engine it had what specs all I know that my car got me to were I need to be. My mom hated it think it was just to big for a 4'11" person. She complained cause it wouldn't start for her when it rained. Never had an issue with it until one day when the tie rod broke going around one of the many circles we had in NJ. My dad had it fixed after a neighbor yelled at him telling him it need it be done a while back. Simple job had the car back the same day. My dad a bout a year later gave me my moms dodge colt. Was it a trade up maybe but I truly miss my Maverick. Reason for the trade my dad was not very handy and couldn't do minor up keep thought just giving me my moms used car while she got a new one was just better. I hope from time to time I would see it still on the road.

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