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 It was a cheap, simple machine, based on the same outdated but sturdy and well-understood-by-mechanics chassis design that Ford used beneath Falcons, Mustangs, Granadas, you name it, going back to the early 1960s.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.

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?