The Ford Maverick was a compact car manufactured by Ford , from April 1969-1977 in the United States, Canada and Mexico and from 1973-1979 in Brazil — employing a rear wheel drive platform , dating to the original 1960 Falcon . Originally marketed as a 2-door sedan only at an initial price of $1,995 the Maverick was designed to be inexpensive to manufacture and maintain. The name "Maverick" was derived from the word for unbranded range animals, and the car's nameplate was stylized to resemble a longhorn cow head. The Maverick bowed in Apr. 1969 as the first 1970 model . It arrived as an all-new car but shared engines and running gear with the Falcon. The Falcon was still in production at the Maverick's introduction and wasn't discontinued until eight months later.
At introduction, exterior paint carried distinctive names including Anti-Establish Mint, Hulla Blue, Original Cinnamon, Freudian Gilt, Thanks Vermillion — along with more pedestrian names, including Black Jade, Champagne Gold, Gulfstream Aqua, Meadowlark Yellow, Brittany Blue, Lime Gold, Dresden Blue, Raven Black, Wimbledon White, and Candyapple Red. In the first half of production for the 1970 model, there were two available engine options, a 170 CID iline 6 and a 200 CID I6. A 250 CID I6 was added mid-year. Commercials compared the Maverick to the smaller VW Beetle for $1,995, although the Ford Pinto would later be Ford's real subcompact competitor. Early 1970 models built from the introduction in April until August 1969 had a few interior features that the later 1970 models built from September, 1969 onward did not. Those early Mavericks featured a two-spoke steering wheel with 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.
1971 brought the introduction of the four door sedan model with available 250 I6, 302 V8. Improvement on the vehicle began in 1973 as the 200 I6 and LDO grill became standard on the Maverick. Better more dependable brakes also became a permanent feature along with AM/FM stereo and aluminum wheel options. The muscle car themed Grabber trim package was introduced for 197 as well . The package included special graphics and trim, including a rear spoiler . For 1971 , the Grabber came with a special "Dual Dome" hood. A similar package for the Mercury Comet, the Comet GT, was also offered for 1971 and had "muscle car" trim akin to the Maverick Grabber, plus its own distinctive hood scoops .
A Sprint package offered in 1972 featured a special red, white, and blue paint with matching interior. With similar packages offered on the Pinto and the Mustang, the trim package patrioticly 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. The badge was very much in the vein of Olympic symbols, but without being too close, to avoid copyright infringement. 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 was introduced late in the 1972 model year 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 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.
In 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 front bumper were added (the latter to comply with new federal regulations). In 1974, the Maverick was unchanged except for rear federal bumpers and larger trunk with a higher deck. 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. The Grabber was freshened for 1973 , with a new stripes and graphics kit , and slotted aluminum wheels , which gave the car a more racy appearance .
A 200-cube six was the standard Maverick powerplant in '74, but you could get the 250 for an extra 42 bucks, or a 140-horse 302 for $122. Huge 5MPH crash bumpers were also standard. In 1974, the Maverick was unchanged style wise , except for rear federal bumpers and larger trunk with a higher deck. There were trim and color changes to help differentiate the year models , but nothing major .
For 1975 , Ford went to solid state ignition for all it's models , and installed catalytic converters on all cars built for U.S. sales , so that they would run cleanly on unleaded fuel. This was as per government regulations for all auto makers . 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 Maverickand Comet continued on , as Ford execs saw a need for the car until it's replacement was readied for production in late 1977 . 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 lettering .
1976 brought along an updated new grill and front disc brakes that became standard.Also for the '76 model run , 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. The options list offered new colors and 2 tone paint schemes and co-ordinating interior combinations. Production and sales continued to drop.
1977 was the final year for both the Maverick and Comet. 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 saw no significant changes towards the end of their lifespan 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 to be built on an all-new "Fox" platform that would serve as the basic platform for many Ford/Mercury/Lincoln designs. through the early 1990s. Total Maverick & Comet productionover thier lifespan came to 2,586,675 cars. In the last few years there has been building interest in Mavericks and Comets including the formation of a club and increased part support. The International Maverick / Comet Club has been formed to allow those interested in these cars to share information and organize events .
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