BY CODY FACTEAU
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you say the word, "Maverick?" Ask any movie aficionado and you will probably hear, "Tom Cruise in Top Gun." Ask any cowboy and he'll probably tell you a long horned cow or maybe he'll say, "James Garner as Bret Maverick" in the TV series, Maverick. Ask a gear head, especially a Ford gear head and the answer might surprise you.
Here's how I discovered the Ford Maverick. There I was, cruisin' the aisles of Walmart, in search of the video game section. Somehow, I found myself in the kid's toy aisle, standing in front of the Hot Wheels rack. So, I decided to see what was there. Hot Wheels are cool, after all. They are mini cars and the closest thing a kid can get to a real car. First I saw a host of Exotics and Super Cars, a bunch of Imports and then the traditional crazy concept cars that Hot Wheels designs themselves. Too wild for me! And then, I saw some epic old muscle cars. As I was pawing through the racks, trying to find even more muscle cars, I was stopped in my tracks. All of the other muscle cars I seen, I knew, except this one.
First, the paint job caught my eye. It was dark blue with yellow stripes, with matching yellow wheels. It had the traditional long hood, short deck design, but the name was totally unfamiliar to me, Maverick. Who made the Maverick, I wondered. I reached into the far back of the row and fished it out. Turning it over, I attempted to read the ultra mega fine print only readable with a microscope, which I sadly left at home. But, finally there it was, in the far corner, a tiny box with an icon I recognized, Ford Motor Company. This called for further investigation. Grabbing a dollar, I headed to the checkout, purchasing this Hot Wheels solely in the interest of research. Once home, I jumped on to the computer and typed in Maverick. This is where I discovered Tom Cruise and James Garner, as well as the Ford Motor Companies Maverick Grabber. This is what I found out about the Ford Maverick.
The Ford Maverick was a compact car manufactured from 1969-1977 in the US, Canada and Mexico. And it was produced from 1973-1979 in Brazil. It employed a rear-wheel drive platform dating to the original 1960 Falcon. It was originally marketed as a 2-door sedan with an initial price of $1,995. It was designed to be inexpensive to manufacture and maintain.
The Maverick's styling featured the long hood, fastback roof and short deck similar to the Mustang. Ford's leading compact car at the time was the Falcon, but its sales were being decimated by the Mustang. Nearly 579,000 Mavericks were produced in its first year, which rivaled the first year of Mustang sales, and for the year 1970, Mavericks were sold three to one over Mustang. It was intended to be Ford's new compact car, but quickly caught on as an economical muscle car. (The Ford Pinto would later become Ford's real subcompact competitor, but that's another whole story.)
I could go into a host of trim packages and variants, but really stood out to me was the really unusual exterior paint names, including: Anti-Establish Mint, Hulla Blue, Original Cinnamon, Freudian Gilt, Thanks Vermillion, Black Jade, Champagne Gold, Gulfstream Aqua, Meadowlark Yellow, Brittany Blue, Lime Gold, Dresden Blue, Raven Black, Wimbledon White and, of course, Candyapple Red.
So, what have we learned today? We learned that the Mustang had internal competition from the Maverick and is typically overlooked by most classic car collectors today. But, if you go to Brazil, you will find this car is still adored by muscle car enthusiasts. And, I learned about a unique muscle car that is new to me and I learned how to use the word aficionado in a sentence!
Cody Facteau is a 15-year old homeschooler from East Burke. He enjoys anything to do with cars, particularly the Classics. He loves Le Mans racing, his favorite TV show is Top Gear (BBC), hobbies are Legos and PlayStation. Career goals? What else, cars!