By Dave Turner
Photographs appear after the text and are by, and copyright of, the Author.
“It’s A Little Gas” – Maverick 1969-77
As the strap line on Fords March 1969 brochure claims, the whole point of the new Maverick was that it was aimed at the economy market and as such was going to be frugal on gas – a rather important subject at this time in the US. This was the smallest Ford made in the US until the even smaller Pinto arrived for 1971 and until then the only one that sold for under $2000.
It was based on the Falcon but with the wheelbase shortened to 103” and was initially available with the 170ci or 200ci in line 6. The name Maverick was applied to an unbranded head of beef cattle and that explains the stylised horned cattle head on badges and publicity material. So much in demand was an economical small car during the fuel problems of the time that by 1970 the Maverick was Fords best seller in the US by far. At least by then the finish of the car had become a little less austere with bright trim added to the rain gutters and window frames together with full wheel covers. An option was the Grabber “sporty” package, prior to it becoming a stand-alone model.
A four door version of the Maverick arrived in 1971 with a wheelbase extended by almost 7 inches while a 250ci 6 was added to the engine choices. The sporty version of the 2 door called the Grabber was added to the range as a specific model and this had the option of a 302ci V8 and was identified by having a different hood boasting twin air intakes and black stripes together with a blacked out grille that contained a pair of driving lights. .
In 1973 the cars were fitted with 5mph bumpers and the pair of extra lights in the grille came with every version while the central grille emblem was replaced by a Maverick badge close to the left side auxiliary light. The full strength federal bumpers arrived for 1974 and these changed the whole character of the relatively small Maverick almost giving it a slightly whimsical air. This didn’t worry the fuel starved US motorists who kept buying these cars in vast numbers. In fact the Maverick was due to be replaced by the slightly bigger Granada for 1975 but continued alongside it for another two years.
1976 Mavericks received a new split grille while front disc brakes became standard. The sporty Grabber was deleted although a Stallion Group option on the 2 door provided something that at least looked sporty. This was deleted for 1977, the Mavericks last year. Almost throughout the cars production there were numerous options that featured various layouts of vinyl roofs and wide rubbing strips along the body sides that contrived to give these economy machines a touch of luxury.
Models of the Maverick are rather limited in number but extremely varied in concept. So far no four door Maverick model of any description has been found, a bit of a surprise as the real 4 doors were certainly big sellers at the time. As mentioned in the Ford in Brazil piece, the pedigree of some of these is rather complex. A 1975 Maverick is mentioned in MAR 277 in a piece by Jon William Greenbaum in which it is listed as a GT by “Ixo-for-Altaya/DeAgostini. The US car brochures don’t list a GT, their sporty versions was called Grabber – and by 1975 it had the hefty federal bumpers. However, as mentioned in that article Premium X has issued it and this features the plated bumpers of the original US cars, plus “Ford Maverick GT” on its base. It probably represents a 1971/2 US car – small bumpers and V8 engine. Also in the “Brazil” piece, the Carros Nacionals ‘toy’ Maverick comes complete with “GT” on its base while the opening doors and pull-back motor are obviously intended it to be played with.
Quite different is the tin 2 door from Bandai that scales out to 1:20 and came with a variety of forms of propulsion – battery and remote control being just two. In no way intended to be scale models they are quite well proportioned, the entire body being pressed out of a single piece of tinplate.
Different again is the Funmate 1:35 plastic Grabber that was one of six similar Fords in this range of trigger-propelled toys. Featuring the twin air intakes on the hood of the 1971/72 cars it has a one-piece body and a silver base that includes front and rear panels.
Numerous kits for the Maverick have been recorded over the years, some have failed to be represented in this collection – usually due to not finding them. One in the US Hawk range of 1:24 plastic kits has proved elusive as have the Palmer US plastic 1:32 kits. Johan in the US produced some plastic promos for the Maverick from which some 1:25 kits were derived – most, or all of which were for custom/drag/funny cars. Meanwhile from Japan came some large 1:16 plastic kits from Fujimi and 1:24 kits from Otaki.
A resin kit from JPG offered a 1971 Grabber, Linberg produced some small plastic kits called Mini Lindy and included a 1970 2 door and of course Revell issued more 1:32 plastic kits of the 2 door cars.
Motormax have produced diecast Mavericks in both 1:60 and 1:24, some kits in the larger size depicting the ’74 and ‘76 cars with federal bumpers, the only miniatures of these later examples to have been found so far. The interior details appear to represent the earlier cars however. Johnny Lightning have offered some extremely acceptable small diecast models as well as less realistic toy versions of the same subjects. Their 2 door Mavericks have the Grabber type hood striping but lack the auxiliary lights in the grille so we will assume that they represent the Grabber option for the 1970 2 door. Mattels Hot Wheels Mavericks came in all manner of imaginative creations as well as a few more acceptable offerings.
A 1:21 scale toy Maverick came from Processed Plastic in soft plastic featuring a simple interior and rather narrow wheels/tyres. A stick-on label on the base declares “Please note: this toy is not licensed by, sponsored, or associated with any current television program or producer thereof.(Processed Plastic Co.)” Intriguing ! Tiger Wheels 1:64 toys were initially produced by Anson for gravity track racing but a subsequent issue of a Maverick seem to have been made in many colours and variations.
Ford Maverick 1969-77 model listing
|Ixo/Premium X||China||148||1975||2 door GT(Brazil)||106mm||1:43||diecast|
|Carros Nacionals||1975||2 door GT (Brazil)||114mm||1:40||diecast|
|Hawk||USA||1970||2 door||1:24||plastic kit|
|Johan||USA||1969||2 door||1:25||plastic promo|
|Johan||USA||1970||2 door||1:25||plastic promo|
|Johan||USA||1971||2 door||1:25||plastic promo|
|Fujimi||Japan||1970||2 door||1:16||plastic kit|
|Otaki||Japan||OT3-26||1970||2 door||1:24||plastic kit|
|Mini Lindy||USA||27||1970||2 door||1:64||plastic kit|
|Johnny Lightning||China||922||1970||2 door Grabber option||72mm||1:63||diecast|
|Palmer||USA||1971||2 door||1:32||plastic kit|
|Palmer||USA||1972||2 door||1:32||plastic kit|
|Palmer||USA||1973||2 door||1:32||plastic kit|
|Palmer||USA||1974||2 door||1:32||plastic kit|
|Processed Plastic||USA||9485||1970||2 door||214mm||1:21||plastic|
|Revell||USA||H1249||1970||2 door||143mm||1:32||plastic kit|
|Revell||USA||H1108||1970||2 door re-issue of above||143mm||1:32||plastic kit|
Illustrations: Ford Maverick
Processed Plastic 1:21 plastic from USA: 9485, 1970 2 Door
Bandai 1:20 tinplate from Japan: 4386, 1970 2 Door
This example had remote control, others were battery powered.
Hot Wheels 1:64 diecast from Malaysia: 038/214, 1971 Grabber.
Featuring the twin air scoops on the hood. Auxiliary lights in grille barely discernible.
Premium X 1:43 diecast from China: 148, Brazil 1975 GT
Retaining the slender bumpers of the earlier US examples.
Carros Nacionals 1:40 diecast for Brazilian market: 1975 GT
Like the Premium X looking like earlier US cars.
Motormax 1:60 diecast from China: 73600, 2 Door.
Johnny Lightning 1:63 diecast from China: 922, 1970 2 Door
The striping indicates the Grabber option.
Funmate 1:35 plastic from Japan: 1971 Grabber.
Revell 1:32 plastic kit from USA: H1249, 1970 2 Door.
MotorMax 1:24 diecast kit from China: 75120, 1974 Grabber
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