Minty Mav: 1973 Ford Maverick

How some cars that were utterly average in their day, survive unscathed for decades is a head-scratcher. Take the Ford Maverick, a 70s-era import fighter designed to compete with the likes of the Volkswagen Beetle. Although most economy cars lead difficult lives under the ownership of young drivers and city dwellers, some can survive with low miles and perfect paint. Enter this 1973 Ford Maverick, with only 27k original miles which is available here on eBay.

Despite its humble underpinnings, the Maverick could be spiced up. The Grabber package introduced in the mid-70s featured special trim and graphics, a spoiler and dual-dome hood. Although the example featured here didn’t come with the sport-themed options, the striped interior livens things up and the mint-condition chrome bumpers adds some visual appeal to the car’s fastback shape. Its storage in a climate-controlled environment for the last several years has clearly helped keep the car’s cosmetic condition intact.

Although not equipped for speed, the Maverick did provide nearly 579,000 buyers with solid A-to-B transportation in its first year of production. For 1973, the Maverick came standard with a 200 cubic inch inline-six cylinder, replacing the 170CI I6. A 250CI I6 was also available, but the seller doesn’t specify which the subject car is equipped with. However, the engine is original to the car and we suspect that the column-mounted SelectShift Cruise-O-Matic transmission is too.

As to be expected with mileage this low, the interior appears as if it’s been barely used. A mint-condition dash, clear gauges, good glass and blemish-free upholstery support the seller’s showroom-new claims, and we would love to know what kept this car from racking up the miles. Did it just make short, in-town drives for an elderly driver? Or did it simply get mothballed due to an owner’s belief that Ford’s latest entry to the small-car class would become a collector’s item?

It’s tough to tell for sure, but the Maverick’s coachwork appears to either be ‘Original Cinnamon’ or ‘Champagne Gold,’ two of Ford’s paint options for the year. The bodywork doesn’t show any dents or dings, and the seller notes that it is rust-free. Couple that with a recent carb rebuild, tune-up, fresh tires, and a new brake master cylinder and shoes, and this Maverick’s mechanical integrity matches its clean exterior. A surviving model of a mass-produced car is sometimes a rarer sight than a  collector one, so we’re hopeful the next owner of this car preserves its time-warp condition.

Comments

  1. ben burks

    How much? I’ll buy it….

  2. Dan D

    Ooo, I had a ’73 Mav that was the Ford dark green with a houndstooth-style interior….. Automatic with the Big Six…. Great car, ran forever. Mine was heavily modded, however. I added ’65 Mustang wheel covers from JC Whitney, RWL tires on the rear, plus-one size, a spiffy cassette deck under the driver’s seat with two unanchored wooden box speakers on the package shelf, and I did the ‘Bonzo Ward Memorial Flip the Aircleaner’ trick to gain some extra HP…..

  3. Dan D

    Oh yeah, and the grille was painted flat black….

  4. Dan

    The grabber package was purely cosmetic, but I think Maverick sold better than the Mustang in their first year of production.

  5. Bar_King

    302 ci duel exhaust is not purely cosmetic IMHO.

  6. karo

    This looks like color 5T, “Saddle Brown.” And a 250 six-cylinder? Yes, it’s clean and low-mileage, but it’s just not very desirable in this configuration. No thanks.

  7. jim

    ugly then… ugly today. Yuck.

  8. Doug M

    Bar King: I agree, 302 v8 and more! My boss had one when I was in college. It actually performed pretty nicely. Theirs was the burnt orange/white combo with the matching rusty-orange colored interior (ooops! I should not have used the word “rusty” in this environment!)

  9. Tony

    Underrated cars imho. Not a Ford fan but I’d take a Grabber with a 302 and a 4-speed. Kinda like an Opel GT. OK not really.

  10. ben burks

    The folks had a ’73 and 74. Both were great vechiles. The ’73 had a 302, the ’74 had a 250. I admired the ’74 it was Navy Blue…

  11. stan

    superbe auto

  12. Rick Rothermel

    Pretty little car, but those were absolutely dreadful to drive when they were new. Nine-turns lock-to-lock steering, cardboard brakes, pudding in the shocks, cardboard tires, squishy seats, all the gripes that Car & Driver testers could snicker at, but they were good dependable transportation for young military families. I used to rent’em when I’d come onto Anchorage from the Pipeline. Pintos were more fun in black ice…

    BUT… do a 347 crate motor, a Mustang 5-speed, good exhaust, some Dynamat. a set of Baer brakes and Mustang II steering, it’d be a sleeper par excellence.

    Bet it’ll bring $7500 by the end of its run!

    Oh! and I wonder if the tape striping and door edge moldings are from the original dealer?

  13. Chris in WNC

    DON’T MODIFY THIS CAR!!!! tooo many of the surviving Mavs have been converted to V8 or pimped up with scoops and spoilers. when I look on eBay there are almost never any STOCK 6-banger examples available…..

  14. J. Pickett

    The tape stripes, were common dealer items to add gross. I was indifferent to Mavericks when introduced. Now I see the early seventies styling to give it a Mustang like profile. These were good reliable compacts. They were cheap when introduced, about the same money as a Beetle. I think something like this car is very desirable. I would like to have it. You would be surprised sometimes how much attention these cars can get at shows and cruise ins. The simple fact is that as daily drivers they were used up. They were once as common in the landscape as any other. Their later arrival meant that unlike some of their competition like Novas, and Darts, they never came with really big engines. They were for insurance and gas mileage reasons restricted to a base 302. Definitely saveable as is.

  15. Dolphin

    This is amazingly clean for a car that usually got used up providing people with basic transportation. They were so cheap, there was not much incentive to keep them in this condition. It took a person with little need for transportation (=low miles on the car) plus the personality to look after it well.

    This looks identical to a car I used occasionally back then. I think Rick R. has it right—cheap transportation but the controls and driving dynamics were not very good. I remember a very thin, slippery steering wheel, lots of sawing at the wheel to turn the car (no power steering), weak brakes, and a brake pedal that was a lot higher than the gas pedal—not good for quick stops. This was the kind of car that led a lot of car guys to be amazed at how a BMW 2002 drove, and then go buy one.

    But it was cheap to buy and run. I was driving my in-laws Maverick and the engine was starving for gas, so I decided to try putting in a new gas filter. It was right at the carb and needed only a 5/8 inch wrench to R&R as I recall, and the rubber gas line just pulled off and slipped back on. Took about 45 seconds to change it for a new one, and the car ran fine after that. It cost me $1.50 to fix the problem. As I said, cheap to run.

  16. Mark W

    My 7th grade teacher had one, same year, same color. She had a pretty mean, sour disposition. I’m sure the car contributed to it. Do not want

  17. gkm

    BROWN,BORING,6 CYL. 70″S MAVIRCK.COOL.

  18. Chris Junker

    We had one in the family with three on the tree, no power steering and the middle 6. Much bigger than the trashed family Pinto, a better car than the Falcon but absolutely dead feel steering and brakes. Numb handling with mostly understeer but I never pushed it. It was a perfect 6 mile one way commuter and grocery getter. But it was screwed together pretty well and a much better car than the 68 Chevy Nova 6 with 2 speed automatic. Geez, Detroit made some horrible build to a price cars. When I bought the used Nova my Dad gave me an early Christmas present saying “This is something you really need”. It was a Nova shop manual.

  19. kurt

    nice car wouldent chang it. but i do want to clear somthing up. the grabber package was just a looks kit avalable from 71-75 same with the comet gt but the gt ran on tell 76 the cars were avalable with the package and 250 st 6 as well but there rair. just because a mav or comet has a 302 dose not make it a true gt or grabber an eny one who tells you otherwise is a lier pluss there were no boss mavs produced on the lines some were made boss buy tasca in the 70 an raced and a delership in canada offered converted boss mavs in 72called the mav colt.. what makes a true grabber is if it was ordered from the fact with a certan looks package code. inc for grabber, dule scooped hood,duck tail spoiler and endcaps,and stripe package. for comet gt it was stripes an eleminator hood scoop(my fav) and sport mirrors thats all. all engine options were separate. in 76 there was also a maverick stalion package avalable. it was a full paint in red,blk/yellow,blk/slv,blk and verry rair blue,blk. buy the way! love the page hope you guys enjoyed some maverickation.hehe

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