302-Equipped: 1972 Ford Maverick Grabber

Although Ford initially introduced the Maverick in 1970 as a subcompact model, it moved up the ranks as the Falcon replacement, leaving room for the subcompact Pinto in 1971. The company played it safe with the Maverick, retaining a lot of Falcon DNA under the skin. It produced a few variants on the original model, releasing the Maverick Grabber in mid-1970. It remained part of the range until 1975, with our feature car rolling off the line in 1972. Apart from the wheels, it is an original classic that recently emerged after several years in storage. It runs and drives but needs a new owner willing to return it to its former glory. The seller listed the Grabber here on eBay in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Twenty-six bids have pushed the price beyond the reserve to $4,950.

This Maverick makes a positive first impression in Medium Bright Yellow. It retains the correct stripes, spoiler, and hood that were part of the Grabber package in 1972. The Cragar wheels are a later addition, and whether they stay or go will be a matter of personal taste. The seller is candid about the vehicle’s overall condition. He admits it received a few touch-ups over the years, and there is a color mismatch with some of these repairs. The panels sport a few marks and dings, but I can’t spot anything justifying panel replacement. There is no significant external rust, and the clean floors suggest the car is structurally sound. There are a few rust spots, including some on the hood’s underside. However, they are the type that requires well-crafted patches to consign them to history. The trim looks acceptable for a survivor-grade vehicle, while there are no glass issues.

The ace up this Maverick’s sleeve could be what resides under the hood. The original owner ordered this car with the optional 302ci V8, a three-speed automatic transmission, and power steering. That V8 should produce 143hp, allowing the Grabber to cover the ¼ mile in 17.2 seconds. That brings us to a point worth pondering. As you might expect, the power output for this car matches the 302-equipped ’72 Mustang. Because the iconic pony car carries an additional 180lbs, its ¼-mile ET was 17.8 seconds. Mustang buyers had to hand over the extra cash for the 351 if they wanted to trump the Maverick on the strip. You have to wonder how much faster the Grabber could have been if Ford had shoehorned that motor into this engine bay. The seller indicates the car sat in storage for several years, and they only recently revived it. They’ve taken it for a twenty-minute drive with no problems. However, they say it requires a thorough inspection and new tires as a minimum before the new owner should attempt any long journeys. Regardless, they supply this YouTube video of the engine starting and running. It sounds crisp and clean, with no problems or odd noises.

Thanks to the front bench seat, this Maverick is a genuine six-seater. Its interior needs love because many upholstered items and the carpet are well past their best. However, the dash and pad are crack-free, which is a significant consideration when assessing the cost of an interior restoration. I performed a brief online search for interior upholstery and trim, but I had no success. The new owner could refine their search further and have better luck than me. However, with the interior serviceable, a set of slipcovers would hide the worst problems until a permanent solution presents itself. The original owner ordered this Maverick with air conditioning, and although the system is complete, it is unclear whether it blows cold.

It is often said that hindsight is 20:20 vision, which has sometimes made me look at the Maverick and wonder whether it might have represented a missed opportunity for Ford. By the time the Maverick arrived in the showroom, the company knew that the First Generation Mustang was reaching the end of its production life. It eventually decided to replace its iconic pony car with the Pinto-based Mustang II. Although it received an initial warm reception, the Mustang II has become much-maligned in subsequent decades. Would the story have been different if Ford had followed its original intentions and developed the Mustang II from the Maverick platform instead? The body style featured the correct proportions, and it would have cost little to produce unique panels to set the new Mustang apart from the Maverick. Its dimensions were close to those of the original Mustang, and its weight was only 80lbs higher than a 289-equipped ’65 Mustang. I’ve always considered it an interesting thought experiment, and it will be fascinating to read your feedback. In the meantime, would you be prepared to become the new owner of 1-of-35,347 Maverick Grabbers produced in 1972?


  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Adam, if you want us to take the direction of whether a rebodied Maverick would have made a better Mustang “II”, I’ll offer this comment. Others please chime in.

    The Falcon was the basis of the original Mustang, that’s well known. I’ve read that the Falcon was also the basis of the Maverick. The platform had been stretched and adjusted and modified, but as I understand it, it was still the basis. Several years ago I read a great article about this, which traced the platform from the 1960 Falcon all the way to the 1980 Lincoln Versailles.

    So, a rebodied Maverick would have been more-or-less a “re-do”.

    As for this car, it needs some attention, but the Grabbers do have a following.

    Like 16
    • Adam Clarke Staff

      Thank you so much for your feedback, Bob_in_TN. I agree that a rebodied Maverick would have represented history repeating itself, but I always wonder whether the Mustang II would have gained better long-term acceptance with that approach.

      The Mustang II has developed a recent following, but history shows that many manufacturers have tasted success by getting back to their roots.

      The First Generation Mustang developed into a giant in its final years, and I feel Ford may have hit a sweet spot with a different approach. Sadly, it’s now ancient history, and it’s impossible to answer the question.

      Thank you so much for your contribution, and I hope you continue enjoying our work.

      Like 11
    • wjtinfwb

      Certainly the Mav was ancient tech even when it came out in ‘70, so I’m glad Ford didn’t build a new Mustang on such old bones. But… how cool would a Maverick “Road Runner” be? Stripped down, bench seat, the 302 2V as a base but make the 351Windsor available along with a 3 or 4 speed manual. Keep the hearing tall to game the EPA label and price it under 3k. The 351 responds well to a carb, cam and exhaust making a great base for a budget muscle car. Too late now but 15 year old me would have been Gaga over it!

      Like 8
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    This body would have been the perfect choice for the “downsized” Mustang. Good looking and somewhat similar to the previous cars. As for this one, I think the wheels complete the look and aura of a small, big motor car. Nice car.

    Like 18
  3. Big C

    You have to remember that the Mustang II was developed during the first so called energy crisis. And, it was released right during the second so called energy crisis. Ford knew exactly what they were doing. They sold millions of Mustang II’s. No matter what people think of them now.

    Like 17
    • bone

      `The Mustang II came out in 1974, the so called energy crisis was in October of 1973. There’s no way Ford could have put out the Mustang II that fast. It takes years for a car to go from the drawings to the final product .Unless there was an energy crisis I missed before 1973 ? I think the large and slow selling Mustang prompted Ford to come up with something basic, like the first gen Mustangs were , that could have all sorts of options to make it your own. In that they were very successful

      Like 7
      • Rick

        The first energy crunch began in the fall of 1973.

        The Mustang II was on the road in 1974.

        The second energy crunch began in 1979 with the Iranian revolution.

        Like 7
      • Big C

        Do you find it interesting that todays car maker’s are, all at once, flooding the market with EV’s? When, 7 years ago, oil was dirt cheap, and we discovered over 200+ years of oil reserves? So, what did the automobile manufactures know, circa 2016-17? They knew darn well that the powers that be were going to force these things down our gullets. Perhaps the same thing happened in the early 70’s, with the Mustang. It ain’t too hard to figure out.

        Like 3
    • Ray

      Mr. McPherson’s suspension design was so good on the Mustang II that many gave up their front clips to many a modified car…not just Fords. He even went on to patent the strut that still bears his name which looks oddly familiar to the suspension in the Mustang II. The Maverick was old tech. At the time, Ford made the right call. However, I grew up with my mom driving both a 4 door and then 2 door Mavericks. The plaid seats need to make comeback!

      Like 9
      • angliagt angliagt Member

        I believe the Mustang II used a coil spring (with A arms)
        front suspension,not a McPherson one.

        Like 6
    • Larry

      Big C … do you really think the move to EV’s has been driven by a lack of fossil fuels? How about the greenhouse gases we won’t be spewing into the air with the use of electricity (clean only, please), or hydrogen? The manufacturers will build and sell whatever we will buy, but they are also subject to government regulations.

      I’m curious to hear about how many EV’s you have personally driven. I had the opportunity to drive a Mustang Mach E GT the other day, and it was amazing. Quicker than any 5.0L I have ever driven (dozens). Embrace the future, it’s coming.

      • Bolivar Shagnasty

        so you really think the change to EV is about saving the planet? its an agenda that is being forced on us by the idiots that believe we are able to destroy the earth. have you ever done any research about what it takes to build a battery being used in the EV’s? there is more pollution because of the items and processes required to excavate and create a battery. those that have fallen for this ruse should never procreate.

        Like 6
      • Larry

        To: Bolivar Shagnasty. Perhaps you missed the part where the GOVERNMENT has mandated the end of ICE vehicles. I am sure that YOUR manufacturing venture would continue to build ICE vehicles regardless of the law, but I suspect the powers that be would put an end to it quickly. I am quite aware of the environmental impact of battery creation, but you may have noticed that I also mentioned hydrogen power as a clean alternative. As for procreation, disliking someone’s politics or even their point of view really isn’t grounds for their eradication.

        I hear there is a sale on tin foil at WalMart; perhaps your hat is leaking? Go polish your gun.

      • Big C

        Posted in the rules of this here web site. ” No personal attacks, etc.” The EV’s are being pushed by a certain group of folks who have adopted climate change as a religion. I personally will NEVER purchase an EV. But, I will visit WalMart to buy that gun polish. Get some help, brother.

        Like 5
      • Larry

        Big C: I never said anything to you that could be taken as a personal attack, so cool your jets. Regardless of who is behind the EV legislation, the manufacturers pretty much need to get out of the ICE business because, you know, the law. To suggest that people wanting to address climate change have adopted a religious fanaticism towards it is hilarious coming from a guy that surely has a religious fanaticism towards hand guns.

        Who cares if you never own or drive an EV? I’m sure gas stations will be around long enough for you to fill up your old technology vehicle.

      • Greg Black

        Average working poor man/woman can not afford these $50,000 plus electric vehicles….nuff said

  4. CraigR

    That 302 would be cheap and easy to wake up and add some giddy-up.

    Like 21
  5. Boatman Member

    Needs a heater core for starters.

    Like 3
  6. mike

    Just needs some love to make a nice cruiser.Front looks like it sits too high though.

    Like 2
  7. Emel

    Sorry…..does not Grab me. Most of the Mavericks had 6 cylinder engines that offered little horsepower. Falcons had the same problem.
    And if you ever lived in a hilly area of the country and got stuck behind these
    heaps going up hills…..you would know why I call them heaps.
    And there were other vintage words associated with them as well ! lol

    Like 3
    • bone

      How did you fare being stuck behind six cylinder Novas ? VW Beetles / Microbuses ? Rambler Americans ? Valiants ? U.S.Mail Jeeps ? Just seeing where your loyalty lies

      Like 27
      • Emel

        Too funny….some 6’s were better than others or maybe the cars were lighter in weight. Or they had manual shifts where ppl could downshift
        into a lower gear to get the heap moving slightly faster.
        Really didn’t matter on the car manufacturer whether I called it a heap or not ! lol

        Like 2
  8. BA

    Buddy mine bought a built grabber this year small bumper & it had a cam & 4:10 gears in a 9 inch rear end & that car was fast but no a/c like this one has. I like it on a lot of levels

    Like 6
  9. BA

    A grabber with a 351 Cleveland would feel like riding the space shuttle , pretty sure of that!

    Like 5
    • Dave

      I once saw a maverick in Mexico City with 351 call outs on the fenders. I assume it was a Windsor.

      Like 3
  10. DON

    6 seater ? I guess Adam never rode in one of these ; I remember in high school a buddy of mine had a six cylinder one of these and even though we were all skinny kids, 3 up front was really tight and the rear would seat two at best, and only if they were skinny and short ! These were a good size ,inexpensive economy car , and as such ,not expected to have a high survivability rate. It nice to see some have made it to the 21st century

    Like 9
    • 67Firebird_Cvt Member

      I had 12 people in our 4-door 72 Maverick when it was rear-ended by a 2-week-old Monte Carlo in about 1978. No injuries I guess we all acted as airbags. Cop sited the other driver. Fun times!

      Like 5
  11. Fifemichigan

    I like my new maverick hybrid, way better than the car!!
    0-60 7.6s/15.9s @ 90mph – 38-40mpg avg

    Like 2
    • John

      Too bad Ford dropped the ball on the ability, or lack of it, to manufacture the new Mavericks to meet the demand. Could you imagine Henry Ford limiting the about of orders for a vehicle to 1 week of the year?

  12. RexFox Member

    The shape of the Maverick is appealing to me, but the engines and transmissions offered were not. A 4 speed manual would have made the Grabber much more enticing. As I remember it, the original Grabber was a stripe, wheel trim ring and maybe a spoiler package, with a column shifted 3 speed or an automatic transmission. Ford missed the boat by not making a performance oriented, but still practical smallish car.

    Like 6
  13. scottymac

    Lots of comments on the Mustang II, but no one credits the Mercury Capri for its creation. In 1972, the Capri was second best selling import after the beetle, once it finally got a V-6. Ford wanted part of the success ($$$$$) that Mercury was enjoying, and with Mustang sales tapering off, the Mustang II was the logical next step. Iacocca was a genius, sales numbers of the Mustang II proved that. From a high in 1966 with sales of 607,568, sales declined to 125,903 in 1972 (1973 discounted, last Mustang convertible {or so people thought} boosted sales by 9,000), 1974 Mustang II sales tripled ’72 sales to 385,993. Perfect car for the times. Love the Maverick!

    Like 5
  14. Lance Platt

    The Maverick/Comet body had the perfect not too big and not too small size in a land of gas guzzling behemoths. What is lacked, as others addressed, is being put on a 1960 technology Falcon suspension 10 years out of date. The Pinto/Bobcat got rack and pinion steering but the Mavericks used the old school over assisted no road feel steering used on plusher models. I have never seen a Maverick with power front dusc brakes. The concept was to use dated handling and steering with a fresh sporty body style. The low price point and good looks attracted throngs of buyers but it was never built or intended to be a sports car. Engine size was limited because the Falcon it replaced did not have engines bigger than 302 and the import competition it was competing against were even smaller and underpowered 4 bangers. Making the Maverick better handling, better braking and faster would only have hurt Mustang sales not wooed the targeted import buyers to the Ford showrooms. Style and yellow color still look awesome after more than a half century but the driving experience itself would be disappointing to a 2023 model buyer.

    Like 3
    • bone

      True, but that could be said of any old car. ride, handling, power cannot be compared to a new car . A new Maverick in 1970 was way better than a 1920 Ford in every way , a person expecting a 1970 driving experience would be disappointed in a Modell T .
      And later Mavericks were available with front disc brakes,
      in 1970, the Maverick and the Mustang and Falcon were basically the same platform ,and all would have handled basically the same , if they all had the same drivetrain.

      Like 1
  15. Jay

    I had one of these with the 2V 302 (subsequently upgraded). It had power nothing and was a pretty quick ride with a warmed over 302.

    They’re nice looking cars. Front suspension under the V8 was a problem.

    Like 2
  16. Ron Ercolani

    Had one that I drove until the rust took it to the point where it was totally unsafe. Only had 102,000 on it and it was still running strong, sold it for $100.00 for the engine and transmission. That was a bunch of years ago. It was fun to drive and would really move with the 302. But I don’t need another project at my age.

  17. Larry

    Funny thing about the well known phrase “hindsight is 20/20” … 20/20 vision is simply average. Hindsight is imperfect, based on this, as is speculation about woulda, coulda, shoulda. Just a random thought and something for all the readers to think about the next time someone tells them hindsight is 20/20.

    Nice enough car that could be a real performer with a few tweaks. It certainly won’t be a common sight anywhere.

  18. JoeNYWF64

    I’m surprised the trunk of the floor here is not the top of the gas tank!
    What other fords of that era could make that claim?
    Do not understand the reasoning moving the HVAC controls to the left of the driver, & going back to a dash mounted hand brake & a hood prop prod, compared to the boxy ’70 falcon with foot emerg brake & proper hood springs.

    • DON

      Because it was cheaper to make , and in 1970 they were advertising them for sale starting at 1,999 . Like the Henry J that debuted with no trunk lid , the more you added the higher the starting price . Using the Maverick taillights on the Pinto probably saved Ford millions of dollars, and the 70s Mercury Comet using Montego taillights

      Like 2
      • JoeNYWF64

        I’ll go along with that, except for the HVAC controls. Not only were longer more expensive cables & wires nec to reach the heater core & fan, but one would have to tool up new ones if one wanted to sell the car in a country with steering wheel on the right side – IMO, it made no sense NOT to put HVAC controls in the CENTER of the dash on ANY car even back in the day.

        Can you imagine today car companies competing to sell the cheapest car?! It’s the direct opposite now & they couldn’t care less about teens or young people – it’s whoever’s got the most money to buy the most loaded expensive vehicles & “dealer services & extended warrantees” & them phasing out more & more “affordable” vehicles. (A 2 door was always cheaper in price than a 4 door.)

  19. DON

    Because it was cheaper to make , and in 1970 they were advertising them for sale starting at 1,999 . Like the Henry J that debuted with no trunk lid , the more you added the higher the starting price . Using the Maverick taillights on the Pinto probably saved Ford millions of dollars, and the 70s Mercury Comet using Montego taillights

  20. Bolivar Shagnasty

    Adam.. I suppose that since you are writing articles for BF.. you and others have decided that you are able to offer analysis and opinions on the cars on this page. I and others have seen your obvious lack of knowledge and bias against a few cars. In particular.. the constant misrepresentation of the Mustang II as a gussied up Pinto. In every article you write where a comparison to a Mustang II comes up you add a little dig. I will proudly admit that I bought a 78 /King Cobra and count it as one of the best handling and fun to drive Mustangs I own. So there is my bias. I ordered it new as a gift to myself after graduating from USMC boot camp and still have it. With just a little research you too will learn that only 3 pieces are interchangeable with the Pinto. They are a similar platform but not one in the same. The following these cars have gained in the past few years proves that they are worth being considered more than a gussied up Pinto. I also have a Pinto wagon that i stuffed a 347 in and with the sub-frame connectors.. it is a fun car to drive.

    Like 4
  21. philthyphil

    347 t 5 e z switch

    Like 2
  22. Lance Platt

    I was at a loss to figure out how a personal argument over electric cars was relevant to a discussion about a good old fashioned 1972 dinosaur juice burning sporty looking economy car. BarnFinds is my refuge from the debte over attempted government control of car buying choices and being happily entertained with stories about older models. Yes, I am guilty of stating how some of the past models don’t handle or accelerate well by current standards as a point of reference since I rode in or drove lots of iron over the decades. I do so to imagine how the cars for sale would fare on old car cruises and if they lack air conditioning for hot summer days going to and from car shows. The power grid infrastructure is not ready now for an all electric fleet coupled with consumer and business demand for energy. Just look at the blackouts and brownouts when air conditioning overwhelms the local electric plants. The range of an electric car is still too low to be a viable choice for road trips of my 500 mile average per day. Some day we wil burn more coal and build more plants to have an electric fleet but for now I would prefer a nice economy Bobcat, Nova or Maverick with some style and class or even a more modern used Civic or Corolla.Environmentalists hate coal but that is how electricity is produced.

    Like 1
    • Larry

      We have this little thing where I come from called Hydroelectricity. Clean and pure as the driven snow, and one of the few means of electric generation that justifies the move to EVs. Burning coal so we can avoid burning gasoline is a fool’s errand.

      For what it’s worth, I’m not the one that turned this discussion about a mediocre car into something political. Also, those economy cars you pine for aren’t terribly fuel efficient.

      Hey, if we want to significantly reduce greenhouse gases we should eradicate all the cattle. No more cow farts, but no more steaks. It’s all about what we are willing to sacrifice, just like the guy with his handgun.

  23. Lance Platt

    Larry, hydroelectric is one of many options as you wisely pointed out. But I worked security at my local power plant where lengthy coal trains were the source since a few disasters stopped discussions about nuclear plants. Hydroelectric is difficult in the drought stricken Western states. Wind energy works in the Midwest and Great Plains but not urban areas and people complain about the destruction of birds. Solar is good But all sources should be on the table including oil for a viable energy policy. We should be free to eat cheeseburgers and drive cars of all ages. Personally, I like cows:)

    Like 2
    • Larry

      I like a good steak, too. My point was that every solution to climate change comes at a price. There are multiple clean electric generating alternatives. Funny that you mention the drought stricken areas of the U.S. Any idea what might be behind the drought? Climate change, perhaps?

      EVs aren’t the only solution, but they are the popular one today. I like hydrogen power, myself, but there is a lot of work to be done on that front. Railing against the people that hate climate change won’t fix the problem any more than railing against gun owners will solve the gun violence issues in America. Suggesting an entire group should not be allowed to procreate simply because you disagree with their perfectly reasonable view of the world? That seems a little extreme to me.

      If some people don’t care enough about their problems to do anything about them, maybe they should just sit back and let the adults run things. BTW … this isn’t directed at you; you seem perfectly reasonable.

  24. KP

    Just speaking of the Falcon, I don’t know why they just didn’t stick with it like they did in Australia. Those we’re some great looking, running, and handling cars.

  25. Robert West

    Auto Krafters cater to restoration parts for the Maverick. The example here would more than make me happy. It’s hard enough just to find a Maverick for sale in any decent condition. Finding a low rust/ no rust, bondo free car is akin to finding the proverbial 4 leaf clover. And when you do find a clean one the seller wants Mustang money for it.

  26. Robert West

    That is by far the best price for a solid grabber that I’ve seen in 10 years. This is my next project if I can get one.

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