One Owner/39k Original Miles: 1974 Ford Maverick

The Maverick seems to have become the “forgotten child” of the 1970s Ford range. When you consider the many thousands of cars that we have featured over the years here at Barn Finds, even we have only managed to feature 51 cars wearing the Maverick badge. This low-mileage 1974 model will bring that tally to 52, and I have to say thank you to Barn Finder Pat L for referring it to us. The Maverick is located in Windsor Hils/View Park, California, and has been listed for sale here on Craigslist. The sale price for the forgotten Ford is $8,000.

The Medium Chestnut Maverick is a tidy one-owner vehicle, but it is by no means perfect. The panels wear a few dings and marks, and these are predominantly on the driver’s side. The paint is also starting to fade and check in a few spots, but the Maverick remains respectable as a driver-quality car. There is little doubt that I would benefit from a repaint, but this is something that would have to be at the buyer’s discretion. Probably the guiding factor, in this case, is going to be what the ultimate value of the vehicle is likely to be. However, for someone who is planning on undertaking the work themselves, it should be worth the effort. The car has spent its life in the sunny climes of California, so rust doesn’t appear to be an issue. The vinyl top and the insert between the tail-lights have both only recently been replaced. This does provide a boost to the exterior. The glass and trim look quite good, and I know from past experience that the original wheel covers tend to be an acquired taste amongst enthusiasts. However, they are a strong indication that this Maverick was ordered with the Luxury Decor Option. The most desirable example of the Maverick has always been the Grabber. Still, it would seem from my research that vehicles fitted with the Luxury Decor Option might be significantly rarer. Whether that makes them more desirable, that is a question that is open for debate.

The owner claims that this Maverick has a genuine 39,222 miles showing on its odometer. He doesn’t indicate whether he holds any evidence to verify the claim, so that would be a question for potential buyers to ask. If it is true, then this is a vehicle that should still have plenty of life left in it. What they will be getting for their money is a 250ci 6-cylinder engine, which is backed by a C4 automatic transmission. By this point in proceedings, tightening emission laws were beginning to strangle engines like this. The 250 was pumping out 91hp, which would have seen this car cover the ¼ mile in around 20 seconds. One thing that does appear to be certain is the fact that this car is in sound mechanical condition. The brakes have recently been treated to a complete overhaul. This has included the fitment of a new master cylinder, new wheel cylinders, all new shoes, while the proportioning valve has been rebuilt. Also, the car features a new water pump, new thermostat, new plugs, and a new cap. It has been a month since the radiator was rebuilt, while the transmission has just been fitted with a full set of seals. The Maverick is said to run and drive well.

The Luxury Decor Option brought a few upgrades to the standard Maverick, but the emphasis here has to be on the word “few.” The most notable included the woodgrain insert on the dash, reclining front seats, a remote exterior mirror, a combined dome/dual beam reading lamp, and more luxurious door trims. The interior of this Maverick looks relatively tidy, but it does have a few faults. These include a dash pad that has cracked in several places. This could be a problem if the next owner wants to have the car looking pristine. For a vehicle that was built in significant numbers, finding replacement interior trim pieces for a Maverick is quite tricky. The pad is a perfect example, and this will mean that a buyer might have to be creative if this issue is to be addressed. There are covers available that can be glued over the original pad, and these sell for around $160. Restoring the existing pad with a product like Polyvance is also an option. The cheapest option would be to buy an off-the-shelf cover to throw over the pad. After all, what the eye can’t see, the heart won’t grieve. The driver’s seat has a couple of small tears, but these could potentially be repaired with blind patches. Replacement covers are virtually impossible to find, but the original vinyl is available if the buyer wants to hand over big money to have replacement covers made. The grab handle is missing off the driver’s door, as is the horn button out of the wheel. The rest of the interior is in good condition and just needs someone to give it a deep clean.

When I look at this 1974 Maverick, it seems that its strongest attributes are its low mileage and its rust-free status. It could be driven and enjoyed as it currently stands, or it would make a straightforward restoration project for someone to tackle in their home workshop. In keeping with the previously mentioned forgotten child status, these also aren’t a vehicle that will command huge prices. This particular car is priced right at the top end of what you might expect to pay. However, if the mileage claim can be confirmed, then it could potentially be justified. What do you think?


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  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    I like Mavericks, even the big-bumper models. They were ultra-simple yet had decent styling. Seeing a Luxury Decor Option model is not common. It’s interesting how trimming the car gives it a very different personality; a couple weeks ago we had a stripper 1974 Maverick here which gave off a very different vibe.

    This one is a nice survivor which has had mechanical work, but does have various small but annoying things left to do (e.g. the steering wheel pad). I spy the infamous “safety warning” sticker on Fords of this era. I don’t remember that bracket now housing the modern audio component; was that at one time holding something factory?

    Another example of a basic car, common in its day, but now mostly gone. I would enjoy seeing it at Cars & Coffee.

    Like 11
  2. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    These were still kicking around when I was a child in the early 80’s. I thought they looked like relics of a bygone era even then. I agree with Bob in Tn that they look better trimmed out.

    Like 3
  3. Bob S

    I had a 74 four door LDO like this. Mine had the floor shift, and the 302, this is the 1st LDO I’ve seen without the V8, I didn’t know Ford put the 6 in these with the high end option. Nice 2 door, but with all the “little” stuff this needs, I think they’re a little optimistic on the price.

    Like 5
  4. Jim C

    Loved the design of the Maverick….until they started putting girders on in place of bumpers. Would love to have an early model, but not one of these.

    Like 2
  5. nlpnt

    I always forget the LDO coupe even existed. I always think of it as the sedan counterpart to the Grabber with only the base and mid-spec trims offered.

    The Dart SE/Valiant Brougham and all bar the “Prices Starting At___” trim levels of the contemporary B-O-P compacts were more convincingly plush than the vinyl-seat/no console LDO. But that vinyl top treatment is so gloriously ’70s…

    • nlpnt

      That should have been “…with only the base and mid-spec trims offered *in both body styles*” which to be clear is how I misremember it.

  6. David G

    Has an A/C dash, but all underhood A/C stuff has been removed, what a shame. Horn pads are easily available and inexpensive from the Mustang restoration parts vendors.

    Like 2
  7. Rex Kahrs Member

    I always thought that of the 2-door trio of the Nova, Duster, and Maverick, the Maverick’s styling was the least interesting. It may have been (arguably) the better mechanical car of the 3, but it never seemed to have the swagger of the Duster or the Nova.

    My ’72 Duster (the Ruster) was great with the slant-6, and my ’74 Nova with the straight 250 was an awesome car. I guess I need to experience a Maverick.

    Like 4
  8. Rex Kahrs Member

    Another thing about the Ford 250-6 engine, which I know nothing about…. GM had the iconic 350 V-8, so Ford had the 351, a whole cubic inch bigger. Since GM had the 250 straight 6, why didn’t Ford name their engine the 251? It seems perfectly logical.

    Like 1
  9. stan rakowski

    i owned a 74–worse car i ever had–while washing the front bumper, the bumper guard just fell off from rust.
    the car rusted away while standing still.

  10. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Well, Ford had a 352 before the 351 so actually they went down one cube. But I get your humor and it is logical in a funny sort of way Rex.
    God bless America

  11. Jerry

    I ordered a 1974 Maverick w/LDO in late 1973. I told the salesman to check every box on the option list. Because of some confusion between what was included in the package group options and the individual options, we missed the black vinyl stripe across the bumpers. Other than that, it was a “loaded” Maverick. Ginger Glow paint, which I think was extra cost on the Maverick, and tan interior. It was $2400 base price and $4200 with options.

    I put some E.T. mags on it when I got it, and they stayed on it until I sold the car. I never had a breakdown or problem, and just did the regular maintenance and service. I drove it over 100K and sold it to a co-worker. It is still one of my favorite cars.

    Like 1
    • Little_Cars

      Pics or it never happened. LOL Kidding. I think everybody’s stories are different on Mavericks because like everything from America after 1973 quality control was hit or miss from the big three.

      Like 1
  12. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    They were good product in their day against the imports. They offered the TOD 4sp and with the six it would get close to the gas mileage of the imports.

    Like 1
  13. Bmac777

    I remember these being dependable but always having some issue that made them clunkers.
    The ones I drove or rode in all had sloppy front ends, a couple had some exhaust manifold issue and then there was the electrical problems.
    In fairness to the Maverick/Comet fans I’m basing my experiences on cars that were Hundred Dollar Horrors.
    Proper care and maintenance obviously makes a difference

    Like 1
  14. Little_Cars

    These might have gotten sloppy front ends when abused as Hundred Dollar Horrors. But by the time I was driving my loosy-goosey AMC with king pins and trunnion front end it was 1981, nobody wanted to do a rebuild on the cheap. I would guess the Maverick had a much more easily serviced ball joint suspension for the techs at the local Pep Boys/Sears/Monty Ward.

  15. John Oliveri

    Not really a cult car, it something about this one with big moldings and the color keyed wheel covers, has a thunderbird look about it, but no a/c and the 6 cylinder kills it

  16. Don Dilligaff

    One of my all time favorite cars was my 72 Maverick Grabber. White with black stripes, white interior with blue trim. 302 with a 3 speed stick. Unfortunately it started to rust after only 3-4 years like many others of that era. Nearly trouble free in the time I owned it.

  17. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member


  18. David R Member

    I was hoping to see an ultra 70s plaid interior on this one but the exterior is very sharp in the color with the colored hup cabs and white top.

  19. Terry Dixon

    Interested in car

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