Southern California Survivor: 1971 Ford Maverick

A 1971 Ford Maverick! This takes me back to my misspent high school years. My best friend had one of these and that poor car got continually savaged but it took a lickin’ and kept on tickin’. This example, located near Corona, California, is for sale here on craigslist for $3,500. Thanks to Pat L. for the tip.

The Ford Maverick was introduced in 1969 as a 1970 model and a replacement for Ford’s venerable Falcon. It was a “Falconesque” compact but updated to handle the 1970’s safety standards. My friend’s Maverick was actually his mother’s. She bought it in late 1971 to replace the 1966 VW Beetle that preceded it and was rolled on the 18th fairway at the Country Club of Maryland golf course – it’s a long story. Anyway, her Maverick had a six-cylinder engine and a “three-on-the-tree” manual shift transmission that would smoke the 6.45-14 bias ply’s to kingdom come, it could have won a burn-out contest! This featured Maverick is very similar in appearance to my friend’s – it’s a nice looking, simply styled, a purposeful compact car.

The seller of this Maverick doesn’t indicate which six-cylinder engine it has. The sticker on the air cleaner lid looks like either 200 or 250 CID, which means power ratings of 115 or 145 HP respectively. It has an automatic transmission and non-working AC. The seller states that it runs strong when he can get started – that’s one I haven’t encountered in an ad before. Another option in 1971 was Ford’s 302 CI engine, which we affectionately refer to the a 5.0. At only 2,679 pounds of curb weight, I have to believe a Maverick moved out in style with that engine under the hood.

The interior looks pretty worn, split fabric and the top of the back-seat backrest is kaput, probably from the strong California sun. Of particular interest is the Frankenstein style stitching applied to the headliner – of course, if it keeps it from flapping in your face while you’re driving, I guess it’s a good fix.

The underside of this Maverick looks how you’d expect a SoCal vehicle to look. There is the slightest hint of typical surface rust and that’s it, quite sound! Also, this Maverick has what appears to my eyes to be rear air shocks. Besides the solid underside, the body and associated panels all look really clean too.

The finish on this Maverick is quite nice, I have a tough time believing that it’s original. While there is no mention made regarding it, it looks too good to be 48 years old. This is a nice, original typical early ‘70s compact. The odometer shows 92,000 miles, assuming it’s the correct mileage, there’s still life left in this Maverick. This car presents well and it doesn’t appear as if it would need a lot to make it right. I think it seems like a nice entry into the classic but basic transportation realm, how about you? We won’t see this kind of automotive simplicity again. Now if it only had a three-on-the-tree…


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  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Mavericks were of course basic transportation but did feature some attractive styling (especially before the arrival of the big bumpers). The interiors were particularly bare-bones. Ford sold a ton of them and they did their job well. I’ve always liked the Grabber models best.

    For this one, after some interior refurbishing, underhood detailing, and (probably) minor mechanical work, one would have a decent cruiser. For sure you would need to be ready to enjoy the “my _____ had one just like this, only it was _____” comments. Or go the other way and make a resto-mod. I’ve seen some which look quite cool.

    I too wish it had a three speed manual.

    Like 4
  2. 8banger David Mika Member

    And I love the Frankenstein headliner stitching – Happy Halloween!
    As for the second pic, it looks like a staged scale model shot – bravo!

    Like 1
  3. jerry z

    Glad I’m on the wrong coast or I’d be all over that like gravy on potatoes!

    Like 3
    • PatrickM

      Yes. Exactly. Me, too. I would love to have this car. It is a very practical car, which I need, and the price is a whole lot less than what I would have to pay around here for what is on the market, which does not include cars like this. If I were to get this car, I would have to do some basic upgrades: brakes, check transmission, sound system (not too loud), headliner, steering… You get the picture. But, again, it is on the wrong coast. Dang, man!

  4. Tony Primo

    Glad to still see some reader’s submissions. Please don’t go 100% auctions like that other formerly car website.

    Like 5
    • Jack M.

      Yes, I definitely prefer to bargain in front of a real person than join in an auction.

      Like 3
  5. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Perfect vintage car for use as a daily driver. The chrome and trim looks good and I like the cheery yellow color. Get the straight six sorted out, fix the A/C and drive it every day. The interior does need most of the upholstery replaced but that can be done while you enjoy driving it. Price is probably fair or close to it even considering the funds needed to sort out the mechanicals and an interior refresh.

    I wouldn’t change much on this Maverick, I’d keep the stock look and the straight six. The performance will be acceptable for todays roads and the six cylinder will go a long time with reasonable care. The only thing I might change is the transmission. It would be more fun to drive with four-on-the-floor. Or even a three-speed.

    Like 1
  6. Stevieg

    I think we’ve seen this one before too, but whether we did or not, I like it.
    I too would just fix up the interior, get whatever mechanical issue debugged and drive it, probably as a daily driver. Groovy little Maverick!

    Like 2
    • Jack M.

      Good catch. Last time the seller had it listed as a 1972 priced at $5,000. The license plates are the same.

      Like 3
      • PatrickM

        Hmmmm…. A ’72 earlier, and same car now a ’71. This does not compute. As much as I like it, there is no way I would bid on it. And, yes, we did see this a couple months ago.

  7. Del

    Very nice.

    Did not the other yellow one have a V8 ?

    Like 2
  8. Marko

    Dead ringer for my Mom’s first car in 1973. Dad bought it from his youngest sister. It was a 1971 model. Same color, engine and interior.

    I would have ended up with it, but Dad traded it for a 1973 Buick Centurion with a 455cid 4bbl. Much more fun car for taking my drivers road test in.

    Like 1

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