Jim Smart
December 19, 2006

When the Maverick was developed during the mid-'60s, Ford didn't think of it as a sporty carline. Ford had economy in mind for baby boomers headed off to college, young families, schoolteachers on budgets, and people who needed economical second cars. Maverick was more a Falcon replacement than a sporty Mustang alternative. In fact, if you study the Maverick platform, it bears an uncanny resemblance to the '66-'69 Falcon chassis, right down to the intrusive Fairlane/Torino shock towers. This makes the Maverick a super sturdy Mustang alternative for those of you with a wild imagination.

G.S. Johnson (he won't tell us what G.S. stands for) has restored a lot of Mustangs through the years. he encountered a fork in the road when he was planning his next project, so he decided to build a Maverick instead. Believe it or not, finding just the right Maverick wasn't easy. Even though Ford built a lot of them throughout the '70s, most of them were well used and hauled off to the salvage yard when they wore out. The same can be said for the Maverick's close cousins: Ford Pinto and Fairmont, {Mercury Bobcat, Comet, and Zephyr. But these throwaways have become our newfound treasures in recent years. They make great restomods.

G.S. set up the ground rules going in when he decided to build a Maverick. It had to be an early '70-'72 Maverick void of the big bumpers-lean and trim. It had to be a V-8 model, and it had to be rust-free. One afternoon, G.S. was thumbing through The Recycler trader magazine in Los Angeles when he spotted an ad: '72 Maverick, 302, Auto, A/C, good transportation car. He met a little old lady in a parking lot, saw the car, and handed her $1,200. She purchased the car from the original owner back in 1978. In fact, she still had the original owner warranty card and all the paperwork. The car still had its factory paint, with the addition of a few dings and dents.

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Rather than give in to the temptation of knocking the car down right away, G.S. drove the car to work for six months. It ran like a Swiss watch. It seemed almost sinful to disassemble such a perfect specimen, but G.S. knew the car couldn't remain the way it was and continue to be an efficient daily driver. His goal was to do the entire car for $7,500.

G.S. hit paydirt when he stumbled upon a 5.0 HO EFI engine sitting in a shop. He hauled it off for $100, and spent $600 freshening up the tired long-block. He pulled the car's original 302 and replaced it with the 5.0 HO engine. Of course, this was not a simple trick. Because the 5.0 engine has a 50-ounce offset flexplate, G.S. had to figure out how to make that work with a C4 Select-Shift transmission. He had a C4 flexplate match-balanced to the 5.0L engine. Ron Morris Performance provided everything else G.S. needed to complete the EFI conversion. What G.S. liked most about Ron Morris Performance was affordability and outstanding service because it was such a simple system to install.