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.

G.S. took a common sense approach to his EFI Maverick. For example, the fasten seatbelt light became the check engine light for the EFI system. He played it safe and smart in every respect, including the fuel cut-off inertia switch in the trunk just in case someone ran into him. The original factory York air-conditioning compressor was ditched for something lighter-a Sanden unit that is more efficient. G.S. sweated all those little details that make his Maverick a simple machine, ready for the 21st century.

While G.S. was doing his 5.0 High Output conversion, he also focused on paint and body, including the incorporation of Grabber sport mirrors, trim, grille, hood, and decklid. His good friend, Ron Oakley, helped G.S. with the bodywork and paint. These gentlemen did an exceptional job prepping the body and laying down the creamy powder blue enamel known as Waterfall Blue.

Bodywork and engine swap out of the way, G.S. then concentrated on the underpinnings. Again, strong budget focus here. He opted for junkyard pieces, such as the power brake booster, proportioning valve, and front disc brakes. Because the Maverick was fitted with an 8-inch rearend to start with, G.S. didn't have to sweat much there. The 2.79 gears are perfect for cruising, keeping the revs down on the open highway, especially important in the age of high fuel prices.

Inside, G.S. went with Grabber bucket seats, again from the junkyard. That's a used Mustang automatic floor shifter sharing space between the buckets. Classic Stewart-Warner instruments thrust us back to the '70s. These select bolt-ons have made the Maverick a simple, affordable, sporty, fast, and cheap restomod project, perfect for cruising and commuting.

This begs the question: what are you waiting for? Your affordable dream restomod is waiting in the classifieds.

The Details
1972 Ford Maverick
Owner: G.S. Johnson, Pasadena, CA

Late-Model 5.0 High-Output EFI V-8
4.030-inch bore, 3.000-inch stroke
Nodular Iron Crank
Stock Forged I-Beam Connecting Rods
Hypereutectic Pistons
Iron Block and Heads
Stock Induction System
Factory Roller Hydraulic Camshaft
Ron Morris Performance EFI System
BBK Cold-Air Induction
3g 130-Amp Alternator (Single-Wire)
Three-Row Radiator
Gano Coolant Filter
Sanden Air-Conditioning Compressor

C4 Select-Shift

2.79 Gears

Shorty Headers
Flowmaster Mufflers
Dual Exhaust

Front: Stock Coilover Upper Arm, Koni Shocks, 1-Inch Sway Bar
Custom Shock Tower Bracing
Rear: Four-Leaf Spring Suspension, Koni Shocks

Front: Granada Single-Piston Disc Brakes
Rear: Drum Brakes
Stock Power Brake Booster

Front: Steel with Ford Corporate Hubcaps, 14x7-Inch
Rear: Steel with Ford Corporate Hubcaps, 14x7-Inch

Front: Cooper Cobra, P235/60R14
Rear: Cooper Cobra, P235/60R14

Grabber High-Back Bucket Seats
'70s Vintage Stewart-Warner Gauges
Sun Pro II Tachometer
Custom Autosound System

Grabber Hood, Decklid, Grille
Cobra Badges

Purchase price of car (11-27-01)
Complete engine rebuildable core (including EFI system)
Engine rebuild
Aluminum power pulleys
BBK cold air induction system
Ron Morris EFI harness and misc. sensors
MSD external fuel pump (new, eBay)
Battery tray and cables
3G 130-amp alternator
Steel fuel line and high-pressure hose with clamps
Headers with Flowmaster dual exhaust
Floor shifter conversion (used, junkyard)
Speedo cable, throttle cable, and kick-down cable
Stewart Warner '70s vintage mechanical gauges (used, eBay)
Sun Pro II Tachometer (new, eBay)
A/C compressor core (used, eBay) and rebuild
R134 conversion and refridgerant
Power steering pump core (used, junkyard) and reseal
Serpentine belt
3-core radiator and cooling system hoses
Front suspension rebuild
Solenoid, coil and distributor rebuild
1-inch front sway bar (used, eBay)
Koni shocks (used, eBay)
Power disc brake conversion (used, junkyard)
4-14x7 steel wheels (junkyard)
4-P235/60R14 Cooper Cobra tires
4-FoMoCo poor mans hubcaps (used, eBay)
Headliner including new front and rear glass seals
Bucket seats (junkyard)
Upholster bucket seats
Carpet kit
Mustang II steering wheel (used, eBay)
Custom Autosound stereo and speakers
Weatherstrips and belt moldings
Bodywork and paint including engine
Grabber hood (used, eBay)
Grabber side mirrors (used, eBay)
Grabber rear spoiler and end caps (used, eBay)
Replating of original hardware
Rechroming of front and rear bumpers
Cobra gas cap (new repro, eBay)
Assorted Cobra emblems
Tri-Bar headlights
N.O.S. headlight bezels (eBay)
N.O.S. hood lip molding (eBay)
rattle can spray paints for engine, interior, assorted parts