Carroll Shelby was a man of many talents, and if you're reading this magazine, you're probably familiar with most of them already. A legend in the automotive world, he was an accomplished race car driver, and later, his Cobra and connection to Ford led to the Daytona Coupe, the GT40, and several high-performance Mustangs. While the G.T. 350 and G.T. 500 are well known to Mustang enthusiasts and many folks are familiar with his achievements with Chrysler and Oldsmobile, few know much about Shelby's accomplishments in Mexico.
His south-of-the-border involvement began with a chance meeting with Mexican businessman Eduardo Velasquez. Velasquez was an automotive parts distributor in Mexico and an active race fan. The Mustang notchback that he bought from Shelby in 1965 was highly successful, thanks to its G.T. 350 suspension components and Cobra 289 competition engine. The car won 10 of its first 17 starts. Since both men were well aware of the “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” adage, the business and social connection progressed quickly, eventually leading to Shelby de Mexico, which produced modified Mustangs specifically designed for the Mexican market using Shelby parts, and sold through Ford dealers in Mexico. The numbers were quite small by modern standards: 169 Mustangs in 1967, 203 in 1968, and 306 in 1969. In 1972, however, Velasquez branched out, offering a luxury version of the Galaxie called the Continental, as well as a Shelby version of the Maverick.
And, it was the Mexican Maverick that intrigued Gary Rube. A long-time Ford fan from Orlando, Florida, Gary's first car was a '72 Maverick with a high-performance Boss 302 V-8 under the hood. It was great fun, but marriage and family had a way of shifting priorities. Although the car went on to other owners, the fascination remained. Several years later when priorities were readjusted, Gary began searching for one of the rare Shelby Mavericks. Since only 300 were ever produced, it was like looking for a needle in the proverbial haystack. Luckily, the world's greatest automotive clearinghouse turned up a reasonable facsimile. Gary found a replica Mexican Maverick for sale on eBay, put in his bid, and won!
His '73 version came equipped with a fiberglass hood sporting a pair of functional scoops and hoodpins. Driving lights were mounted behind a wire mesh grille that replaced the plastic factory version, and there was an adjustable splitter below the front bumper. Shelby-style, full-width, sequential taillights, a quick-fill center gas cap, and sidescoops similar to the Mustang distinguished it from its factory counterparts.
Rube's car rolls on 15-inch American Racing rims with Dunlop 60-series, GT Qualifier rubber. Under the hood is the original 302 equipped with an Edelbrock intake and 600-cfm Edelbrock four-barrel carburetor—a performance upgrade over the standard two-barrel Maverick configuration. Hedman headers, dual exhausts, and Flowmaster mufflers add power while creating the appropriate performance sound. The car is equipped with a rebuilt C4 transmission with a Hurst Quarter Stick shifter.
Gary's authentically restored interior is a significant departure from a standard Maverick, using fabric-covered, high-back bucket seats, each equipped with a four-point racing harness. A custom headliner, modified center console with auxiliary Sun Pro gauges, wood-rimmed steering wheel, and a Sun Pro racing tach complete the changes. Gary replaced the original stereo with a JVC head unit that now controls a trunk-mounted, 800-watt auxiliary amplifier. It powers a multi-speaker setup, with mids in the kick panels, tweeters in the doors, and subs in the rear package tray. The trunk holds a fullsize spare along with the rear-mounted Duralast battery.
Gary's car is painted dark gray metallic, accented with silver center stripes and rocker panel stripes. Front and rear bumpers are painted to match, and Shelby badging throughout lets you know this is something special. The only things necessary to complete this car are the hood-mounted tachometer and the rear window louvers—items that Gary is actively searching for and hopes to find soon.
In the meantime, his Mexican Maverick, now with 94,000 miles on it, is a pleasure to own. Gary was driving the car on a daily basis, but parking lot dings convinced him to make it a weekend-only car. Now, he actively campaigns the car at shows on the South Florida circuit.
Gary Rube's '73 Ford Mexican Maverick Replica
Small-block Ford 302ci V-8
Edelbrock Victor Jr. aluminum intake manifold
600-cfm Edelbrock four-barrel carb
Shelby valve covers
C4 automatic transmission
Hurst Quarter Stick shifter
2.5-inch dual exhaust
Front: Coil springs, control arms, shocks rebuilt to factory specs
Rear: Leaf springs, shocks rebuilt to factory specs
Front: Ford Torino disc, 11-inch rotors, two-piston calipers
Rear: Ford Torino disc, 11-inch rotors, two-piston calipers
Front: American Racing Hopster, 15x8
Rear: American Racing Hopster, 15x8
Front: Dunlop G/T Qualifier 235-60/15
Rear: Dunlop G/T Qualifier 245-60/15
High-back bucket seats, four-point racing harnesses, custom center console with auxiliary Sun Pro gauges, wood-rimmed steering wheel, Sun Pro racing tach, JVC stereo, 800-watt Pyramid amp
Shelby-style functional, twin-scoop fiberglass hood; driving lights behind a wire mesh grille; front splitter; Shelby Mustang sidescoops; '68 Shelby sequential taillights; quick-fill center gas cap; dark gray metallic with silver center and side stripes; bumpers painted to match; Shelby badging