You know the story. A "fixer-up" here and a "little change" there, and the next thing you know"out-of-control project car! Witness Chris and Marcy Stout's '77 two-door Maverick. What was once a run-of-the-mill six-cylinder beater has been transformed into a serious street performer that packs an equal punch on the show field.
The story begins in 1990, when Chris and Marcy of Washington, Iowa, were looking for a car Marcy would be comfortable with. Naturally, that meant something in the "interesting Ford iron" arena, since Chris was a die-hard vintage Blue Oval fan. They were about to settle on a Mustang II, when the couple spotted this I-6 Maverick on a dealer lot. The price was right, so the Maverick became Marcy's daily driver for the next couple of years.
"Over the course of driving the car," says Chris, "a few parts started needing to be replaced. Since I can't leave anything alone, I started replacing them with better aftermarket parts. We started with the suspension, since it needed to be rebuilt. I got a complete PST kit and upgraded to polygraphite. After noticing the change in handling, I went even further and changed the springs to Shelby-rate 620 lb/in springs in front and Eaton custom four-leaf springs in the rear. I then added the custom antisway bars from Addco."
During this time, Chris had been tinkering around with a '79 Ranchero, for which he had recently rebuilt and modified its 302 engine.
"The engine hadn't been in the Ranchero for 500 miles," says Chris, "and I thought it would be much more fun in the Maverick."
So, out went the six-banger and in went the spiced-up small-block V-8. At this point, Chris and Marcy had reached the point of no return.
"I had a 1977 Comet that I had been in the process of restoring for years...collecting different parts, working on it as time went on. The Maverick was much closer to seeing the road than the Comet would probably ever be. So, I took the route that I was heading with the Comet and put most of the parts and ideas into the Maverick."
The Maverick received a thorough re-do, front to back, inside and out. The entire driveline was beefed up to better handle the 302 powermill, a striking coat of Candy Wineberry was added to the refurbished sheetmetal--along with some interesting custom pinstriping--and the interior received some classy updating, thanks to Lincoln LSC leather multi-position seats, a Grant steering wheel, custom console and door panels, aftermarket gauges, a B&M shifter, and fresh carpets and mats.
"I have always loved the Shelbys," says Chris, "and worked that theme into the Maverick while incorporating my own ideas and style. Along the way, I've had to make many of my own parts. I guess that's the cost of being different, but it's also part of the fun.
"We show the car occasionally, about three to four times a year. We've brought home trophies from various shows that we've attended. Personally, I don't care much for trophies. It's nice to get a little recognition for your hard work, but I feel better just getting compliments from people at the shows or cruises who like what I've done and show genuine interest." Well, Chris and Marcy Stout's slicked-up Maverick certainly piqued our interest. It's refreshing to see one of these transition-era Fords pulling duty other than as a stripped-down quarter-mile beater. It just goes to show that there's nothing at all wrong with not leaving cool vintage iron well enough alone.