Ford squeezed an amazing amount of value out of the 1960 Falcon‘s chassis design, with everything from the 1964-1973 Mustang to the 1980 Granada rolling Falcon-style. The Falcon itself got replaced here by the Maverick starting in 1970 (with one year of overlap when both were available), but the Maverick still had the 1960 Falcon’s bones under its skin. Millions of Mavericks (and near-identical Mercury Comets) were sold here during the 1970-1977 period, and nearly all of these affordable commutemobiles got crushed decades ago. Still, I run across the occasional Maverick/Comet during my junkyard journeys, and I found this optioned-up ’76 in a Denver-area yard last summer.
I went to high school during the early 1980s, and the Maverick was one of the most likely cars to be handed down by relatives to my peers back then. No California teenager felt cool driving a stock Maverick (or Comet) during that era, though it could have been worse— you could have been stuck with a Pinto or Vega. I bypassed those image problems by dropping 50 bones on a hooptie 1969 Toyota Corona sedan in not-so-edgy beige and never looked back.
This car was on the semi-hip side, in fact, since it has a V8 engine. If we’re looking at the original engine— nowhere near a certainty, but possible— then this is a 302-cubic-inch (5.0-liter) Winsdor rated at 136 horsepower. Most Mavericks got the straight-six engine because if you could afford the $154 extra for the V8 (about $730 today), you probably felt rich enough to move up to a new Granada or even a Torino.
Of course, once you popped your clutch for that extra dough for the engine, why not continue shaking bills out of your wallet and get rid of the clutch in your new car? The three-speed automatic was a $245 option on this car (about $1,160 now), and this car has it. Otherwise, the base transmission for the ’76 Maverick was the three-on-the-tree manual (which disappeared from North American Ford cars after 1977 and from all new cars sold here after 1979).
I’m not sure what this cloth/vinyl bench-seat upholstery was called by Dearborn in 1976, but it’s a step up from the slippery all-vinyl base interior.
This aftermarket Panasonic AM/FM radio managed to avoid being stolen during this car’s career, which is something of an accomplishment.
These simple taillights were quite popular on kit cars during the 1970s, along with the round lights from Opel Mantas.
Cheaper than a new Volaré and with most of the same features!
For links to 2,100+ additional Junkyard Finds, Junkyard Gems, and Junkyard Treasures, visit the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.