This week’s FF title sums up perfectly the overall opinion on the Ford Maverick GT. It’s a popular saying in Brazil which reads Garbage for some, luxury for others. Years of Jalopniking, Oppo’ing and LaLDing taught me that the Ford Maverick isn’t exatclty a dream car on US...
However, here in Brazil the history is completely different. We hadn’t a muscle car wave, and the few muscular cars which landed here are prized. Eyeing the enormous success of the Chevrolet Opala, Ford do Brasil decided they needed a muscle car to compete with it. American Ford had plenty of options, so what to bring here to win the battle against the Opala? There are two theories...
The most realist says Ford did a “consumer clinic” with four different cars, without badges and names, to see what the customers would like best. Those were the Chevrolet Opala, the smaller Ford Corcel (based on the Renault 12, and a future FF post), the German Ford Taunus and the American Ford Maverick. The public chose the Taunus, but the Maverick was easier to make, so this was the winner model.
However, this isn’t the most popular explanation! Everyone says Ford brought both a Maverick and a Mustang to the São Paulo’s Salão do Automóvel, and the public chose the Mustang. However, Ford do Brasil’s president liked more the Maverick, so he ignored the public opinion and chose the Maverick in place of the Mustang! What of those two is the real story no one knows. What is known is the fact the Maverick debuted on Brazilian market in June, 1973.
The first models produced here were the two doors coupés, which quickly were rebadged as the GTs in the next year (like this model, a 1974). It began its history here with two engine options: A inline 6, 3.0l engine from a Willys Itamaraty with only 90cv (!!), incredibly underpowered for a car with 1,340 kg. However, the GT version brought the 302 engine, a 4.95l (302 in³) V8 powerplant, imported from Canada or US (the V8s are still called Mavericks Canadenses, or Canadian Mavericks). Now this was some serious performance, the 197 cv could take it up to 180 km/h with a 0-100 km/h (0-60 mph) in only 11 seconds!!!
Some months later the 4 door sedan version was released as a luxury version, but it stumbled upon a curious problem: Brazilians didn’t liked 4 door cars, because only taxis had 4 doors. Another problem plagued the Maverick here, the oil crisis of the 70’s. Since we imported gasoline from abroad and our economy wasn’t doing very good back then, the gas prices skyrocketed. So a big, thirsty V8 wasn’t the most rational option at the time. This oil crisis was also the main reason behind the Proálcool program, to develop engines running on sugarcane ethanol to minimize the need for imported fuel.
Chevrolet had the Opala Caravan, a nice muscle wagon, right? Ford had no plans for a wagon, but Souza Ramos, a coachbuilder specialized in enclosing pickup trucks to make huge SUVs (since the 70’s, way before this current SUV craze) developed a breathtaking Maverick Wagon!!!!!
This wagon was made by order, with the Luxury and Super Luxury trims, always with 4 doors and with 4 or 8 cylinder engines. No one really knows how many of them were made. The most realistic estimates are something around 150. In ‘77, a Ford did a slight facelift on the line, and brought the LDO (Luxuosa Decoração Opcional, Luxury Optional Decoration) trim level, with a wooden panel and a better overal trim.
This short history of the Maverick ended in 1979. The Corcel II was introduced in 1978 with a (way) smaller price tag, more space and a more frugal engine, it was the swan song for the Maverick. At te eng, only 108,106 were made: 10,573 GTs, 85,654 coupés and 11,879 four doors. Since then, Ford never had another sports car down here.
Performance out of the routine!
Incredible! A 4 doors that isn’t a square.
25 Hours of Interlagos. August 25/26. 5 Ford Mavericks. 56 stock cars competing on the biggest endurance race of the country. Ford Maverick in 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 13th. Ford Maverick breaking the track record.
For who hadn’t understood, we repeat:
500km of Interlagos. Semptember 9. 5 Ford Mavericks. 27 stock cars competing on the biggest endurance race of the country. Ford Maverick in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th. Ford Maverick breaking the track record.