1972 Maverick

In 1993, I purchased The Maverick Connection's 1972 Maverick from Chuck Stalnaker.  I had made Chuck's acquaintance years before through an article in a Ford magazine, and then he and I started to trade parts, stories, more parts, and I ended up purchasing quite a few parts from him.  We became friends and, eventually, the discussion turned to his car that was put up for sale.  Originally a six-cylinder automatic car, rescued from an older woman who had been its sole owner, Chuck and his dad had swapped in a 302, a built up C4, and added selected LDO parts to the interior.  They also managed to cover up the original mint green paint with Grabber Orange ("Poppy Red" to the Mustang fans). 

As our discussions turned serious about the car, Chuck sent me a video (Photo 1) and I was hooked.  (Photos 2,3) The car was quite nice, though I could tell from the photos and video that it needed some work, and there were some things about it that I didn't like and would change (Photo 4).  Chuck and I went back and forth, and finally we agreed upon a good price fair to each of us.

 I selected a carrier and Chuck supervised its preparation and loading for transportation (Photo 5) to Salt Lake City.  The wait was awful, and the car arrived in an utterly filthy condition the carrier had apparently driven through some really terrible road conditions.

 `With the car in my possession, I washed it, put on a coat of wax, touched up the chips, and drove it for a few weeks.  However, since I can't leave anything alone, I pulled the hood and installed a custom hood that George Layton had previously worked over for me he had formed the pot metal hood insets from sheetmetal and then welded those pieces to the hood.  The factory inserts were expertly replicated.   I did the final block sanding, and then Geoff Watson, a noted Corvette restorer and client, painted the hood.  While the paint was curing, I replaced many painted parts under the hood with chromed items: shock tower braces, latching mechanisms, alternator brackets, pulleys, master cylinder cover, and many more.  I also painted the leading fascia of the radiator support in gloss black lacquer the orange painted poking from behind the grille just didn't do it for me.  Other body work included George Layton flaring out two symmetrical exhaust openings in the rear valence to mate up with '67 Shelby chrome tips from Tony Branda. 

 While I was working on the front end, Mike Smith tore into the mechanical aspects of the car.  Mike installed a new set of rotors that Chuck supplied with the car.  We also installed a 1" front sway bar off a Lincoln Versailles (bolted right on), replaced the original rubber with Goodyear GT +4 tires on all four corners, replaced the exhaust system with a stainless steel system, a 3/4" rear bar from ADDCO, and Koni shocks on all four corners.  We also cut the front coils one-half turn (since replaced with 650 pound progressive rate springs) the front of the car needed to be dropped a little bit. 3.50 rear gears were also installed.  In order to get the new dual outlet exhaust system to work, we had to narrow the factory gas tank 3" on the driver's side (work done by a muffler shop that cleaned out the tank, filled it with carbon dioxide for the welding) after which I sloshed the tank with a coating solution.  New tanks straps were also added.  Finally, the engine was fully tuned, and the carb was replaced with an Autolite unit rebuilt by Pony Carbureators. 

 Once again, I drove the car for a few years, but the condition of the body didn't please me.  Rust was starting to peak out of the rear lower quarter panels (earlier repairs hadn't worked out too well), and the paint was starting to fade a bit (Salt Lake City's high altitude is murder on paint jobs). Since I was also unhappy with the interior, I decided to do a full tear down.  I also wanted to deep-six the lousy C4 automatic transmissions with a 4-speed manual set up (I HATE automatics).  With Mike Smith's help, and we started to tear the car down.  First, the front suspension was removed (Photo 6), the engine was removed (Photo 7) , and then we removed the windshield, the dashboard (I sold it to another Maverick enthusiast, Cedric Ozminski), and the entire interior.  At this point, we could fix the rust. (See the complete rust repair photo essay here...) The large rust hole in the inner front engine compartment, to the rear of the shock tower, and some rust on top of the shock towers were repaired by Mike and me: heavy gauge sheet metal was MIG welded into place, ground down, with the slight imperfections filled with high quality polyester filler.   On top of this, Mike and I welded up the holes in the firewall and the radiator support because I removed the air-conditioning system; in the future, a modern/more efficient aftermarket system will be installed. 

After the rust repaired areas were roughed into shape, I started the laborious sanding process.  There was a LOT of work to do in the engine compartment (Photo 9) including filling in the irregularities on top of the radiator support (photo 10).  While I worked on the engine compartment in preparation for fresh paint (the car will be resprayed in Poppy Red), I hired Geoff Watson to attack the sheet metal rust outs in the dog legs and lower rear quarter panels. 

The heavily rusted areas previously repaired with a little brazing and bondo were removed with an air chisel in preparation for replacement with aftermarket quarter panels and a new rear wheelhouse purchased from Tony Branda.  Interesting note: the lower rear wheelwell parts from a '65 Mustang coupe fit pretty well in a Maverick, needing only minor trimming. Check out the following photo essay for the work necessary to cut away the lower rear quarter panels on both sides, the reshaping of the inner trunk panel and inner rear wheelhouse panels, as well as the application of a light coat of polyester surfacing resin (the polite/politically-correct name for bondo!).   This how-to starts with replacing rusted panels in the dog legs, then welding up the body seam in that area (for a smoother, custom look), and then moves onto the rear quarter panel work.  Note that the custom rear valence has been left in place and welded to the new lower rear quarter panel sheetmetal panels.

Thanks for spending this time with me.  Check back from time to time!

Full photo essay here.

 

 

Project '72 Maverick
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