CC Capsule: Thrift Store Fords No. 3 – 1977 Ford Maverick

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Thrift stores serve a dual purpose; they provide a place for folks to purchase items that still have some service left in them for a fraction of their original cost, and on the other side of the coin, provide a place for folks to get rid of items that are still a bit too nice to throw out.

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This 1977 Ford Maverick falls neatly into both categories. Sales were flagging by 1976, but Ford needed something to tide them over until the new Fox-body Fairmont and Zephyr hit the shelves in 1978. Thus, the Maverick (and sibling Mercury Comet) were kept around for 1977, with virtually no changes, simply to fill a gap in the product lineup.

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Some folks can do amazingly creative things with thrift-store finds, re-purposing them into clever “new” objects that breathe fresh life into someone else’s castoffs. The Maverick was no different; in fact, Lee Iacocca had created it by essentially recycling the Falcon (and for the second time!).  The funny thing is, the formula worked–to the tune of 578,914 units sold in the extended 1969-70 first model year–at least for a while.

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The recycling extended all the way to the taillights, which seem to have been shared on numerous Fords of the era.

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One of 40,086 two-door Mavericks produced in 1977, our subject car has every appearance of having been owned (perhaps) by an elderly person who recently passed. The family is simply trying to get what they can for the car while letting someone else benefit from its remaining useful life. Some of its accessories (luggage rack, vent wings) even look period-correct.

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On the other hand, a peek inside shows dashboard scars (modern stereo, roughly-drilled holes in the dash) more typical of a younger driver, perhaps a more recent owner.

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But zounds! Look at those seats! Aside from the split seams common to Fords of this era, the material itself has held up remarkably well. When was the last time you saw such visually interesting fabric and materials, including in even higher-end cars?

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Stepping back outside for a moment, let’s visually feast on that wonderful patina–people pay a lot of money to get this look artificially–and I’m positive at least one of our regular commentators will agree that painting over it would almost be a shame.

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Although all the fun color names were gone by 1977, I wonder what they’d have called this patina back then…how about “Accidental Oxidation,” or perhaps “Righteous Rust?”

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The patina extends right down to the pavement, too–the wheels encircling its classic dog-dish hubcaps show a rust pattern that indicates this car sat out in the open for a long time…

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Still, it’s a fairly honest face, and one that would be marred by trying to turn it into something that at heart it is not. Hopefully, someone will see its potential and provide enough loving attention to give this old Maverick another go-’round–a second life, as it were–before it’s turned out to pasture for the final time.