Cohort Sighting: United Airlines Maverick – A Fresh Outfit For Ol’ Reliable

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How do you all suppose this Maverick got here?  It doesn’t seem to match United Airlines livery during its years of production, now does it?

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No, between 1969 and 1977, when the Maverick was in production, many United Airlines jets had just been repainted to look like this (that U logo, by the way, was designed by none other than Saul Bass, who illustrated the titles in much of Hitchcock’s work).  Appropriate colors for the era, aren’t they?

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That means, of course, that someone went out of their way to paint that Ford in its current grey livery.  Note the care taken not to paint over the chrome on the door handles, wheel arches and windshield trim.  It even has fresh whitewalls.  Perhaps it was done for a senior employee; perhaps said employee is a CC reader.

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Maybe he or she remembers the day when flight service looked something like this.  Check out that hair, those gloves and the simple lines of that dress; she belongs in a Fuselage-era Chrysler.  Let’s just call her Ms. Duster.

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Oh sorry, I got distracted.  This post began with a Ford car, and flight attendants–that’s what we call them today–don’t drive around the taxiway.  Is it far fetched to imagine the car was painted for a senior mechanic?  After all, there’s no harm in indulging sentimental attachments for someone who does so much to passengers safe (they, of course, dress a little bit more practically).

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It’s only natural that a lover of jets would also have a thing for cars.  All the power, style and technology that attracts us to jets in evident in cars and vice-versa.  So why not just paint the cars to match?


These days, United (recently merged with Continental) rents cars painted in this livery.  With the grey theme, slapping a decal on a dull grey silver car like the GL pictured here makes for a cheap solution.


Looks rather dreadful, doesn’t it?


That’s much better!  Doesn’t get much more ’70s America than this.  AMC’s cars of the era look quite at home next to a jet (though a widebody aircraft would make more sense than this 737).


Just to top it off, here’s another picture of a car decorated by the poster child of the golden era of jet travel, Pan Am.  Those years are long gone, and though our planes look much the same, our cars do not.  It’s no wonder, then, that someone wanted to hang onto that Maverick and the good times it represented.  With new jumbo jets, fewer delays, more carriers, swankier service and emptier flights, it wasn’t malaise for everybody.  Many thanks to SoCalMetro for the pictures of this sweet machine.

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