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1973 Ford Maverick - Abusive Relationship

Josh Dillon’s Turbo

By Tommy Lee Byrd, Photography by Tommy Lee Byrd

There are a lot of car guys who protect their vehicle from harm, no matter the cost. They are afraid of breaking parts, getting it dirty, or throwing rubber on the quarter panels. Josh Dillon is not one of those guys, and his brutally fast Ford Maverick is all the proof we need. It's bad fast, and it's built on a budget, but our favorite part of the equation is Josh's willingness to simply floor it and hope for the best.

Josh beats on this Maverick with absolutely no remorse. He says, "If it blows up, I'll rebuild it...again." The heart of his build is a big-block Ford with a single turbocharger, and the rest of it is a highly calculated combination of swap-meet parts to support the boost. Josh never set out with a particular budget in mind, but his eternal goal in life is to go fast without spending much money, so his Maverick is a shining example of this approach.

He's gone through a few combinations before getting to this point, one of which included an engine swap from an 1988 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe. He slapped a big turbo on the four-banger and went eight-flat in the eighth-mile, while getting 30 miles per gallon on his daily commute. With intentions of going much faster, he yanked the four-cylinder engine and started cutting on the engine bay until he had enough room to drop in a big-block Ford.

After a few years of working out the bugs, Josh is beating on the Maverick more than ever. It's holding together nicely, considering the budget-built nature and Josh's relentless right foot. On street tires, the turbo big-block offers enough torque to spin the tires at any speed, so he enjoys offering rides to anyone willing to sit in the passenger seat. Traction is a bit better on slicks, but the car is a handful, either way. Track time has been somewhat limited, due to the car's lack of safety equipment, but he's working on making it legal without killing the sleeper vibe.

The car has proven to be reliable on the street, and it survives Josh's commute to work on a regular basis, along with lots of abusive trips down the backroads of Athens, Tennessee. Josh spent less than $8,800 on this project, including the purchase price of the car, so he's having lots of fun without dipping into his children's college funds. The coolest part of the entire project is the fact that Josh built every piece of it at home. He only hired out the machine work on the block, which is pretty remarkable when you consider that this homebuilt street car can bust off a low-11-second quarter-mile pass at the drop of a hat.

Josh is not afraid of a challenge, and he's not afraid to beat the living daylights out of his very sneaky big-block Maverick. It's a budget-built sleeper that still sees plenty of street miles, and Josh rarely takes it easy when he slides behind the wheel. This abusive relationship shows no signs of ending, as Josh continues to tune on the combination and find more areas to improve. It's scary fast and downright dirty, but that's the way Josh likes it.

By Tommy Lee Byrd
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103 comments
Zeuz Alexander
Zeuz Alexander

if like this type of car , dont open the hood, you will never be the same any more.

Richard Sparkman
Richard Sparkman

I think that my 1 of a kind 70 DART BIRD should be in your mag.

Joe Mcmillan
Joe Mcmillan

maverick grabber 289 or 302 hood don,t make the car.

Christian Caissie
Christian Caissie

351 clevland , maybe , but a 390 ,,, it can be anything these days with all the swap going on , and turbos u know cant realy tel

Joe Damico
Joe Damico

I am corrected, I remember BACK when he first built it, just read the article, youre right, WASTE!!!

Dan William Frank
Dan William Frank

Car was featured in Street Sleeper book and now has a turbo'ed 460

Kris Hunter
Kris Hunter

hey Sandy Hediger, a Maverick!!! Who'da thunk it?

Yakko Reyes
Yakko Reyes

Should be ashamed,BBF by itself should have him running 11s all motor,15psi of boost(at 14.7psi you theoretically double engines output),should be running 9s....

Yakko Reyes
Yakko Reyes

he can prove it,I witness that car,stickshift,stock motor with cam....it fly's.... This maverick is like a meatball.....lost in the sauce.

Jason Rains
Jason Rains

yea I hear yea seems like an LS in everthing these days

Jorge Ortiz
Jorge Ortiz

it probably has tha IRON DUKE 4 Cylinder

Gary Soares
Gary Soares

Hey derek your ls chevy is a shitbox.

Bill Sticksel
Bill Sticksel

Seen that in car craft, its got a 460 turbo. cool car

Osnan Ovidio
Osnan Ovidio

i´d like see more ford mavericks tuning

Osnan Ovidio
Osnan Ovidio

i love ford maverick this car is amazing

Renita Senz
Renita Senz

owned one of these for 5 minutes.. bought it off the original owners .. had exactly 3000 kilometres on it .. and promptly got schmucked by a drunk driver head on one mile from the place of purchase..complete write off.. as the oters guys car ended up in my ngine cavity .. insurance gave me 50 bucks more than I paid for the car .. I paid 300 .. heavy sigh ...

Henry Klassen
Henry Klassen

Before I click on the article I just wanna say if it's another ls powered car I'm gonna scream!

Tom Hanna
Tom Hanna

Back in the day those bitches would do wheelstands with a 302 in em ! They hooked up nice but were a rattle trap !

Robert LaFloe
Robert LaFloe

had1,4door,sleeper...was gmas' car,...was....fast..

Dave Haggard
Dave Haggard

Why couldn't we guess?? You had in your magazine a month ago!

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