Who: Josh Dillon
What: 1973 Ford Maverick
Where: Athens, Tennessee
Engine: Josh built the 1974 model 460ci big-block in his home shop, using a stock crankshaft, Scat H-beam rods, and a set of Probe forged dish pistons to provide a boost-friendly 8.3:1 compression ratio. Riverside Machine Shop bored the block 0.030-inch over, making a final displacement of 466 ci. Josh ported the D3VE cylinder heads but kept the stock 2.08- and 1.65-inch valves. The camshaft is a Summit Racing hydraulic flat-tappet with 276/286 degrees advertised duration and 0.503-inch max lift, ground on a 114-degree lobe-separation angle. Chrome-moly pushrods are the only valvetrain modification. Induction consists of an Edelbrock Torker II intake manifold, topped by a Carb Shop 900-cfm blow-through carburetor.
Boost: Big-time horsepower is created by a Borg-Warner S475 turbocharger, which features a 1.1 A/R exhaust housing. The turbo spools quickly and breathes into a cut-down air-to-air intercooler from a diesel truck. The 60mm wastegate and 50mm blow-off valve are eBay items. Josh made all of the turbo mounting brackets and piping. He also plumbed the boost-ready fuel system with a 10-gallon fuel cell, big AN lines, an Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump, and a boost-referenced A2000 regulator. He pulls 1.4 degrees of timing per pound of boost added, using a Mallory ignition box, and generally runs 15 pounds of boost with 15 degrees of timing as a safe tune on pump gas.
Transmission: Josh and his father, Craig Dillon, rebuilt the C6 automatic transmission, which came out of the same donor vehicle as the engine. They installed modified pressure plates in the drums to hold more friction and steel, but used all Ford hard parts in the transmission. A Dacco transmission rebuild kit and a Fairbanks Competition shift kit put the finishing touches on the C6. The converter is a Dacco unit, which stalls to 2,500 rpm but has given Josh some problems with slippage on the big end. A tighter converter is coming soon. Amazingly, the Jeep Cherokee driveshaft has survived through all of this.
Chassis: Ford guys have it rough when it comes to stuffing a big-block in a small car. Josh had to completely butcher his engine bay to fit the big-block. He whacked the shock towers and installed a Mustang II front suspension kit, using a crossmember for a 1965–1967 Mustang, big-block springs from a Nova, and a manual steering rack-and-pinion. The front brakes are GM metric discs, and the rear brakes are the stock drums, which are still attached to the stock 8-inch rearend. Josh runs a 3.00 gearset, with the stock 28-spline axles and a cheap mini-spool. The original leaf springs are in place, and Josh never bothered to replace the rear shocks.
Exterior: Josh does bodywork for a living, but he chose to leave the crustiness of his Maverick to enhance the sleeper look, and he also left the 2.3 badges from the car's previous configuration. He likes the look of earlier Mavericks, so he tossed the heavy 1973 bumpers and installed fiberglass 1971–72 bumpers. The hood is gutted to clear the carb hat, but it still doesn't really fit. The car is beat up from years of thrashing, but it definitely adds to the beater mentality.
Interior: Inside, the car is mostly stock. Josh kept all of the interior panels intact, but he fabricated a removable five-point rollbar to sneak by the tech guy at the local dragstrip. Let's just hope the tech guy isn't reading this.
Wheels/Tires: Josh's Maverick rolls on a set of steel wheels, which are part of the car's sneaky attitude. The fronts are 5 inches wide, and the rears are 8-inch OE-style wheels from Coker Tire. The slicks are Mickey Thompson 26x8.5-15, and Josh installed rim screws on the inside bead for another level of sneakiness.
Performance: Josh's Maverick weighs in at 3,270 pounds and really gets wild on the street. At the track, it has run a best of 7.13 at 101 mph in the eighth-mile (bottom 11s about 124 in the quarter!), running 14 pounds of boost on pump gas. Not bad for a homebuilt $8,800 sleeper!
Budget: Lots of money has been spent on trial and error, so Josh's total is a bit higher than you might expect. His total build cost is $8,800, but that includes every bolt, hose clamp, and zip-tie on the entire car. That's a lot of zip-ties.