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1971 Ford Maverick - Mike's Mean Maverick

Run 10s for less than 5 grand!

By Steve Magnante, Photography by Steve Magnante

Suspension: One turn has been cut from the stock six-cylinder front coil springs, and the Napa gas shocks allow rapid lift, but excessive body rise is controlled by a cable limiter set for 2 1/2 inches of separation. Alignment is set at 5 degrees positive caster with 1/4 degree negative camber and 1/8-inch toe-in. The rear leaf springs were moved inboard of the framerails to gain tire clearance. The springs use Maverick main leaves with dearched Ford pickup truck leaves stacked to achieve a stiffer front segment. No ladder bars or pinion snubber are used, but an adjustable Competition Engineering rear antiroll bar has been added to allow chassis preload tuning for level launches. Rear shocks are Rancho 9000 nine-way adjustables, set at "3-clicks in" by Mike's son Matt, who's in charge of suspension tuning.

Brakes: Wilwood vented front discs replace the stock four-lug Maverick drums. Wilwood rear disc brakes feature dual calipers for maximum on-the-line clamping while turbo builds boost. Mike seeks to "hold the car steady on the line without placing any preload into the tire sidewalls. It launches best this way."

Wheels/Tires: The Weld Pro Stars, 15x3.5 front and 15x10 rear, were powdercoated by Robinson's Race cars. The front tires are lightweight M&H P185/85D15, and out back is a set of unidirectional M/T ET Street P295/65R15 drag radials that have seen three drag seasons but are still biting. Mike plans to reverse the tires to squeeze out a few more runs before replacement.

Interior: Inside is stock with the rear bench seat removed and the front bench replaced with two Kirkey lightweight, aluminum buckets. Elsewhere are a B&M Pro Ratchet shifter, Auto Meter gauges, and a 10-point chrome-moly 'cage added by Robinson Race Cars for safety and to stiffen the body.

Body: Ford of Canada built this Maverick before it arrived at Mike's shop showing 47,000 original miles. It has the original paint, but the front fenders were replaced due to rust, and a fiberglass cowl hood was added. The rear quarter-panels were stretched and the OEM wheel houses massaged for tire clearance. Race weight is 3,058 after a pass with driver.

Performance: Best performances so far is 10.92 at 120.77 mph with a 1.50-second 60-foot time.

Special thanks to Mike Shea and Palmer Paving for letting us use the gravel quarry, Mike also wants to thank wife, Jennifer, daughter, Breanna, son, Matt, Chris Zukowski, Tim Young, Jesse Willis, and numerous friends who stepped up with used fuel system parts, gauges, and other donations.

Groovy Factoids
&bull The fabled Dodge A100 Little Red Wagon wheelstander was campaigned by Bill "Maverick" Golden, who never owned a Ford Maverick, right Bill?
&bull Fans of the Beatles classic 1966 album Revolver should check out anything by the band Supergrass. You'll like it.

By Steve Magnante
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This is a nice article about a Ford, but you guys at Chevy Craft really need to hire someone who knows his Fords. For starters, you list a 240 inch six along with the smaller Falcon type six. The 240 and 300 are both considered "big" sixes and they both have bolt-on intake manifolds. Second, only the rare Cleveland C-6 will bolt up to the Ford small block or the "big" six.( also the 250 incher). And yes, I know it doesn't sound right to call a 250 small and a 240 big, but they are referring to the actual physical size of the motor, not the cubic inch displacement. Please forgive me if I stepped on anyone's toes.

The Don-#002
The Don-#002

Turbo 6cyl are a title contender and have proven that.


I bougt my first ford maverick a year and a half ago and i love it, i love the fact that the Maverick was, and probably still is the underdog, to the mustang. The name "maverick" however explains it all- One who stands alone, individualist, or loner. I don't know about you, but in school the loners were always the ones to be afraid of. P.S.> what offset are the weld prostars on the rear. i have the same tire but my offset is, well, OFF. I'd like to tuck my tire.

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