By Roz Rogoff
Good-Guys Summer Get-TogetherUploaded: May 31, 2012
I don't know if the guys who hold the Good-Guys Hot Rod shows in Pleasanton and other venues around the country are really "good" guys, but they put on a good show and it's convenient for me to drive to it a few times a year. I plan to be at the Summer Get-Together this weekend with my 1973 Maverick Grabber.
Many of my readers know I have a yellow and black Maverick Grabber that they see me driving around in San Ramon and Dublin. I'm in Dublin a lot because I've been taking it to Ray's Auto. They have fixed almost everything in it over the last six years.
I used to own Mavericks back in the 1970s when they were new. I bought my first Maverick in 1969, probably in April. It was a 1970 but considered a 69-1/2. Mavericks replacedd the Falcon to compete with the VW Beatle. They were aimed at young people who needed a fun but inexpensive car.
The base price of the original Maverick was $1995. That's the one I bought. The only accessory I added was an AM radio for $50, but the State of New York, where I lived in 1969, required a day/night rear view mirror for another $7. I considered it $7 wasted on the flippin' mirror. I never liked them and I still do use the "night" setting.
I traded my 1969-1/2 for a 1976 in late 1975. This one had more options, metallic paint, better upholstery, 250 6 cyl engine, and an AM/FM radio, but sill a flippin' mirror.
In the 1970s Ford added a 4-door model and a fancy Grabber 2-door, but I wouldn't touch a Grabber. I thought they looked stupid. They were just a Maverick fastback with a paint job to make it look like a muscle car. Ford even advertised the Grabber as a "Jazzy Firecracker," to make people think you are driving a muscle car but without the expense of taking care of one.
The Grabber model was popular from 1971 to 1975. In 1976 the fancy paint was changed to a Stallion, even though a "Maverick" is bovine not equine. 1977 was the last year Mavericks were built and sold. The model was followed by the more staid Fairmont.
For some reason I started feeling nostalgic for my old Maverick in early 2005. I looked up Mavericks on eBay and found some Grabbers listed in Texas and Florida. The prices were good, but I would have to spend another $700-800 to ship it here. Not only that even with the eBay guarantee, it was risky buying a car from a distance and unseen.
I decided to look for one locally and put a Wanted listing on Craig's List, offering to pay $2500 for a 1972-74 Maverick Grabber in good condition. I wanted a Grabber this time because the whole point is to show it off. The attention-grabbing Grabber was right for me now in my dotage when it wasn't a serious vehicle when I was younger and still working.
I received an email from a man in Modesto saying he had a friend with a 1973 yellow and black Maverick Grabber and wanted to sell it for $3500. I told him it was too much. After I thought about it, I figured it might be worth taking a look at and the price could be negotiated.
Jim Livingstone, who is now serving as Vice Mayor, offered to drive me out to Modesto, really Riverbank, to see the car. Jim had just retired from Pioneer Auto which he owned for many years, and prior to that he started his automotive career working for a Ford dealership when Mavericks were new. So he was the perfect person to come out there with me and look it over.
We met the owner in a Mall in Riverbank. I don't remember which Mall, but when the owner drove up and I saw the car, I was hooked. Jim looked it over and found a few things that needed fixing, and in his usual understated way, said "It might take a few dollars."
Well it was a lot more than a few dollars, but my Mav is running close to perfectly now. My next step is to get it painted. The photo here was taken at Forest Home Farms four years ago. The paint still looked good for a 35 year old car.
I was at Forest Home Farms tonight for the Town Hall Meeting with Mayor Clarkson. The turnout was low, but Clarkson said that sometimes 80 people come out and sometimes only five (I counted 10 including me), but he wanted to answer questions from whoever showed up. The next Town Hall will be held at the Dougherty Station Community Center in three months.
I told City Clerk Pat Edwards I was bringing my Maverick to the Good-Guys show this weekend. She asked if I could win a prize. I doubt it, but I like showing it off. After it is painted, it might qualify for a prize or at least a photo in the Good-Guys magazine.