March 16, 2010
CarDomain Obscure Muscle Car Parking Lot: The Ford Maverick Grabber
By Jim Brennan
Welcome to another edition of the CarDomain Obscure Muscle Car Parking Lot, where we discover cars that were never really thought of as Muscle Cars, and change your mind about them. Yes, it has been a while since the last edition, and I know there are rabid fans of this feature, so over the next several weeks we’ll be running this feature super-regularly so you can get your fix. And look at what we have here: the Maverick Grabber, powered by the tried-and-true Ford 302 CID V-8. Let’s see if it belongs in the Parking Lot…
The Grabber package lent a sporting flair to the cut-price Maverick coupe, and it deserves a second look. The original Maverick’s main purpose was to offer an inexpensive option within the “compact” segment, and the Grabber actually had little in the way of performance options, even in its day. However, it has potential; these lightweight cars have the look, and their Falcon/Mustang-derived chassis can yield true fun just by swapping few parts from a huge catalog of performance goodies.
For 1971, the Grabber became its own model within the Maverick family, and not just a trim package. The model included simulated hood scoops with blackout paint, stripes on the sides, fender decals, blackout tail panel, grille-mounted road lamps with the Maverick nameplate, blackened grille, hubcaps with trim rings on 14-inch wheels and D70-14 tires, twin body-color sport mirrors, a decklid spoiler, bright window frames and drip moldings and the DeLuxe steering wheel.
Early Grabbers were only available with a choice of 170-, 200- or 250-cube straight-sixes. Then in 1971, for the first time since the Maverick was introduced, V-8 power became available in the form of Ford’s 302. In 1971 the two-barrel 302 was rated at 210hp, enough for mid-9-second 0-60 and sub-17-second quarter-mile times. For 1972, the auto industry switched from gross to net power figures, which meant a power decline to 143hp in the 302. Dropping the compression was one of the reasons why the 70′s engines lost power, and for 1973 power stayed at a rated 140hp, but by 1975 the 302 was rated at a measly 129hp. Parts for the 302 remain plentiful at the local parts store, and performance parts are as plentiful for the 302 Ford as they are for the small-block Chevy.
Year-by-year changes were few, with the 1972 model adding a choice of seats, some interior trim options, additional tape stripe colors, and complimenting tail color instead of a black-out treatment. A “Battering Ram” front bumper made its debut in 1973, and the hood scoops were replaced with a flattened hood and tape stripes. The 1973 model did benefit from a new handling package, and the option of a bench seat. Instead of Hub Caps and Trim Rings, you could order your Grabber with Aluminum Slotted Wheels, available throughout the Maverick Line, along with radial tires. 1975 saw the addition of the large bumper in the rear of the car, the deletion of the spoiler, and the availability of Power Disc Brakes.
The last year for the Maverick Grabber, 1975, changes were limited to white-letter radial tires and 14-inch styled-steel road wheels. Maverick Grabber production lasted through 1975 and the name was discontinued at the end of the year to make way for the bolder-looking Stallion. Grabber production was healthy, but declining: 38,963 units in 1971, 35,347 in ’72, 32,350 in ’73, 23,502 in ’74 and just 8,473 units for ’75. Tally that up and it’s more than 138,000 Grabbers, but not all of them were V-8 equipped.
CarDomain Members Rides:
Well, there are 6 pages of Mavericks within the CarDomain community, and sifting through them I spotted a few nice Grabbers. Here is Ed’s 1973 Red/White V-8 Grabber, from Syracuse NY. Looks great, and Ed is the original owner. Take a look at his Grabber, and leave Ed a shoutout.
Here’s Jeffery’s 1972 Ford Maverick Grabber, with a little over 59,000 miles. Jeffery hails from Choctaw County Mississippi, and he has one fine looking Grabber. Check it out.
And that’s it. So do you think the Maverick Grabber is an Obscure Muscle Car (probably the 1972, and 73 version) and does it belong in the parking lot, or is it just another pretender to the throne? Let me know either way, and tell me how you like (or loathe) this feature as well
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