Do you remember the Ford Maverick? You probably don’t. Even for car enthusiasts or well-read historians, the name is a footnote from the 1970s, an era hardly known for memorable cars. But, pulling it off the shelf and slapping it on a small truck is a smart move for Ford.
The automaker confirmed Thursday morning that it will use the name on a truck that will debut June 8. Actress Gabrielle Union will help unveil the vehicle on social channels and Hulu.
We’ve seen the Maverick in an abundance of spy shots over the past year, and it’s the second major truck Ford has revealed in the last month, following the F-150 Lightning EV. Maverick sounds like a truck name and rolls off the tongue. It’s vaguely familiar, which is a good thing, and Ford already holds the trademarks. Naming vehicles, especially trucks, is tricky, and Maverick looks and sounds right.
The original Ford Maverick was a compact coupe and sedan from 1970-77. Depending on your views, it was either curvaceous or frog-like in appearance. It was popular early in its life as consumers looked to smaller vehicles amid the ‘70s oil crisis, though sales dipped later in the decade. The Maverick replaced the Falcon, a small car with sleek Space Age 1960s styling. The Maverick was replaced by the Grenada (though they co-existed for a few years) and ultimately the Fairmont.
Google Ford Maverick and you’ll see its competitors were things like the Chevy Nova (stylish and underrated) and Dodge Dart (cool at the start, worse as the 70s rolled on). The Maverick had a sibling, the Mercury Comet. The Maverick is also overshadowed in history by the Pinto, a troubled smaller car that remains infamous. Today, if you come across a Maverick, it’s either decomposing in a junkyard or a time-capsule novelty commanding a higher price than you might expect.
So yes, you’ve probably heard the name “Ford Maverick” before but likely couldn’t place it. Like many things from the 1970s, it was largely forgettable, and that’s perfect for repurposing in 2021.
If anything, it’s better on a truck than a car. Maverick and Ranger complement each other nicely, and the F Series is almost a brand onto itself. Maverick can mean unorthodox or independent, or refer to unbranded cattle. Either one fits for a compact truck that is a bit of a segment buster. Maverick has a history, but isn’t overtly retro. It can’t be. It’s a truck aimed at younger buyers, which is why one of the launch platforms will be TikTok. At the end of the day, Maverick is just a good name and the past is trivia.