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Posted: Oct 18, 2013

2013 OUSCI Preview- Chris Moore's 1972 Ford Maverick

Chris-Moore-Ford-Maverick-OUSCI.jpgEvery car and driver that find their way to the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational, presented by Royal Purple and KN Filters, has a unique story and Chris Moore is no exception. Some of Moore's earliest car memories were sitting on the fender of a Maverick, as his dad wrenched under the hood. Ironically enough, Chris never wanted a Maverick of his own.

Like most of the hotrodding world, Camaros and 'Cudas were more to his liking. However, when Chris started going to car shows, he began to notice that the bulk of most show fields were made up of Camaros, Mustangs, Novas and Tri-Five Chevys. Moore knew he wanted a car that was outside of the status quo, but he still wasn't sold on a Maverick. All that changed when Chris spotted Tom Hackmann's '72 Ford Maverick Grabber in Hot Rod magazine

Hackmann's Grabber made Chris realize these often-overlooked cars could be made to look cool and perform well and he went in search of one for himself. About that time, Chris' dad came across the Maverick of his dreams, just as he was finishing up a restoration on another '72 Maverick. The two Moores had a conversation about the opportunity and a deal with struck where Chris ended up with his dad's fresh restoration.

Chris didn't take the car home. Instead, he sent it straight to the body shop with photos of Hackmann's Maverick and instructions to follow suit. More modifications came in the years that followed, including new wheels, a Mustang chin spoiler and a Comet GT hood scoop, all added in the parking lot at his apartment.

Chris ended up taking the Maverick on the Hot Rod Power Tour, but in his haste to get the car's stance right, he cut some corners that reared their ugly head on the Power Tour. Chris just swapped in a T5 transmission prior to the trip, but didn't have time to repair the air-conditioning. The air coming in the hole in the floor for the transmission helped a little, but it was still a brutal trip for Chris, his sister and dad. To make matter worse, to get the stance he wanted, Chris de-arched his leaf springs and cut his coils. That roadtrip made Moore a believer that stance is only "everything" in the parking lot and he went in search of a way to get the stance he wanted without sacrificing ride quality or performance.

Chris soon found a tremendous resource in the Maverick messageboard community, where his fellow Maverick owners led him down the right path for answers, starting with carbon fiber parts from Maverick Man and the Chassis Connection for suspension improvements. As much help as the Maverick community was, Moore was looking for more assistance from folks who really push their cars on the track. He found such a resource in the community at Pro-Touring.com

Chris was eyeing up a front coil-over conversion from Total Control, which they make for Mavericks, but instead he found a Mustang kit on Craigslist for half price that he was able to make work. While Chris admits most of the parts for his car came off Craiglist and eBay, his experience has led him to the conclusion that it is best to save up for the part you want and buy it right the first time.

With the front suspension in a better place, Chris knew he needed to address the de-arched springs, which had actually collapsed. The best he could come up with was a torque arm suspension kit Total Cost Involved developed for the Mustang. Chris made it work, but it seemed like it took 1/4-inch adjustments in every direction to get it installed.

It was a steep learning curve for Moore, but a few years later, he had the suspension, engine (347 stroker) and transmission sorted out and even managed to get the AC pumping again. Then he discovered autocrossing. That bug bite made Chris pursue even bigger brakes (Wilwood six-piston calipers 13-inch rotors up front and 4s and 12s in the rears), better coilovers (VariShock), bigger tires (265/275 Falkens on 18-inch FR500 wheels) and some custom-fabricated drop spindles.

The mild climate in Texas has allowed Chris to hit plenty of autocross events, including the Goodguys Lone Star Nationals, where he picked up an invite to the 2013 OUSCI. Plenty of autocross practice will help Chris in the Ridetech Autocross and to some degree, in the Wilwood Speed/Stop Challenge, but the BFGoodrich Hot Lap Challenge may be a different story. Cars start to behave differently when you hit third gear and Chris will have his hands full in his 3,100-pound ride when he hits a road course for the very first time ever in Pahrump.

Hopefully, the judges in the Lingenfelter Performance Design Challenge will understand the challenge Chris has had in getting any parts to fit on his Maverick. Having a supportive aftermarket might not boost the popularity of the Mavericks and Comets to that of their Mustang/Cougar cousins, but there were certainly enough of these cars built (more than two million Mavericks and a whole lot of Mercury Comets) to support a few product offerings. While it might be a challenge for Moore to get 10 points (11th place) in any of the track events, that number is a lock for everyone who completes the Detroit Speed Road Rally. Every year there are a few competitors who lose part or all of those points, so Chris would be wise to capitalize on that opportunity.

We always like seeing "the little guys" going up against the powerhouses of Pro-Touring and Chris Moore certainly fits that bill. If you'd like to cheer on the little guy, we're sure Chris would appreciate the support. Buy your OUSCI tickets today!

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