Return of “The Big Orange Moose” – The Maverick Restoration Begins

We Found The Maverick Disassembled In A Barn In Wisconsin - Like All Good "Barn Find" Stories Begin.

Hi Gang…

Ever hear the quote:

“The Light At The End Of The Tunnel….Is A Train.”

In my case it’s not a train – it’s a 1953 Maverick Sportster.  And it’s coming at me quick!

Ever since Rick and I found the Maverick Sportster in Wisconsin, disassembled and separated from it’s West Coast heritage, we’ve been hunkering to put it back together.  It’s just the darn car is so damn big!  Starting this project really makes me want to get into “quarter-midgets” and not full size fiberglass sports cars – but that’s just a fleeting thought gang, so don’t worry.

Finding The Big Orange Moose:

Back a couple of years ago, we made a special trip to Wisconsin to pick up the behemoth, and bring it home to Tampa, Florida.  No small feat, I assure you, and I think we burned several hundred gallons of gas in our economy box truck that got 6 miles to a gallon – on a good day – getting it home.  And we took out a mailbox in Indiana too (sorry ‘bout that Indiana…).

Ah....The Scenic Plains Of Wisconsin - With Two Orange Meese (Mooses?) Reposing and Relaxing In The Sun.

Anyway….

When Rick and I initially left the barn where the Maverick had laid disassembled, we were amazed at what we had found.  One big, giant, glamorous, hunk of a fiberglass sports car.  And more “orange” than any “orange” I’ve seen in Florida – and that’s saying something gang!

We got a few miles down the road with Maverick in tow, and lo and behold but what did we find – the legendary “Orange Moose Bar & Grill.”  The Maverick had died and gone to heaven.  We had to stop and see the place and take some pictures too – and it didn’t disappoint.  Checkout the photos in the gallery below gang – The Big Orange Maverick looks great with the Big Orange Moose.

Fast forward to this weekend…

Getting the chassis ready for mounting the body took some time, but this past weekend we were ready to go.  Recently, you found out about our “Moving Day” which took quite a bit of effort to pluck the body from the garage (conveniently located at the farthest point back and behind all the other cars), so last week the Maverick body and chassis were reunited at my house – at least they were placed just mere feet from one another. 

Now we just had to figure out how to get the body – on the chassis.  This is a very heavy body, gang!

From Left To Right: Ryan, Chris, And Ben Stand Ready To Take On The Challenge Of The Big Orange Moose.

Lighting Strikes Twice:  Enter Alden Jewell:

But let me digress….

I’ve pointed out many times how fortunate we are to have such wonderful resources here at Forgotten Fiberglass.  Recently, good friend Bob Cunningham put me in touch with Alden Jewell – and what a “gem” of a guy Alden has turned out to be (sorry for the pun, Alden). 

Alden has a cache of Maverick Sportster history unlike any I’ve seen before.  He’s already sending me copies of materials to use in stories on Forgotten Fiberglass about the Maverick, and I’m very excited to share these with you in the coming months. 

Alden even has original signage from “Maverick Motors” – created and used when the car was on display in the early 1950’s.  If there ever was a “Maverick Historian”…. Alden’s our man.  Look to see his collection of materials shared here as we continue our restoration of our Maverick Sportster over the next 1-2 years.

The Lifting Begins:

So…Ben volunteered to find a few of his friends to help us reunite the body and chassis, and I promised food, beer, chips….wine, women, song – about anything to get as much help as we could to lift this nearly 17 foot long body off the ground.  We estimate the body weighs about 350-400 pounds.  So Ben arrived with friends Chris and Ryan in tow, and the lifting began.

Stage 1 Complete - Body Is Over Rear Axle And On Its Way To The Second.

First we had to off-load the Maverick body from the trailer – then spin it around facing the correct direction.   Next we had to roll out the chassis and prep it to receive the body.  Finally, we did our best to stress and strain and heave the front portion of the body over the drivetrain and mate it near the front mounting points. 

You’ll notice there are no pictures of anyone lifting.  Well….I was cameraman and lifting person – I can only do one thing at once, so I did my best.  Plus it was raining just a tad outside – to make the entire experience a bit more fun.  Never a dull day here at Forgotten Fiberglass Central…

Anyway….

Things went very well and no one was hurt – my only criteria for measuring how well things go. 

Ben inspected the mounting points and it looks like we may have to shorten the frame rails a bit to more readily mount the body forward and aft.  And of course, we’ll have to create the entire mounting system for the body/chassis too.  We’re planning to do so by lifting the body up about 2 feet higher than the chassis – with 4 x 4’s – then we can get access to the necessary areas of the chassis.  We don’t want to pull the body off the chassis ever again – if we can help it.  When the mounting system is built and ready to go – we’ll drop the body down and make the necessary adjustments.

Stage 1 Complete: The Body Awaits Ben's Handiwork To Begin To Mate To Chassis. We Call This "Phase 2" And It Begins This Week.

Pull the trigger of the starter gun gang…the restoration of the Big Orange Moose has begun!

Summary:

So phase 1 is done and that’s the placement of the body on the chassis.  Phase 2 will begin later this week as we begin creating the mounting system for the entire body and look to check and make sure all clearances and mounting pads meet required specifications for our restoration.

Meanwhile, I encourage each of you to come to Tampa Florida and visit my home as often as possible.  You never know when there’s going to be “a body to move” so bring your work gloves and your muscles.  I’ll supply the beer and food – and maybe wine, women, and song – if you’re lucky.

Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…

Glass on gang…

Geoff

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Comments

Return of “The Big Orange Moose” – The Maverick Restoration Begins — 6 Comments

  1. Congrats for the project Geoffrey!

    Me too been a longtime fan of Mr. Jewell’s vast collection of automobile printed imagery on Flickr.

    Is the car going to be Orange? Would look so good in Emerald Gren Metallic as well…

    Best
    Dan

  2. Hi Dan…

    Great to hear from you and thanks for your comments.

    Orange – probably not. And green’s been done before.

    I have some ideas….want to do a rendering of the Maverick? Could be fun 🙂

    (and I need to finish the Victress with you…

    Best..

    Geoff

  3. Geoff, congratulations on bringing the Maverick out into the sun again. It never ceases to amaze me how you’re able to find these important, lost vehicles. I’m glad Alden was able to hook you up with some helpful information.

    • Bob…thanks for the kind words and support. You and I still have that missing black and white “Kurtis Comet” design picture to find.. *wink*

      Thanks again for introducing me to Alden. He’s a great guy and we’ve talked many times since our introduction.

      And keep the comments coming on our site 🙂

      Geoff

  4. Hi, aldens name keeps popping up/ Maybe you could invite him to call me as i have not talked to him since rick left us. i have a long list of ?s and stories to relate. I lost all of his contact info a long time ago. you know before backing up the computer seemed like a good thing. At least it would be nice to hear from an old friend James

  5. You didn’t, by chance, find a St. Christopher Medal glued to the dash board of this Maverick, did you?

    Back in the mid 1980’s, I worked for a guy named Tom Garross, in Woodinville, WA. I was in the reserves also, and was being sent to California for 2 weeks of training. Tom asked me to drive down a pickup and trailer and retrieve his uncle’s Maverick in San Jose. I thought this a n odd request until I saw the car. I picked it up and trailered it back to Washington for Tom. It was a fiberglass bodied mid 50’s Maverick.

    I was told that the particular car was built for “factory speed trails” and that the rear bumper was filled with lead. (Did not verify this) I did see a St. Christopher Medal glued onto the center of the dash board. (Fit with the speed trials I guess)

    The car was off white and chalky (aged fiberglass), with a Cadillac V-8 and an automatic transmission (?!).

    I also remember that each hub caps had a large spectacular bronze figure of a cowboy riding a bucking bronco. My neighbor tried to steal the hub caps.

    I seem to recall that the interior was red vinyl (worn) and that the windshield was slanted in reverse (top forward) much like a 50’s speedboat, but that was about 30 years ago so do not quote me on the interior and windshield.

    Tom also related to me that his uncle (who was a partner in this business) was made wealthy in the 1970s, when Ford started making the Maverick. His uncle sued for trademark infringement. Ford settled out of court, paying a few dollars for each Maverick Ford made.

    i contacted Tom recently and asked him what ever happened to that Maverick. He stated he had sold it, but doesn’t recell where it went.

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