Maverick Sportster

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Tom Chandler's 1953 Maverick Sportster of Elkader, Iowa. In August of 2023, Chandler's Maverick was shown in the "American Dream Cars of the 1950s" class during the 2023 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The class celebrated unique, limited-production cars built by remarkable individuals. These cars were designed and built in garages or local shops, not by big corporations. Photo courtesy of Roy R. Sorenson.

The Maverick Sportster was a Fiberglass bodied Sport Custom designed and built by engineer Sterling Gladwin. Only seven boat-tail speedster Mavericks were built during the years 1952 to 1968. In addition to that, an unspecified number of body shells were also built. In 1968 Maverick Motors closed down due to lack of funds.

The body weighed 210 pounds and was mounted to a modified Cadillac Eldorado frame. The wheelbase of the modified frame measured 128 inches. The car was powered by a 331 cubic inch Cadillac motor.

The dashboard was equipped with a combination of instruments from Studebaker and Mercury.

The first car produced was Gladwin's personal car. This car was built on a 1940 LaSalle chassis featuring a Flathead Cadillac engine. Since the first car was a design study, it was built without doors, hood or deck. Louvered, removable access panels were mounted on the fenders allowing access to the engine. Anything further than that required tilting the body on a rear hinge like a Funny Car. Before Gladwin built the second car, he modified the first one and gave it a hood and permanent body mounts. The first car was also later updated with an Eldorado engine like the rest of the cars. Each of the seven mavericks produced had unique features such as no doors, one door, taillight style etc.[1]

For a while Gladwin's personal car the only known Maverick Sportster around. The car was owned by Fred Roth who acquired the car in 1995. When Fred bought it the car had recently undergone a budget restoration and it was drivable. In 2003 Fred started a full restoration of the car. After four years of intensive work Fred brought his newly restored car to the Amelia Island Concours. At that show Fred's Maverick won first in class against 11 other entrants.

Geoffrey Hacker owns another Maverick Sportster. Geoff found the car in Wisconsin. The Maverick Geoff found was mounted on a 1953 Cadillac chassis, and was powered by a 1953 Cadillac engine. Geoffrey currently knows about 3 Mavericks, his own, Fred Roth's, and another body.[1]



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