Looking to get back into drag racing, Kendall Collins wanted a Maverick like his father had, and when the owner of that car wouldn’t sell it, he found another one and built it into the wicked-fast street car you see here.
When Collins was a teenager in the 80s, he began visiting the drag strip with his father who was racing his Ford Maverick. Eventually, Collins himself made his first passes down track in his first car, a 1970 Mustang coupe that he traded for a 429-powered Ranchero. He piloted a number of cars after that, and gradually went quicker and faster with each one.
“In the late ‘90s, the 10.5-inch tire, heads-up street car class had blown up and I was hooked on doing that, so I built a 10.5-inch tire Fox-body Mustang,” Collins said. “I didn’t race it but a few times locally. I got my son into racing BMX and Motocross and that was the end of my drag racing for a while. When my son was 18, he finally decided he wanted to pursue other things other than motocross so at that point, I’m like, ‘OK, it’s time for me to build me a car to play with.’”
In 2013, Collins found this 1970 Maverick on Craigslist and spent the next two years working on it, but at one point quit and almost sold it, as he grew tired of working on it and not being able to enjoy the fruits of his labor. After playing with a couple of other cars, he eventually got back to working on it, though.
In contemplating the Maverick’s powertrain, Collins passed over the Coyote as it was still too expensive at the time and procured a 5.4-liter DOHC Navigator V-8 engine.
“I had been out of drag racing for about 13 years, and it was mind blowing that people were using stock parts and making that kind of power,” Collins said of Ford’s dual overhead cam Modular engines. “It really drew me in. With the Navigator motor, you could get them pretty reasonable and make big power with them.”
Collins equipped the Navi engine with a pair of turbochargers and a F.A.S.T. electronic fuel injection system. He backed the Mod motor with a Turbo 400 transmission built by Jerry Waller and a Cameron’s Converters torque converter, and swapped in a Ford Explorer 8.8 rearend with 4.10 gears and a Strange Engineering 35-spline spool and axles.
With an engine combination like that, there was going to be some big horsepower to handle, so Collins and Daryl Waldrup shored up the chassis with a full roll cage, and Collins added an Anthony Jones Engineering K-member and Viking front…