FORD MAVERICK GETS STAR TREATMENT

Actor Sung Kang leads a team of aspiring engineers in rebuilding the classic car.

By Matt Hendrickson

In a garage in Diamond Bar, Calif., a magical makeover took place. A 1972 Ford Maverick was transformed into a supercar by a team of mechanics and engineers. But this wasn’t an ordinary group. It was led by actor Sung Kang, a star of The Fast and the Furious franchise, along with three high school students—Alexis Hernandez, Tony Chen and Christian Quiroz—who leapt at the opportunity. “For some kids out there, no matter how smart, college may not be the right fit,” says Kang.

The Ford Maverick has a die-hard following among car enthusiasts. “People are obsessed with the Maverick,” gushes Kang. “And I love old, classic American cars. If I were a car, I would be a Maverick.” The three Alhambra students were involved in every aspect of the build—dubbed Project Underdog—from negotiating the sale price from the owner (he wanted $3,000, they got him down to $1,900!) to working in the garage. Every component was removed from the Maverick, leaving just the frame—a blank canvas for the kids to build upon. A new Ford EcoBoost® 2.3L engine was installed and, in homage to the 1974 GT Maverick that was manufactured in Brazil, custom taillamps from the ’77 Maverick and an original center console from the ’74 GT Maverick were added. The new version of the Maverick debuted at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show in Las Vegas on November 2 and will be auctioned off with 100% of the proceeds designated for the furthering of the education of these aspiring automotive technicians.


The new Maverick design built upon the original’s iconic style.

As for Kang, the project was about more than just geeking out in a garage—it was about giving back. “I wanted to share what I love with a younger generation who may never have such an opportunity,” he says. “Heroes are everywhere, not just on the football field. Some are hiding away in the garage.”

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