What is a Twister Special Mustang?

Twister Special Mustang
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What is a Twister Special Mustang? Did Ford actually make a Mustang by this name?

Twister Special

In the late 1960s Ford offered two special regional-edition Mustangs to dealers: California Special GT Mustangs in California and the High Country Special Mustangs in Colorado. Ford’s reasoning behind these special-edition Mustangs was to help boost sales in those regions.

Well, in late 1969 Ford once again offered up a special-edition Mustang, this time to dealers in the Kansas City area. These 1970 Mach 1-based cars were named “Twister Special.” In all, only 96 of the Mustangs were ever produced. The 1970 Twister Special Mustang featured Grabber Orange exterior paint along with custom “Twister Special” graphics (installed at Ford’s assembly plant in Kansas City). Ford debuted the Twisters at their “Total Performance Day” on November 7, 1969 at Kansas City International Raceway.

Originally all Twister Special Mustangs were to feature 428 Super Cobra Jet engines beneath their hoods. Unfortunately a shortage of these engines resulted in half of the cars receiving 351 Clevelands. Buyers had the option of selecting from either a manual or automatic transmission.

These days classic Twister Special Mustangs in good condition have been known to bring upwards of $100,000 at automotive auctions. For instance, a Cobra Jet powered Twister Special sold for $107,000 at a recent Mecum auction (Lot# S133.1). The car had 9,635 original miles and sported a C6 automatic transmission as well as a 3:91 traction-lok rear axle and a factory drag-pack.

In addition to the classic 1970 Twister Mustang, Ford also offered Twister Special Torinos and a Ranchero Twister.

As the years passed, Ford decided to pay homage to the original Twister Special Mustangs by producing ninety (76 hatchback/14 convertible) 1985 GT Twister II Mustangs in October of 1984, all based on the Fox-Body design.

At the time, Ford said in a press release, “On November 7, 1969, a Twister hit Kansas City Ford dealers' showroom -- and was a smashing success.  Now, 15 years later, the Twister returns. The 1985 Twister is a Mustang with a 210-horsepower V-8 engine, 5-speed manual transmission and special exterior trim.” Ford added, “It is an exclusive, limited Kansas City special edition car and Ford dealers already have taken orders for one-third of the scheduled production.”

In 2008, R&A Motorsports, in collaboration with Ford, once again offered a Twister Special Mustang. As with the original release, a total of 96 late-model S197 Twister Special Mustangs were produced for sale in the Kansas City area.

Sources: Ford Motor Company, Twister Special Registry, 1982-1993 Mustang GT Registry, R&A Motorsports, Mecum Auctions