What Is the Mustang Twister Special?

Don't confuse the Mustang Twister Special with any of the plain-Jane regional special editions released by Ford in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s. More akin to the highly collectible California Special of 1968, the Twister had serious performance upgrades to separate it from the largely cosmetic embellishments offered on contemporary one-offs such as the Blazer Edition and High Country Mustang. To this day, Twister Specials continue to fetch high prices — a particularly well-restored model recently sold for $140,000 in a Mecum auction in Kansas City.

Twister Special MustangA Performance Mustang for Kansas Drivers

A total of 96 Mustang Twister Specials were produced and sold in Kansas-area dealerships for the 1970 model year. Based on the already powerful Mach 1, the Twister Special added a drag pack suspension and either a Super Cobra Jet Ram Air engine or the new 351ci Cleveland V8. The cars were available only in Grabber Orange and featured a black hood stripe and tornado decal. 52 Twisters are thought to exist today, of which only 18 feature the 351 engine.

1985 Revival

The Twister achieved its legendary status almost instantly. It inspired two separate revivals, the first of which was released in 1985. Known as the Twister II, the 1985 version was available as an optional package on any convertible or hatchback GT sold from Kansas-area dealers. The Twister II was offered in white, silver and two shades of red, and it featured special lettering and black hood striping. A total of 90 units were sold — 76 coupes and 14 convertibles.

2008 Revival

The Twister returned again in 2008, this time as a limited edition built by R&A Motorsports. Like the original, the 2008 Twister was available only in Grabber Orange and featured a number of performance upgrades including 20-inch wheels, shaker hood and hood scoop, duck wing spoiler and more. A total of 96 were sold by area Ford dealers. Although less rare than the original, a 2008 Twister recently fetched $55,000 at auction.

Even though the Twister Special is often overshadowed by the better-known California Special, it remains an important part of pony car history and is highly sought after by in-the-know collectors.