First-generation Ford Mustang Mach 1 models are highly sought-after American classics, and the ‘Twister Special’ variant adds an extra layer of rarity and desirability.

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The Origin of the ‘Twister Special’

In the 1960s, Ford’s Special Promotions Division introduced limited-edition models that paid tribute to specific regions, like the High Country and Ski Country for the Colorado market, and the Cardinal Edition in North Carolina. Fast forward to 1969, where a Detroit-based real estate developer named Lawrence LoPatin had grand plans to use high-spec Mach 1 Mustangs as pace cars and promo cars for multiple racetracks across different states, managed by his company, American Raceways Incorporated (ARI). Over 100 Mach 1s were commissioned for this purpose, but due to ARI’s financial issues, the contract was terminated.

Ford’s Special Promotions Division had to find a solution. They attributed the project to the Kansas City District Sales Office (DSO 53), which had already requested a series of territorial specials. This decision led to the creation of the ‘Twister Special,’ a unique edition that would become a collector’s dream.

The ‘Twister Special’ Mustangs

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Ninety-six Mustang Mach 1s, along with 90 Torino Cobras and a couple of Rancheros, were designated as ‘Twister Special’ and distributed to Ford’s Kansas City district, covering Kansas, Missouri, and the Northwest region of Arkansas. Initially, the plan was to equip all 96 units with the potent 428 ci Super Cobra Jet engine, but due to production constraints, only 48 received this powerhouse. The other 48 were fitted with the new four-barrel 351 ci Cleveland V8, generating 300 horsepower.

1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Twister Special getting auctioned off
1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Twister Special getting auctioned off


**1. Why were these Mustangs called ‘Twister Special’?**
– The name ‘Twister Special’ was associated with the project due to the tornado-like turbulence that ensued when American Raceways Incorporated (ARI) faced financial troubles. Ford’s Special Promotions Division had to swiftly find a solution and rebranded the project.

**2. What were the distinguishing features of the ‘Twister Special’ Mustangs?**
– All ‘Twister Special’ Mustangs featured Grabber Orange paint, Mach 1 grille and graphics, Twister Special graphics, dual side mirrors, a rear spoiler, rear window louvers, dual exhaust outlets, and 14” wheels with G70-series Goodyear Polyglas tires. They also came with power steering and power-assisted front disc brakes.

**3. How many ‘Twister Special’ Mustangs with the 351 ci V8 were made?**
– Only 39 ‘Twister Special’ Mustang Mach 1s were equipped with the 351 ci V8 and paired with a three-speed automatic transmission.

**4. What is unique about this particular ‘Twister Special’ Mustang Mach 1?**
– This specific ‘Twister Special’ Mustang Mach 1 is one of the 39 that were fitted with the 351 ci V8 and a three-speed automatic transmission. It stands out with its Grabber Orange color and other distinctive features.

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**5. Is this car in mint condition, and how much is it worth?**
– While this car is a collector’s dream, its value might be impacted by the fact that it has already clocked 87,000 miles. However, it is still a valuable and sought-after classic, though it won’t come cheap.

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