David Newhardt photo, courtesy of Mecum Auctions.
While every muscle car enthusiast knows about the Mustang Mach 1, the 1970-only “Twister Special” version may be unfamiliar to those located outside the Midwest. Mecum Auctions knows its customers, however, and based on its success with a pair of Twister Specials in Kansas City last December, the auctioneers returned with a new pair of regional Mustangs for 2013. Lightning did indeed strike twice in the same location, as both Twister Special Mustangs offered this year again cracked the sale’s top-10 list.In an effort to increase Mustang sales in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Ford offered its pony car in several regional special editions. Those in California received the GT/California Special, those in Colorado received the High Country Special, and in 1970, Ford dealers in Kansas City received the Mach 1-based Twister Special. Available with either Cobra Jet 428 power or 351 Cleveland power, each of the 96 models built (48 with the 428-cu.in. engine and 48 with the 351-cu.in. engine) came painted in Grabber Orange with unique “Twister Special” graphics. Each featured a blueprinted engine and came loaded up with performance options instead of the usual luxury items, though buyers could choose between manual and automatic transmissions.
The 428-cu.in. Cobra Jet V-8. David Newhardt photo, courtesy of Mecum Auctions.
Grabbing the fourth spot in this year’s Kansas City top-10, a Cobra Jet 428 Twister Special with just 9,365 original miles sold for a hammer price of $107,000. Built on October 16, 1969, the car came equipped with the C6 automatic transmission and the factory Drag-Pak option, and included extensive documentation dating to the car’s original MSO, Ford invoice and title. Fresh from a recent restoration, Mecum never described the car as “numbers matching,” perhaps indicative of a former life lived in quarter-mile increments. While the selling price was good enough to be among the sale’s highest, it fell $33,000 short of the amount realized for a similar-condition Cobra Jet 428 Twister Special in last year’s sale.
1970 Ford Mach 1 Cobra Jet Twister Special 1970 Ford Mach 1 Cobra Jet Twister Special 1970 Ford Mach 1 Cobra Jet Twister Special 1970 Ford Mach 1 Cobra Jet Twister Special 1970 Ford Mach 1 Cobra Jet Twister Special
The second Twister Special available to Kansas City bidders this year was a 351 Cleveland-powered example, described as one of 39 built with this engine and an automatic transmission. Also the subject of a recent and thorough restoration, the car was reportedly unearthed in the barn of a Missouri farmer who had owned the car for two decades. As with the Cobra Jet-powered Twister Special, Mecum was also careful to avoid using the phrase “numbers matching” in regards to this Mustang, which hammered at a price of $82,000. That’s a significant drop from the $130,000 price realized for a comparable 351 Cleveland-powered Twister Special during last year’s sale, but good enough to place this year’s car at number six on the top seller’s list.