1-of-8? 1970 Ford Torino Cobra Twister Special

Update 8/27/20 – After almost a year since we last featured it, this Torino has remerged here on eBay!

From 11/26/19 – While there is no disputing the fact that Ford produced 90 examples of the 1970 Torino Cobra Twister Special, there are a few questions regarding just how many of these cars remain in existence today. Barn Finder Pat L spotted this rare manual Twister for us, so thank you so much for that Pat. It is located in Springdale, Arkansas, and has been listed for sale here on craigslist. The owner is asking $68,500 for this muscular Ford classic.

Like its cousin the Mustang Mach 1 Twister, the Torino Cobra Twister was built in limited numbers for its Kansas City Ordering District. All of the Torinos were finished in Calypso Coral, with the distinctive Twister graphic on the rear quarter panels. The paint looks to be in really nice condition, although it isn’t clear whether this is original, or if the Torino has received a repaint at some point in its life. The graphics also appear to be good, while the external chrome and trim is all present and accounted for. One non-original item on this car is the wheels because the vehicle should sport a set of steel wheels with hubcaps and trim rings. Having said that, this isn’t the first Torino Twister that I’ve spotted with these wheels, and they don’t look too bad. However, I would probably be inclined to at least attempt to source the correct items to preserve the original appearance.

Powering the numbers-matching Twister Special is a 429ci Cobra Jet V8, pumping out 370 healthy horses. The power finds its way to the Traction-Lok rear end via a 4-speed close-ratio manual transmission, while interestingly, the car features no power assistance for either the steering or the brakes. Now we get to the crux of what potentially makes this car special. As previously stated, there is no disputing the fact that Ford built 90 examples of the Torino Twister Special. These were split into 60 vehicles fitted with an automatic transmission, and 30 that rolled off the line with a 4-speed. The owner claims that this particular car is 1-of-8 known manual Twisters in existence today. There is a possibility that this figure is accurate, although various sources suggest numbers as low as 5, and as high as 13 cars. I went and had a look at the Twister Registry, and it didn’t provide me with a lot of help. At present, they only show a total of 10 Torino Twisters on the Registry, and of these, only 2 are manual versions. It’s worth noting that the pair includes this particular car. My personal belief is that any potential buyers will really need to undertake some careful investigation in an attempt to confirm the correct figures.

I get the impression that the Twister’s interior trim might be original, and while it isn’t perfect, it still looks okay. There is some damage to the seat on the driver’s side, and I’d really like to get a look at what is hiding under the tape. If the damage is not too bad, then a good upholsterer might be able to undertake a “blind” repair. This would maintain the car’s originality but would have to look better than what is currently there. The carpet is also showing a bit of wear and fading, but unless the next owner is fixated with a faultless presentation, I would be inclined to leave it as it is. The remainder of the interior trim, the dash, and the pad, all present very nicely.

This Torino Twister Special is a car that is going to require some homework by potential buyers in a bid to confirm the owner’s claims regarding surviving examples. Regardless of which figure you would feel inclined to believe now, there is one thing that is almost certain, and that is that there are less than 30 manual examples roaming around our streets today. I really doubt that they will have achieved a 100% survival rate. I guess that the big question has to be just what this car is actually worth to the right person. With such a limited production run, these don’t come onto the market that often, and when they do, they are almost always automatic versions. A nice automatic went to auction last year and fetched over $45,000, while there is a completely dismantled car for sale at present in need of significant rust repairs. That one can be yours for a cool $32,000. With this one being solid, clean, and largely original, I tend to think that the pricing is pretty fair.

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Comments

  1. Snotty

    Love everything about this car, except the many dead President’s it would take to own.

    Like 43
  2. Retired Stig

    I don’t believe I’ve ever said this on BF before, but 60-65k seems reasonable to me. Fair price for a very special car!

    Like 15
  3. MorganW Morgan Winter Member

    Wow, interesting car. Always loved this body style, Dad had a ’70 Torino GT with a 351 4-V. I think this car is a little overpriced. The Twister Special is just a regionally available dealer-installed graphics package. I wouldn’t give an extra cent for it.

    Like 15
    • andyp

      Are you sure it was dealer installed? It’s listed on the Marti report

      Like 2
  4. Troy s

    Fearsome Ford, without argument. I doubt if many survived even after five or six years, maybe less. Nice ride.

    Like 15
  5. Frank Sumatra

    Wasn’t there also a “Twister” Plymouth/Dodge product in the 70’s ? Apparently this may have held its value a little better.

    Like 9
    • Pete inPA

      Plymouth offered a Duster Twister option package from 1971 to 1973. It was an appearance package, nationally advertised and available. Insurance companies had wised up regarding muscle cars so Plymouth offered this 340 look alike that came with a slant 6 or a 318 but no 340. Dodge offered a similar Demon Sizzler package.
      Only reason I can imagine Chrysler and Ford didn’t lawyer each other to death over use of the Twister name is that the Ford package was regional.

      Like 2
    • Ken

      There was a Plymouth Duster Twister in 1971. Same graphics as a Duster 340, but it came with either a slant six or a 318. There was a Dodge Demon Sizzler for ’71-’72 that was basically the same car without the 340.

      Like 5
    • Del

      Duster Twister, but do not think it came with a 340

      Like 2
    • PatrickM

      I thought they were Dusters.

  6. JoeNYWF64

    Is there any special UNIQUE TWISTER equipment other than the decals?
    Can you tell from the VIN this is a Twister?
    If not, what’s to stop someone from just buying those decals for a torino with that motor?
    That steering wheel is fine for a big LTD or luxury torino with wheel covers, but not on this car, or on a Mach 1, IMO.
    A tachometer should be standard – not sure if there is one here.

    Like 5
    • Lynn Dockey Member

      Do like my wife. Shift when the engine gets loud! My mother on the other hand wanted to get the speedometer to 55 before she would shift.

      Like 4
      • stanley kwiecinski

        Rebuild a lot?

        Like 5
    • Ranco Racing

      The steering wheel is large due to no power steering.

      Like 7
  7. Gaspumpchas

    Joe NY the tach on these is in a pretty inconvenient place, down under the speedometer, next to the steering column. Would be kinda hard to be hauling @$$ in a straight line while watching the revs!!! Not sure about the twister package making it worth more $$$ . Beautiful Torino—would love to rip it thru the gears one time!!!
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 8
  8. Timothy Phaff Member

    Do you know Steve at West Coast Collision on Clinton Ave, Rochester NY?
    I think I bought a snowblower from you last summer…

  9. Del

    I am not a Ford guy.

    But one of these might change my mind.

    Its a rare and great looking.

    Like 7
  10. Fred Alexander

    Not a Ffffforrrrrd (have trouble with that word ) guy either but I’d give it stable room if i had the $$$$$ – – – but not necessarily the asking price – – – trim it by about $10K – – that might what it ends up selling for – – – unless someone really gets the hots and has deep pockets – – – still have a bit of tweaking to do on it.

    Like 2
    • Del

      Agree. Don’t ask south of 60 grand with tape on the seats

      Like 7
  11. TimM

    It is a Jem!!! What a great car!!! Not much more to say but…..WOW!!!!

    Like 2
  12. David Culver

    Its a pretty neat car, but there are so many other cars I would want more for that kind of money.

    Like 8
  13. Lynn Dockey Member

    too bad the world didn’t know about storm chasers back when this car was made, ford could’ve sold 3 times as many just in tornado alley

    Like 2
  14. Grant Smith

    Rare car not many held up to the test of time. I had a 1970 Torino Cobra in 1974 429 thunderjet good for 360 hp had blacked out hood with deck knobs ( not pins) but no hood scoop the same interior as this car with auto on column no tach but deluxe am radio with rear speakers and fader control this was in Oregon no twister pack witch means nothing it was just a regional gimmick.

    Like 3
  15. Timmyt

    There is another one in Iowa 429 4 speed not registered it is in a collection same man has the mustang counterpart “twister version” 429 4 speed

    Like 3
  16. kellyramsey

    Thats why they made automatics,…so the car does the thinking for them!

  17. jimmy the orphan

    ford made a pacific north west car in the early 70’s. Green,yellow,red & blue with the black hood 428,429 stripes and what not. 4-spd. auto trans. I went out with a gal that had the forest green one with the 4spd, manual. It would run with the other fords,chevys, morpars AMX ect. of the time. Fact is I’m not a ford guy but I don’t think Ford changed the running gear between L.A and Seattle ! LOL. They made stickers for 8-to say 20 twister cars. Bottom line cool cars and lots of fun. Lets keep it that way.

    Like 2
  18. local_sheriff

    Is it sitting on drop springs or is this the stock ride height for a ’70 Torino…? I knew about the Mustang Twister but the Torino ditto was new to me. Very cool model indeed wearing desirable colors and sweet options.

    But at suggested $ it must be destined for a hardcore Ford collector who has an underground vault with one of every frickin’ Ford made apart from a stick ’70 Torino Twister… and probably own an auto version already…

    Like 1
  19. Caltizer Member

    I owned A 1972 Plymouth duster twister with a 340 4speed it was green with white stripes flat black hood with the emblem of a twister on both rear quarters I bought it in 1973 had it until 1975 wish I still had it

  20. Keith

    Wonder what the smog system would cost to put back on this car.I think for the money a very nice rare car.

  21. MorganW Morgan Member

    Great way to mess up a Cobra!

  22. Cadmanls Member

    Worked at a full service Shell station back in 71, customer had a yellow 70 with the 429 and 4 gear. As I remember Tach was left side under the speedometer. Small horizontal deal that was impossible to drive by. Yeah I drove it more than once. Yep full service station, customer come by, ride to their place bring the car back and service it and call and return it. Was a different time.

    Like 3
  23. Jim

    Most likely never had smog junk on it from the factory. So you would not be putting it back on. You would just be installing the choking kit for no reason.

    • Keith

      Had smog on all 1970 cars. Kits available now can be made functional or non-functional.High end restoration always have them and can bring thousands to the bottom line for factory correct cars.This is a car it needs to have it on. Make it right

      Like 1
  24. K. R. V. Member

    I remember a Torino that looked exactly like this one back in 1978, a friend of mine I worked with for my Dad, that found what he said was a very rare performance car, mind you this was back at the beginning of all hope lost for performance cars, when gas had shot to over a dollar a gallon and you could not give these cars away. I distinctly remember the “Twister” decal on the rear quarter, plus there was another small one with a production number on it mounted in front of the passenger on the dashboard. I also remember seeing what I have always thought to be the cheapest factory tachometer in any car, to the left of the steering wheel, down below the speedometer just over the headlight knob. But the car sounded freaking amazing, with the hot cam low rpm idle. However he had gotten the car for a song! Due to the fact there was so much Rust/Rot, it could not pass inspection! Plus being unibody and rusted so bad there was no way you could hammer the crap out of the car out of the hole and speed shift it up through the gears without twisting the car, or actually ripping something out! He bought it to restore, till he jack it up to put jack stands under it to see exactly how bad it was, when the third jack tore right up through the bottom of whats called the chassis box? The spot you are supposed to put any lift mount under. So I believe he ended up with a very good running 429 Cobra Jet , close ratio 4 speed and 3:92 posi rear! He offered it to me, but I was not into Fords.

    Like 1
  25. Ronald Thompson

    1972 Plymouth Dusters you could get with a 340 V8. My cousin had one canary yellow with bench seat and automatic transmission shifter on the column.

  26. JoeNYWF64

    I’m surprised more people did not buy the sister cyclone car & order the optional tach avail for IT – though maybe it’s too far to the right? …
    http://www.hemmings.com/stories/article/1970-71-mercury-cyclone-2
    On the other hand, 1 could skip ordering the fact tach on the torino & just mount an aftmkt one on the left where the optional clock would be.
    For race track durability & lightness, the late 1/2 yr cousin non hardtop falcon would be the ticket.

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