1985 Mustang GT Twister II

1985 Mustang GT Twister II decal

1985 Twister II Mustang GT's

 

Table of Contents


Intro - Ford Regional Special Edition Mustangs

 

1970 Twister Special Mustangs

 

1985 Twister II Mustangs

 

How to Identify a 1985 Twister II Mustang

 

1985 Twister II Production Numbers

 

Conclusion

 

Additional Information Needed

 

GMP Diecast Twister II 1:18 scale model

 

Sources
 

 

 

 

Intro - Ford Regional Special Edition Mustangs

In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, Ford and their regional district sales offices collaborated on a bunch of "regional special edition Mustangs". These promotional special editions were typically intended to either reward a sales district for outstanding sales, to stimulate sales in a sales district or to commemorate a special event.

Because they were only advertised locally within a sales district and sold in very limited numbers, little is known about many of these "special edition" cars. While some are fairly well known such as the 1968 California Special (since over 4,000 were produced and sold in a relatively large area), many regional specials are still being discovered and documented to this day (read more about many of these regional specials). While most regional special packages consisted mainly of only badges or decals and special paint colors applied to any standard Mustang, some specials did receive distinctive performance and/or appearance equipment. One such regional special was the 1970 Twister Special out of the Kansas City District.

Over the years, marketing methods changed and Ford’s interest in producing promotional "regional specials" through their district sales offices waned. However some long-time Mustang enthusiasts did not forget the excitement generated by these promotions and, early in model year 1985, some Kansas City area enthusiasts and the Kansas City Ford District Sales Office came up with an idea to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the 1970 Twister Special by issuing a 1985 Twister II Mustang.

 

1970 Twister Special Mustangs

The creation of the 1970 Twister Special is an interesting story in and of itself. Late in 1969, the Kansas City District Sales Office approached Ford about producing some limited-edition high-performance Mustangs and Torinos for their region. These cars would be featured at their upcoming "Total Performance Day" on November 7, 1969 at the Kansas City International Raceway and were to be optioned with the 428SCJ engine (in the Mustangs) and 429SCJ engines (in the Torinos) and a bunch of other performance options. (Due to an unforeseen 428SCJ engine shortage, half of the Mustangs were ended up being equipped with a 351C engine instead although they all received the reinforced shock towers required for the 428 engine.)

Unbeknownst to the Kansas City district sales office, this request couldn’t have come at a better time for Ford. Earlier in the year, American Raceways, Inc. (ARI) had contracted with Ford to design and produce a group of high performance Mustang pace cars and official vehicles for their 5 racetracks across the US (Atlanta, Eastern, Texas, Riverside and Michigan International Speedways). After Ford had already designed and started building the cars, ARI declared bankruptcy and Ford was stuck with figuring out how to cut their losses on the time and money that had gone into designing and developing these cars.

To recoup some of the wasted expense from the abandoned ARI program, Ford decided to use a variation of that styling package for the Kansas City special promotional Mustangs. The side stripes were used but the ARI logos were replaced with Ford Script and Mach I logos and the large ARI racetrack logos on the rear quarter panels were replaced with a large "Twister Special logo". All Twister Special Mustangs were Mach I’s painted Grabber Orange with black decals and the Torinos were painted Vermillion with similar markings. In all, 96 Twister Special Mustangs and 90 Twister Special Torinos were produced and delivered to participate in "Total Performance Day". At the conclusion of this factory sponsored event, all of these Twister Specials were driven to the various dealerships in the district to be offered for sale to the public.

 

1985 Twister II Mustangs

Fast forward to a decade and a half later... the 1985 Mustang GT had just been introduced with a revised 210 hp engine in the 5-speed version (up 35 hp from 1984) and it was already being touted as one of the premier muscle cars of its day - a perfect platform to once again bring back the modern-day version of the Twister Special on its 15th anniversary.  With the encouragement of some long-time Mustang enthusiasts, Ford and the Kansas City district sales office once again collaborated to produce the 1985 Twister II.  A total of 90 Twister II Mustangs were produced in October 1984. 

Unlike the original 1970 Twister Special Mustangs which had many performance options, few comfort options and were all Mach 1 fastbacks painted Grabber Orange, the 1985 Twister II's could be had in both the Mustang GT hatchback and convertible models, were available optioned with creature comforts such as air conditioning, power windows and locks, etc. and could be had in 3 or 4 different colors. While most Twister II's came with 5-speeds (and the 210 hp, 4v carbed version of the 5.0L), a handful were also produced with the automatic (AOD) transmission (which required the 180 hp, CFI / fuel injected 5.0L).

A Ford press release (from November 1984) for the Twister II says:

"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 original Twister was a high-performance version of Ford Mustang and Torino and was an immediate sell-out hit with performance car buffs.  The 1985 Twister is a Mustang with a 210-horsepower V-8 engine, 5-speed manual transmission and special exterior trim.

"This one's going to sell out, too" says Joe Heisler.  "It is an exclusive, limited Kansas City special edition car and Ford dealers already have taken orders for one-third of the scheduled production."

The 15th anniversary of the original Twister and the introduction of the '85 version will be celebrated at a luncheon next Wednesday at the Marriott Hotel at I-35 and Metcalf Avenue, Overland Park, Kansas.

Several of the original Twisters will be on display, courtesy of a local Twisters owners group, along with the '85 models.  Members of that group and area Ford dealers will be honored at the luncheon."

 

How to Identify a 1985 Twister II Mustang

The limited run 1985 Twister II Mustang's were basically standard 1985 Mustang GT's with a decal package applied by the Kansas City District Sales office (DSO 53).  As such, they came with all the visual and performance goodies of the regular 1985 GT's such as 5.0L HO engines (210 hp, 4v carb/5-speed or 180 hp, CFI/automatic), Traction-Lok differentials, special handling package, quadra-shocks in the rear, dual exhaust, exterior GT markings, etc. (see the complete list of 1985 GT features).  The '85 Twister II received no additional performance enhancements over the regular '85 Mustang GT.  Twisters were available with any of the options available on regular GT's including sunroof, T-tops, optional axle, rear defrost, power windows, power locks, etc.

1985 Twister II's came with the following:

  • Exterior "Twister II" decals – consisting of a large set of black stripes with the cut-out words "TWISTER II" running the length of the rocker panel below the rub strip on each side of the car and a smaller black  "tornado with eyes" decal directly in front of each rear wheel (above the embossed "GT" on the rub strip).  These decals were not applied at the factory, rather they were all applied at the Claycomo Ford plant transport lot near Kansas City, MO.
  • Bronze dash plate - this plate reads "1985 Limited Edition TWISTER II, Kansas City District, October 1984" with a running horse emblem/tornado design in the center and was to be placed on the passenger side dash.  Many Twister II's do not have these as the plates were shipped separately to the dealers and unfortunately, it is believed many of them ended up in the hands of salespeople or other dealership personnel as keepsakes instead of being placed on the cars.
  • Alabaster coaster - this reads "1985 Limited Edition TWISTER II, Kansas City District" with a running horse emblem/tornado design in the center.  This was to be given to the new owner of the car upon purchase, however, as with the dash plates, these often found their way into the hands of dealership personnel instead of the new owner.
  • Press package - this featured a press release about the 1985 Twister II and a picture of the Twister II along with the original 1970 Mach 1 Twister Special.  Similar to the coaster, this was supposed to be given to the new owner of each Twister II, but, in many instances, the owners never received one.

An authentic 1985 Twister II must have ALL of the following (in addition to the items described above):

  • DSO code of "53" (Kansas City District Sales Office) - this code can be found on the middle/lower right side of the certification label (aka driver's door tag) - this code can also be found on the original window sticker, owner's warranty card or build sheet if the door tag is unreadable or unavailable.  The "53" DSO covered dealerships in large parts of Missouri and Kansas.
  • Scheduled build month of October 1984 -  this can be confirmed by looking in the upper left corner of the driver's door tag - it should say "Date: 10/84" (note: the "actual" build date such as on the owner's warranty card may be late September).
  • VIN in a certain number range - while the 90 1985 Twister II VIN's are not consecutive like the original 1970 Twister Specials, the last 6 digits of their VINs do fall within a few certain number ranges - the last 6 digits of the VIN must fall in the following ranges 109800-109899, 110300-110399 or 112200-112299. (NOTE - other non-Twister II Mustangs do fall within these ranges so a VIN number in these ranges alone does not positively confirm a car is a Twister II, it should meet all of the other criteria listed also).  The VIN numbers can be found in a number of places on a car and they should be compared to ensure that they all match (for example, sometimes the driver's door is replaced with one from a different car and the door tag would therefore show the incorrect data for the car).  The VIN can be found in the following places:  metal tag on driver's dash at the base of the windshield, driver's door tag (middle of tag) and buck tag (last 6 digits only).
  • Limited exterior paint colors - the vast majority of Twister II's were Jalapena Red (aka Bright Red) (2R), however they were also produced in only three other colors - Oxford White (9L), Medium Canyon Red Metallic (2A) and Silver Metallic (1E) - the original paint color can be verified by checking the code on the middle/lower left side of the driver's door tag - this code can also be found on the original window sticker, warranty card, build sheet or buck tag if the door tag is unreadable or unavailable.

Since Twister II's were a Kansas City Sales District promotional car, there was nothing on the window sticker indicating it as a Twister II.  There are also no distinctive markings on the driver's door tag, buck tag or buildsheet that identify the car as a Twister II.  We have heard that some dealers added their own additional window sticker to mark up the price of the Twister II over the standard GT price (per the original owner of a Twister II convertible, the dealer charged an extra $85 for his Twister II over a regular '85 GT).

 

1985 Twister II Mustang Production Numbers

Only 90 Twister II Mustangs were produced in October 1984.  The table below breaks down the production numbers by bodystyle and transmission:

 

1985 Twister II Mustang Production Numbers
Total = 90
  5.0L 5-speed
(4v carb)
5.0L automatic
(AOD) (CFI)
Totals
Hatchbacks 74 2 76
Convertibles 9 5 14
Totals 83 7 90

 

While other production details are not known at this time, it is known that of the 74 5-speed hatchbacks produced, 12 or 13 were equipped with the optional 3.08 gears. In addition, approximately 25 of the hatchbacks came with T-tops and approximately 10 were equipped with a sunroof.  No Twister Special convertibles were equipped with the optional 3.08 gears.

Although the vast majority of 1985 Twister II Mustangs were produced in Jalapena (Bright Red) (approx. 74 made in this color), they were also produced in a few additional colors such as Oxford White (approx. 14 made in this color) and Medium Canyon Red and Silver Metallic (believed to be approx. 1 of each color).  Of the 14 Oxford White T2's, 3 were made with T-Tops.  Also, 11 of the Oxford White T2's came with the 4v/T5 engine/transmission combo and 3 with the CFI/AOD.

 

Conclusion 

Now that it has been eighteen years since Twister II's were produced, it is hard to say how many of these cars still exist.  At this point in time, we have five 1985 Twister II Mustangs in our registry - three 5-speed hatchbacks, two 5-speed convertibles - all Jalapena Red (Bright Red) 2R.  We have also seen a number of Twister II's in person at various Mustang events around the midwest that are not in the registry and have heard about other Twister II's coming up for sale every so often.  The Twister II's that we are aware of range in condition from rusted out hulks to pristine, like-new cars still in the possession of the original owner.

Since the limited edition 1985 Twister II Mustangs featured no additional performance equipment and offered only small cosmetic changes over a regular Mustang GT, the topic of Twister II values can be somewhat controversial.  Obviously, a pristine, all-original, completely-documented Twister II will command a higher premium over a regular 1985 Mustang GT than a Twister II in very poor condition, but it's hard to say how much higher.  Basically, these cars are only worth however much a seller is willing to pay and how badly they want a car that is not your average, run-of-the-mill Mustang GT.

If YOU OWN a 1985 Twister II Mustang (or if you know of one someone else owns one, find one in the junkyard, run across one for sale, etc.), please be sure and enter it into our registry!!!!  We are trying to get as many '85 Twister II's registered as possible to get a good idea of how many still exist.  Thanks!!

 

Information Still Needed!

1985 Twister II Mustangs - We are still looking for ANY additional information on 1985 Twister II Mustangs that we can get our hands on including:

  • original documentation from when the cars were sold new (such as window stickers, buildsheets, press releases, newspaper articles) AND
  • additional photos (including good exterior photos, good detail shots of Twister II-specific items on these cars, photos of the Twister II introduction).

Other 1982-1993 Mustang regional specials - We are also looking for ANY additional information on any other 3rd generation Mustang regional specials that may be out there.

If you have ANYTHING that would help us out, please let us know!

 

1:18 Scale Diecast Twister II Model!!!
1985 Mustang GT Twister II diecast model press release
We're excited to announce that GMP Diecast has released a 1:18 scale version of the 1985 Twister II!!!  This model is available in both Jalapena Red and Oxford White and is limited to a run of 500 cars each.  To read our review of these models, check out our:

GMP 1985 Twister II 1:18 Diecast Model Review

 

SOURCES

This article would not have been possible without the following contributions:

Robert Greb (1985 Twister photos/ info)
Ron Fields (1985 Twister info)
Mac Krog (1985 Twister info)
Brad Bowling (1985 Twister photo)

AND any other 1985 Twister II owners that have contacted us or registered their cars!!

THANK YOU!! This article would have been impossible without your help.

Other sources:
Mustang Monthly (8/85) article - "Twister Sisters"
Mustang Retrospective article - West Michigan Mustang Club
History of the Twister Special article - Town & Country Toys
Mustang Specials article - Limited Edition 600 Registry
ARI Mustang articles - ARI Mustang Pace & Promo Cars Registry
Various Ford Kansas City District Sales Office personnel

1970 and 1985 Twister Mustangs - Click for a bigger version

1970 Twister and 1985 Twister II Mustang article

Photo of 1970 Twister Special and 1985 Twister II Mustangs (from 8/85 Mustang Monthly article)

1970 Twister Special Mustangs - Click for a bigger version

1970 Twister Mustang

1970 Twister Mustang

1970 Twister Special Mustangs

1970 Twister Special Mustang logo

1970 Twister Special rear quarter panel decal

1970 ARI Mustang info - Click for a bigger version

1970 ARI Mustang advertisement

Advertisement for 1970 American Raceways Inc. Mustang pace cars

1970 ARI Mustang convertible

1970 ARI Mustang fastback

1970 ARI Mustang fastbacks

Various photos of ARI Mustang pace and official cars

1985 Twister II Mustangs - Click for a bigger version

1985 Mustang GT Twister II convertible

1985 Mustang GT Twister II convertible

1985 Twister II convertible

1985 Mustang GT Twister II hatchback

1985 Mustang GT Twister II hatchback

1985 Mustang GT Twister II hatchback

1985 Twister II hatchbacks
(credit for bottom photo - www.bradbowling.com)

1985 Twister II 5.0L engine (5-speed) - Click for a bigger version

1985 Mustang GT Twister II 5.0L engine

1985 Twister II 5.0L engine (5-speed version) - this is the exact same engine found in the regular Mustang GT

1985 Twister II Decals (various views) - Click for a bigger version

1985 Mustang GT Twister II decal

1985 Mustang GT Twister II decals

1985 Mustang GT Twister II decals

1985 Mustang GT Twister II decal

1985 Mustang GT Twister II decal

1985 Mustang GT Twister II decal

1985 Twister II Dash Plate - Click for a bigger version

1985 Mustang GT Twister II dash plaque

1985 Twister II dash plate - supposed to be attached by the dealer to the passenger side dash, but is frequently missing

Other 1985 Twister II Memorabilia - Click for a bigger version

1985 Mustang GT Twister II coaster

1985 Twister II Alabaster Coaster (photocopy)

1985 Mustang GT Twister II press release

Ford press release on the 1985 Twister II

1985 Mustang GT Twister II window sticker

Window sticker from 1985 Twister II convertible (note items marked by arrows on big version)

1985 Mustang GT Twister II certification label

Driver's door tag (certification label) from 1985 Twister II convertible (note items marked by arrows on big version)

1985 Mustang GT Twister II owner card

Original owner's warranty card from 1985 Twister II convertible (note items marked by arrows on big version)