Jerry Heasley
October 20, 2011

Jeff Ashlock feels pretty lucky. He wasn't even looking for a Twister Special.

"A friend of mine called one afternoon to ask if I was interested in a Mustang," Jeff says. "He knew someone who needed to sell a '70 fastback."

Jeff likes to restore Mustangs "on the side" with help from his father, a retired Ford employee. People know to call Jeff about classic Mustangs.

This one, he learned, was a Twister Special, one of the rare Grabber Orange Mach 1s from the Kansas City sales district. The name sparked Jeff's curiosity. He'd heard about them, but had never seen one. Figuring the lead would be "another wild goose chase," Jeff didn't make the call. Also, if it was a real Twister Special, he thought someone else had likely already purchased the car.

With its missing Grabber Orange paint and stripes, the '70 fastback did not resemble a Twister Special.

Finally, Jeff's father intervened. "He told me he would call if I didn't," Jeff says. "He had been reading up on Twister Specials and said we needed to go look right away."

Jeff called and they went to look at the car. Interestingly, the owner, Jerry Pile, who lived about 45 miles away in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, had owned the '70 fastback for nearly 30 years but did not know about its Twister Special heritage until just three months earlier. Pile had ordered paperwork and now Jeff figured there was no way he could buy the car.

Pile's wife posed for this picture when Jeff picked up the car. Apparently, she and her daughter had become attached to the car.

Jeff continued, "We went in the garage and there it sat. Jerry had planned to restore it for his daughter when she turned 16. They had torn it apart and the body was in primer. Somebody must have really hated that Grabber Orange because they had sprayed the doorjambs black."

While Jeff's father talked with the owner, Jeff inspected the '70 Mach 1 and took photos. He noticed orange paint on the taillight panel behind the rear bumper. He lifted the fenders to find traces of more orange. The body was solid with a few patches of rust "here and there." Under the hood was the original 351-4V Cleveland backed by an FMX automatic and a Traction-Lok 3.50:1 in a 9-inch differential.

Despite the paperwork, what really convinced Jeff of the car's originality was the VIN. The last six digits started with 118, correct for a Twister. His research paid off. This '70 Twister was number 118877, the 45th built.

The timing was right for a sale. Pile, a former body man, had health issues and was not able to restore the car at the time. Jeff negotiated a "fair market value," making an offer higher than a regular 351 Mach 1 but less than a Boss 302.

Only 96 Twister Specials were built for '70, each one a Mach 1 in Grabber Orange. Half were powered by the 428 Cobra Jet and the other half were equipped with the 351-4V Cleveland.

With help from his father, Jeff is restoring the Twister Special he wasn't even looking for.