It was new for 1972. No, not the Rapid Transit System, the Duster Twister. OK, maybe it wasn't a rapid means of transit, but Plymouth touted the idea of hiding its friendly demeanor (compared to the Duster 340) in a comparable wrapper. From the outside, it looked as high-performance as the Duster 340 versions, but to the insurance companies, the available Slant Six and 318 powerplant options were perfectly acceptable.
Aside from the entry-level engines, the Twister received a special hood performance-paint treatment as well as the fun little Twister moniker on the rear quarter-panels and tailpanel. It's scary to think that Plymouth's foremost selling pitch for the Twister was that it may look sporty, but insurance companies like it.
The story of this Twister begins with Marvin Wente of New Bremen, Ohio, strolling into Gaiers Garage in Fort Loramie, Ohio, in December 1971 to place his order. He was trading in his '65 Plymouth Fury, the first car he bought when he was in high school. Marvin settled on a Duster, and since he was ordering what he wanted, he decided the outside should be FY1 Lemon Twist Yellow (remember when you could order it the way you wanted?). The interior would be white and black with bucket seats and the deluxe option. Tunes would be the old standby-AM radio only. When Marvin checked the appropriate boxes for the drivetrain, he decided on a 318 engine connected to a three-speed tranny-with a floor shifter-and an open, 3.23-geared 831/44 rear to round out the package. When the fateful day in February 1972 arrived, Marvin took possession of his Duster.
The Twister served Marvin well for several years, providing trips to the store and daily commutes to work. No matter what, Marvin's Duster was everything he needed in a car. Then, in 1977, Marvin sold the car to another gentleman, who used it frequently, causing its physical well-being to suffer.
In April 1996, Marvin was approached and asked if he would like to buy the Duster back. He again took possession of the ill-cared-for Duster and parked it in his garage for a while before beginning the resto, which he knew would take a serious amount of work. The Duster needed new rear framerails, inner and outer wheelhouses, both front inner fenders, quarters, a taillight panel, one new front fender, both doors, and a complete trunk floor.
Some guys would have passed on the project, but not Marvin. His hunt for parts landed him a $200 parts car that had the framerails, inner and outer wheelhouses, door striker and surrounding area metal, and both front inner fenders. Next, he found a set of N.O.S. quarter-panels, an N.O.S. right fender, and trunk extensions. The aftermarket supplied the trunk floor, and he got the doors from another car.
After locating all the parts he thought he needed, he began the restoration in 1999. Marvin is like most Mopar enthusiasts-he wanted to handle the resto himself. "It didn't matter how long it took," he says, "just as long as I was satisfied with the result." So, many nights and weekends were spent in his shop behind the house. All the required sheetmetal was replaced, and what wasn't replaced was smoothed of its age marks. He then covered the body in the original shade of yellow, and Performance Car Graphics supplied the side and rear stripes. A new vinyl top was procured from Harden's Musclecar Parts and installed-also by Marvin.