DFHC 9/8/2011

Ask Cool Daddy Flips His Wigg

Dear Cool Daddy: Back in the late 60s, the cartoon characters (Super Bee, Meep! Meep!) and the weird colors (Plum Crazy, Tor-Red, ManGo) were one thing…but what was up with Mopar’s Mod Tops?  …from Sky, in Topanga Canyon

Dear Sky: Outa sight, man. Yup, that vinyl roof option was about as close as the auto industry got to embracing Flower Power…and when you consider we were now 2 years out from 1967 and the Summer of Love, the hippie motif, if not the lifestyle per se, was becoming predictably mainstream…I mean, even the Brady Bunch wore wild bells and called everything “groovy.”

Actually, the Dodge Dart Swinger might qualify too…with that cheeky little logo. But the Plymouth Mod Tops…and Dodge’s corresponding Floral Tops were as petaluminous as they dared to get. Here’s an ad from November, 1968…early on enough that this trim option as yet had no official designation…Pop prints, mod tops, you name it. 

There were several varieties…937 Barracudas got the yellow, 1637 Satellites the blue…and over at Dodge, a total of just 218 Darts, Coronets, and Super Bees were ordered with a more cartoony design. These were offered for the 1969 model year, with an estimated 84 Cudas spilling over into the 1970 model before they pulled the plug…a total of about 2876 in all.

With Plymouth, you could get the roof, or the interior, or both…Dodge, just the roof.

And eventually, badges and decals came along…notice the “Mod Top” top left incorrectly accompanies a normal pebbled vinyl roof. The actual Mod Top material was not textured…

And if it occurred to you that these resembled your grandmother’s shower curtains or plastic table cloth…guess what? That was the day job of the company that supplied the Chrysler Corporation with the material. I kid you not.


But here’s the way-out kicker to the story…the 1971 Imperial Mod Top! The story is that for the 1971 model year, the Chrysler Imperial was offering dark shades of vinyl roofing to match the body paint…and last minute, they decided to include the Sparkling Burgundy Metallic. It was only offered for a few months in the Fall of 1970. Over the years, this plastic has faded to reveal…well, it certainly isn’t any of the actual Mod Top patterns. Speculation among Mopar mavens is they had some material intended for the Mod Top option, and when that was cancelled due to lagging sales, they decided to use it up by applying a dark enough overprint so it wouldn’t show…d’oh!

don’t trust any shameless plugs over 30…

Podcasts at http://stolfpod.podbean.com  and   http://thewholething.podbean.com

Other Daily blog at http://stolf.wordpress.com  (the legendary Stolf’s Blog)

More bloggage at  http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com  and  http://www.examiner.com/retro-pop-culture-in-watertown/mark-john-astolfi

Resume at http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com/p/resume.html

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