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Vinyl Tops

By Leona Jean

Sales of vinyl-topped cars hit a peak in the Super70s. This bit of marketing genius received an especially warm welcome in places like Arizona, where you couldn't park your car in the sun for fear the vinyl would bake on so tight that it would split in a thousand places. Though it took years for this to happen to most cars, it eventually managed to give such cars a uniquely-designed top with little curling pieces sprouting up all over the place. Groovy!

Some of the vinyl tops that weren’t glued on very well at the factory and would get an air-hole near the front. As you drove your work-of-art down the road, the wind whistled through it and the top lifted like a balloon, making the roof look like it was ready to lift off!

A problem is also an opportunity and many do-it-yourself vinyl top repair kits began to appear. Some unfortunate souls decided they'd save the $2.99 and fix their tops with home-made remedies. Some decided they could fix their vinyl tops with - you guessed it - glue! The glue would get hot and sticky in the sun. When it came undone all the little bugs, leaves and other debris would stick to the sprouts making for a real piece of art. At least one person thought honey would keep the top from cracking any further making that car perhaps the largest Chia Pet in the world (and a very popular car among bees)!

Not to be outdone, others tried to paint the vinyl top in hopes that the paint would hold the sprouts down. Then when they drove down the road, they had sprouts with flaking paint blowing off the roof. Others tried to scrape the vinyl off completely giving their cars a permanent bad hair day. They usually managed to take most of the paint off with the vinyl. Without the paint, the top would slowly rust. Instead of flakes of paint blowing off the roof as you drove, you had rust blowing off.



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Typical vinyl top (on a Ford Mustang) shown during the Super70s.

Image courtesy of NARA

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