Why did they stop making cars with vinyl tops? (luxury car, Buick, Cadillac)
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I have seen them on models in higher numbers as late as the 1990 Caprice Classic Brougham and 1991 Ford LTD Crown Victoria.... also some of the 90s Cadillac Fleetwoods had them. After that, most of the cars that had other those "carriage" like tops. Like someone else said, styles change... with todays new car styling, vinyl tops would not really seem to fit the look well.
Vinyl tops hit their peak in popularity in the entire decade of the 1970s and part of the 1980s. Mostly the upscale cars had the vinyl tops, but it was optional on cars even like the Buick Electra, Mercury Marquis, etc. Even the 70s Cadillac Calais models (base Cadillacs, it was not available), but I think it was standard on the next step up DeVille.
Yeah, rust is more common under the tops of vinyl top cars... water/moisture tends to loom under there, causing rust concerns.
My 1973 Pontiac Grand Ville has the optional vinyl top (its been replaced with a newer top), but I am taking it off this year, because I have noticed some rust bubbling up under it! I will probably end up just painting the top to match the car after I repair the rust.
Wasn't the vinyl top optional on the Deville? I always believed it was optional on the late 1960s Deville's
Not all cars looked bad with vinyl tops. Some muscle cars like Chevelles and Chargers I think looked good with them. But no I dont wear polyester or have an afro or sideburns or mood rings or them dang smiley faces like on Dazed And Confused.
I've never seen a fully finished(seams filled and paint glossy)top under a origional factory vinyl top. Most were only semi finished. However, working at new car dealers in '69-'74, it was a popular option to dress up plainjanes or as a dealer offered incentive on a deal. The Pontiac dealer I worked at from '69-'71 offered them on anything, including a Firebird style that covered not only the top but the entire trunklid as well. Along with the vinyl tops came aftermarket, dealer installed porthole windows in the fat 1/4's of things like LTD's and Grand Prix's. Just about every new Grand Prix we sold had a vinyl top either factory or installed in the bodyshop.
They are notorious for trapping moisture, rusting underneath or becoming the ultimate "spoiler"...flapping in the wind as you drive down the road.
And of course, if you had to have a vinyl top......you had to get the landau bars with lights in 'em too......
The ultimate was of course the Chrysler 5th avenue fiberglass cap over a standard sedan roof!
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