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May 12, 2019

Remembering the Mod Top: Amazing Flower Powered Top Car Designs From the 1960s and 1970s

Back around 1966, Sixties counter-culture iconography was being injected into the everyday, infusing society with a collision of postmodern DayGlo colors, earth tones and psychedelically styled designs. And flowers–lots and lots of flowers. Most of these floral designs may have been a bit too loud on a Formica counter or trusty old Thermos, yet one particular print looked right at home on the top of a car. Counterculture became mainstream.

Like most cars of the day, the Barracuda was available with standard solid-colored vinyl top options, but the flower-power Mod Top was something more, at least in the “wow” department. Sure, it was little more than a marketing ploy, but at least the Chrysler folks had a sense of humor, and the guts to do something completely different.

In 1969, Chrysler added to its brochures one of the most eye-catching and bizarre options ever, the result no doubt of the cultural upheaval going on in America and the psychedelic flair of the times. From the get-go, the Plymouth Mod Top and Dodge Floral Top options were intended to attract women buyers to the showrooms.

And although this option wasn’t the success Chrysler thought it could be, it did cement Mopar at the top of the list of the most flamboyant fashion statements made by any of the Big Three during the rebellious ’60s.

Plymouth Mod Top cars were available in several combinations. The Mod Top with a floral interior was the most popular selection. One could also have a Mod Top with a standard color interior, or a regular vinyl top with a floral interior. There were also rumors that you could get a Barracuda convertible with a floral interior, though no example has been found. In order to get a floral interior in the ’70, you had to order a bench seat.

Dodge dropped the radical vinyl top option after the ’69 model year, which left Plymouth alone with a Mod Top monopoly for the new decade. However, only the new Barracuda would be available with the hippie vinyl on its roof. The ’70 sales figures were on the low side, with less than 100 buyers checking off the option. The rather masculine lines and aggressive stance of the new Barracuda just wasn’t the right vehicle for the female-oriented vinyl top.

The 1960s were a time of tie-dyed shirts, the flower-power movement, along with automobiles that symbolized our culture in a Mod Top sort a way. For these reasons and more, the Mod Top models will always be a part of our automotive heritage.



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