Vinyl roof refers to a
vinylcovering for an automobile's top. This covering was originally designed to give the appearance of a convertible to models with a fixed roof, but eventually it evolved into a styling statement in its own right. Vinyl roofs were most popular in the American market, and they are considered one of the period hallmarks of 1970s Detroit cars. Vinyl roofs were also very popular on European- (especially UK-) and Japanese-built cars during the 1970s, and tended to be applied to sporting or luxury trim versions of standard saloon (sedan) models
Vinyl roof could also refer to a
polyvinyl chloride( PVC) roofing membrane used in commercial construction. Vinyl roofing membranes have been around for over 40 years in the U.S. and longer in Europe. The British Board of Agreement states that certain vinyl roof membranes "should have a life in excess of 30 years." Vinyl roofs are also the only type of commercial roofing product that has an active recycling program in place.
The above styles were all used by more than one manufacturer. Two others were unique to one company or nearly so:
*Ford in the late 1970s installed both the "landau and canopy" styles on one vehicle. On vinyl-equipped 1977-79 Thunderbirds, two separate vinyl areas existed, one starting at the base of the windshield pillars and extending back to the trailing edge of the front side windows, and another starting at the base of the rear window and coming forward as far as the leading edge of the rear side window. These were separated by a targa band of sheet metal in the middle of the roof, which swept down at the sides to form a thick sedan-like pillar on the sides. The opera window was mounted in this pillar and was surrounded by sheet metal, not touching either vinyl area. Three pieces of glass were mounted on each side of these cars; the Fairmont Futura had a very similar style, differing only in not using the center opera window. A comparable two-piece roof covering was available on the
AMC Pacerthat emphasized the bump in the roof that accommodated the roll bar over the passenger compartment.
*Chrysler had a design for its large and intermediate coupes in the mid to late 70s that was often called "up and over." These cars all had opera windows, and the vinyl extended to only a couple of inches behind the opera window rather than all the way to the rear window as with a full vinyl treatment. The line of the vinyl then turned upward to run over the top of the car, leaving a margin of sheet metal almost like a roll bar sticking up at the very back of the roof. No one else used this style.
Car body styles
Issues for collectors
Many 1960s and 1980s cars will have vinyl, and most 1970s ones. Vinyl surfaces are not as durable as sheet metal and are prone to sun damage, so can fade, crack, or become ragged. The trim around the top can trap water and cause rust, and this can percolate under the vinyl, where rusting even to the point of metal perforation can occur. The only exceptions would likely be cars from a dry climate which were well maintained and kept garaged. Replacement of a vinyl top can be costly, even leaving aside repair of any rust damage. For unusual vinyl grains and patterns, an exact replacement could be impossible to find.
* [http://www.julesverne.ca/jaguar/xjc.html Jaguar coupe]
* [http://www.seriouswheels.com/1960-1969/1967-Pontiac-GTO-Hardtop-Red-Black-Vinyl-Roof.htm Pontiac GTO]
* [http://www.mooresmopars.com/modtops.html Mod Top owners picture page]
* [http://www.imperialclub.com/Yr/1971/Paisley/ Mod Top Imperial]
* [http://www.firstgenfirebird.org/firebird/FAQ/body/vinylroof_trim.html Pontiac Firebird vinyl tops - removal & installation]
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