Vinyl roof v painted roof

Fuselage Years

  1. bollotti

    bollotti Active Member

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    toying with the idea of painting roof rather than replacing vinyl. Was a vinyl roof a more desirable option back in the day?

    I am trying to visualize what a painted roof would look like on a coupe, or would it look too large a painted area i.e. vinyl roof breaks up mass of color.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. polara71

    polara71 Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    Im certain a painted roof was optional. By the early 70s the style was a vinyl roof.
    I prefer no vinyl or color variation, rather body color. However being a purist I prefer how each particular car left the line. So, if it were me I'd replace the vinyl with correct vinyl.
     
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  3. swisherred

    swisherred Well-Known Member

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    Im actually going with a painted roof...but Im not a purist either. Mine will be black...possibly with a lace paint panel to break it up some but tie it into the body color. The vinyl just lead to too much rust in hard to fix areas...but so did the trim. Its your car...do what you feel is right for yourself.
     
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  4. FURYGT

    FURYGT Senior Member

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    My former 68 VIP factory painted roof car.

    Left rear 051217.JPG Right front 051217.JPG
     
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  5. Don Stolfi

    Don Stolfi Member

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    The '72 Polara that I ordered new did not have the vinyl roof...it was an option. I preferred the painted roof, so saved a couple of $, too!

    IMG_2189.JPG
     
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  6. CBODY67

    CBODY67 Senior Member

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    Multi-colored cars had been around for decades, reaching their peak in the middle '50s with tri-tone (three color areas, with possibly three different colors!), but settled back into the two-tone variations by the earlier '60s.

    Ford had used some deep-grained vinyl roofs on T-birds in the earlier '60s, as other cars had the normal vinyl roofs we're used to seeing by 1967. A few years later, there were more installations of the optional vinyl roofs. Some middle-'60s New Yorkers had vinyl inserts on their C-pillars only (usually 4-dr hardtops.

    After waxing the roof of our then-newer '66 Newport 4-dr Town Sedan, I decided that when I bought a car, it would have a vinyl roof (easier to put protectant on with a sponge than to apply and polish wax off of the painted surface!). So, as it turned out, my '70 Monaco DH43 had a factory vinyl roof, which I liked for both the ease of putting protectant on it (rather than waxing paint) AND the additional quietness of the vinyl damping any vibrations from the roof panel.

    As things progressed, though, there were various opinions of how to best "keep" the vinyl looking nice and soft. Some said "just plain soap and water" as others used some sort of protectant (ArmorAll was the first one, I later used the STP Son-Of-A-Gun for its more satin sheen), but the protectant excess was known to wash off (onto the paint, not hurting it, but needing to be wiped/rubbed off).

    On the '67 Newport, when I got it in '81, there was already some signs that something was going on under certain areas of the factory white vinyl fabric. In those areas, the vinyl was harder, but in other areas, it was still soft enough my fingernail would compress it. It got softer with the protectant on it, though. But whatever had already started was continuing, on an area on the front edge and at the lower rear corners (CE23) of the back glass.

    There were some kits to apply a "reasonable facsimile" spray-on vinyl top (as the '68 D-100 pickups could have, factory). Looked more like rubberized undercoating sprayed on, or "textured tar", to me. I guess the compound contours of the rear of that truck cab weren't easy to glue the vinyl onto?

    At this point in time, I think that whenever I replace the top on the Monaco, I'll just repaint it in the same color as the vinyl top was, using the existing color-divider moldings for color separations (the normal practice in the normal two-tone cars). Then apply some sort of insulation above the fabric headliner for sound/'temp control. Have to consider what type to use, though. In general, the older cars were NOT as well sound/temp insulated as the current cars are, so there's some improvements that can be made in that area!

    As for paint, I think I'd used the normal OEM acrylic enamel with hardener on the basic car, then possibly add some light coats of clear on the "top" itself (to help the shine and keep it that way longer).

    The vinyl tops were an upscale option which made the cars look classier and better, to me. But knowing how many other "corners were cut, underneath on the sheet metal of the factory vinyl top cars, my orientation has changed a bit. As paint and car waxes have improved a good bit since the middle '60s! Plus sound/temp insulation materials, too.
    .
    As for the vinyl fabrics themselves, the OEM vinyl top fabric from as late as the 1974 models, was a fabric with a much thicker backing on it. The '75+ OEM fabrics AND all repro items have what was termed "gauze back", as it was physically thinner than the earlier OEM fabrics. I was shown that difference at a trim shop in the later '70s. A very visible difference in the backing, with the vinyl itself being a bit thinner too, but not by much.

    NOS kits? probably mostly gone a good while back, I suspect. Which means that all you can get now is the thinner-backing fabric. With good care, it can last a good while, too, I suspect. I also suspect that if anybody uses it to replace an existing top, the car will generally be garaged rather than sitting out all of the time, too. At this point in time, main issues would be "accurate color and grain" for the particular vehicle, as what is now available is all we can get, as far as I know.

    Just some thoughts and observations,
    CBODY67
     
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  7. Wildaugust

    Wildaugust Senior Member

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    As much as I like the look of the vinyl top, especially on the '69-'71 Chrysler coupes (my car), I would be hesitant to re-install one after doing bodywork. They really are rust promoters. Not being a purist either, (although I can certainly appreciate a nice original car) I am leaning toward painting my roof black or very dark green with some kind of lace effects. I do like the trim that separates the roof from the body and would like to keep it. I think you would need that trim if you paint the roof a darker, or different, color than the body.

    You can always install a vinyl top over a custom painted roof if you decide to sell.


    I have also considered painting the whole car one color, but am not sure whether to leave that trim on with a solid color. :confused:

    There used to be a '70 or '71 Newport coupe around here with a dark blue painted roof and a lighter blue body. I'm pretty sure it was factory paint, the car appeared to be a survivor.
     
  8. rapidtrans

    rapidtrans Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    I believe the main reason for the rust under vinyl tops was the pretreat process back then. Cars weren’t fully submersed the the elpo and phosphate stages. That and a vinyl top car didn’t didn’t usually get more than a prime coat above the beltline.
     
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  9. bollotti

    bollotti Active Member

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    Thanks for the replies . The 72 Polara does look good with just the single color.
     
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  10. thrashingcows

    thrashingcows Senior Member

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    My old 70 Sport Fury was a factory FP6 Frosted teal metallic paint with a white painted roof from the factory....very nice combo, so my vote is to paint the roof in another colour other then the main body colour.
     
  11. bollotti

    bollotti Active Member

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    did it keep the chrome trim separating the colors?
     
  12. 300rag

    300rag Grumpy Old Man With a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    Yes it does.
     
  13. CBODY67

    CBODY67 Senior Member

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    ALL two-tone paint schemes used a "color divider" molding, whether it was just the roof or if the two-tone was on the side of the car. EXCEPT for the '77-era Caprices which used a solid pin stripe tape to cover the paint edge of the two-tone combination on the side of the car. In any event, if there was a bare paint edge it was at the rear tail light area and/or under the headlights (as many GM cars did in the middle '50s), with moldings covering the other edges.

    Just some thoughts,
    CBODY67