Flower Power: Dodge’s Rare ‘Mod Top’ Cars | Steve Lander Auto Group


 

Back in the late 1960s and 1970s, a number of car manufacturers tried to catch the eye of the Flower Power generation by offering ever-weirder automobile option packages. Maybe the weirdest of all, however, were the rare, flower-bedecked “Mod Top” cars offered by Chrysler and Dodge in the late 1960s and early 1970s. We’re all about classic Mopars here at Steve Landers Auto Group, and with Springtime soon to break out all over, let’s dive into the history of the most flowery and psychedelic Dodge and Plymouth cars ever!

Designed to appeal to those smitten with the flowery, psychedelic design of many album covers and haute couture fashions of the day, the Mod Top option, available starting in the 1969 production year, was a series of three wild, flowered vinyls that could be ordered to substitute the single-color exterior vinyl tops found on many higher-trim Dodge and Plymouth cars. Named for the wildly colored “Mod” fashions that were then taking the runways of Paris and Milan by storm, each Mod Top car was fitted with a small, polished aluminum badge just behind the rear quarter window on each side, featuring the words “Mod Top” in a Superfly late-1960s font. Inside, some but not all Mod Top cars featured seat covers and door panel inserts in the same wild floral pattern. A very few cars were ordered with a standard one-color vinyl top, but with the floral interior seats and door panels.  

Intended to appeal especially to younger female buyers, the Mod Top option was offered on most of the era’s most stylish Mopar products in 1969 and 1970, including the Plymouth Barracuda and Satellite, and the Dodge Dart, Coronet and Super Bee. The three patterns included a black and yellow floral pattern used on 1969 and 1970 Plymouth Barracudas, a blue and green floral pattern used on 1969 and 1970s Satellites and Barracudas, and a green, gold and light blue pattern used on 1969 Dodge Darts, Coronets and Superbees. Amazingly, there was also at least one 1970 Dodge Daytona -- the Charger-based, aerodynamic “wing car” then terrorizing NASCAR and the high-banked ovals of racing -- that was fitted with a Mod Top from the factory.

Even for psychedelic era, the Mod Top cars proved to be a little too wild for most buyers, and the option was an unmitigated flop at dealerships. Though records are incomplete, the best estimate is that under 2,900 Mod Top cars were built by Dodge and Plymouth, with rumors saying some dealers resorted to stripping off the flowery tops and replacing them with more boring single color vinyl when the cars languished on their lots unsold. Still more Mod Top cars were undoubtedly retrofitted to single-colored tops by subsequent owners after the Flower Child aesthetic wilted and became stale in the 1970s and ‘80s.

Today, only a handful of Mod Top cars are known to exist, with a Mod Top registry of surviving models -- available online at www.mooresmopars.com -- including only 138 cars at this writing. As you might expect, that rarity makes them incredibly valuable to Dodge and Plymouth collectors, with Mod Top survivors commanding high prices when they come up for sale or auction.  

 

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