Introduced during the colorful and free-spirited 1960s, the Mod-Top option was Chrysler’s bold attempt to appeal to a younger audience for its pony cars while also attracting more women into dealerships. With its psychedelic floral design, the Mod-Top was an unconventional feature that set the Plymouth Barracuda and other Chrysler models apart from their competitors. However, despite its daring charm, this unique option was met with mixed reactions and ultimately became one of the rarest and most desirable features among classic car enthusiasts.
The Mod-Top made its debut in 1969 and offered a series of three vibrant vinyl designs that could be chosen instead of the standard single-color padded vinyl tops. Sourced from a manufacturer of heavy-duty vinyl shower curtains and picnic tablecloths, the material featured eye-catching patterns that mimicked the flowery, psychedelic designs seen on popular 1960s album covers. The name “Mod-Top” was inspired by the fashionable “Mod” trends that dominated the runways of Milan and Paris at the time.
Chrysler intended to cater the Mod-Top option specifically to younger female buyers, offering it on stylish models such as the Plymouth Barracuda and Satellite, as well as the Dodge Dart, Coronet, and Super Bee. However, the bold and unconventional design proved to be too much for mainstream buyers, leading to slow sales and limited production.
In total, less than 2,900 Mod-Top cars were built by Dodge and Plymouth over the two model years the option was offered. Many of these vehicles languished on dealership lots, and dealers sometimes resorted to stripping off the colorful vinyl and replacing it with standard, single-color tops to facilitate sales.
The 1970 Plymouth Cuda was one of the rarest of the Mod-Top Mopars, with only 17 units sold, and just one of these cars came equipped with the mighty 7.0-liter (426 cubic-inch) HEMI® V8 engine. While the gold Cuda mentioned in this article may not have a big-block engine, its unique color and drivetrain combination still make it a true gem. Under the hood of this particular Cuda is a four-barrel 5.6-liter (340-cubic-inch) V8 engine, delivering 275 horsepower.
Though it may not boast the same raw power as its HEMI-equipped counterparts, this particular Cuda has undergone a meticulous restoration, retaining its original numbers-matching V8 engine and automatic transmission. Today, this groovy relic from the past stands as a symbol of the adventurous spirit and innovative design choices of the 1960s.
While the Mod-Top option may not have been a commercial success for Chrysler at the time, its rarity and distinctive appearance have cemented its status as a highly sought-after feature among classic car collectors. For those fortunate enough to find and own a Mod-Top Mopar, the flower-powered design serves as a captivating reminder of a unique era in automotive history when manufacturers were willing to embrace bold and unconventional ideas to capture the spirit of the times.
Source: Matt Gause (Gause Garage)