The Landau Roof
In the 1970s and the 1980s, the landau top was a popular, yet confusing design style. But, the original use of the word landau is quite different. It was originally a reference to a carriage and the term is still used in the United Kingdom when referencing the royal carriages. In the 1950s, the Nash Rambler actually came with a removeable landau top that slid back from the windshield and stowed away in the trunk. If you drove past the Rambler with the landau removed, you might not even notice because of the unusual look. Later, the landau was a style design that took the place of the C-pillars in the rear of the car. In the 1970s and 1980s, the landau top became synonymous with a fake convertible. These were some of the cars that wore the landau top with some sort of pride:
Lincoln Versailles: You might not know this 4-door sedan, but the fact that it is named after one of the best known royal palaces gives you an idea of what Lincoln was hoping to create. This car only lasted for three years and sold fewer than 50,000, it was obvious that the people were not supporting this car. With wire wheel covers, the extra-tire hump in the rear, and the velvet-like landau top, the Versailles attempted to go high-class, but buyers didn’t bite.
Mercury Cougar: This car was a muscle car through and through, until you chose to get the houndstooth check vinyl landau top. Mercury tried to sell this car as a wild car with elegance, but few bought. This Mercury Cougar was loving named the XR-7 and it seemed to introduce the era of unattractive cars rather well.
Plymouth Barracuda Mod-Top: As if the Barracuda was not cool enough, Plymouth and the Mopar designers decided to make it “mod” by putting a floral or paisley landau top on it. This dichotomy of design confused many who wanted the muscle car look without grandma’s table cloth on top. Now, if you can find a Mod-Top (there are fewer than 100 still around), you have yourself quite a collectible.
Chevy Monte Carlo: In the 1970s, the Monte Carlo with a landau top and opera windows was the definition of smooth. If you were lucky, you even got to have t-tops for the ultimate in style. It was better yet if you could find a Monte Carlo is harvest gold or avocado green.