Two-tone paint enjoyed widespread popularity in the 1950s and a minor resurgence in the 1970s. Vinyl roofs haven’t been available from a factory in several years and yet, perplexingly, they remain common in certain regions (e.g. Florida) as a dealer/aftermarket option. But do either look good on any cars from the modern era?
My first thought was the first-generation LX Chrysler 300 thanks to its chunky, slab-sided, squared-off design. I scrolled through AutoTrader and Craigslist listings, finding the typical hordes of 300s festooned with Pep Boys fender vents, imitation Bentley grilles, that daft chrome window trim, and giant, tacky, chrome wheels. Here’s a 300 with a rather ratchet vinyl roof. Still, the 300 pulls off a vinyl roof better than, say, a Lucerne or Five Hundred would.
But can anyone tell me even a Town Car or DTS – two of the more common recipients of vinyl roofs – look better with one than without?
I’m reluctant to criticize somebody’s baby that they probably spent a lot of money on. And applying a two-tone paint job to a 300 still looks better than on, say, a Taurus. That being said, the world of customized 300s sometimes appears to be one where good taste goes to die. Considering the number of Rolls-Royce grilles, weird fender spats, and, yes, even flames that I’ve seen on LX 300s, this two-tone paint job is hardly egregious. Unfortunately, these paint jobs almost always expose the curves of the design. Car bodies have been smoothed out at the edges so much and flow more harmoniously from roof to sides and even the boxy 300 is far more slippery than, say, an old Fifth Avenue. Still, this Green Hornet tribute is one of the better paint jobs I’ve seen.
Buick publicized a collection of modified Buick Lucernes for the 2006 SEMA show and a couple of them used two-tone paint. I want to hate this but it actually highlights the Lucerne’s fairly crisp lines, although the wheels and front bumper valance need switching out.
Of course, Rolls-Royces can still convincingly pull off the two-tone look.
Maybachs were less convincing but still, I wouldn’t kick it out of my garage.
While cars are just as curvy today – and possibly more so – as they were in the 1990s and 2000s, the current trend towards sharp, aggressive feature lines and creases could make two-tone paint a feasible design choice again. Maybe. But vinyl roofs? Blech, no.
What are your thoughts?