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Author Topic: 69 Penske vinyl roof  (Read 4978 times)
Shadow Ahead
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« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2012, 12:22:40 PM »


At the time there was a lot of speculation as to why the vinyl tops were on the Penske cars. People suspected lots of different reasons. I think one of the stranger hypotheses I've heard was that the vinyl top covered up tiny holes which released air pressure from inside the car. I don't think I have heard anything about a lowered roof but bondo and paint can cover up welds as good as any vinyl top can. I believe Mark Donohue was the one who stated that the vinyl tops were to cover up wavy roofs because the bodies of the two team cars had spent a little too much time in the acid tank. Yes, a normal unibody structure would suffer a lot from too much acid dipping and the roof does strengthen the structure of the body. However, don't forget that these cars had complete roll cages which attached to various parts of the chassis such as the front subframe, the rocker panels, the rear frame at the suspension pickup points, the side panels just aft of the door openings and it was also welded to the inner roof structure in a number of different spots. This is what became the birdcage type of frame for the car which was much stiffer than any unibody car, especially one without a B pillar behind the door, could be on its own.

Eventually, during the 1969 season the protesting of the vinyl tops got to be so much that Penske did have to have them removed and my understand is that the wavy roofs were cut off the cars and new roofs were rewelded in place, sans vinyl. It is a good thing, since Penske's cars finally started winning races with the vinyl tops off the cars and they went on to win the Trans-Am championship that year, making it two in a row.

The author that mentioned the holes in the vinyl roof was being hypothetical,  theorizing on a what if for what advantage a vinyl covering could provide. As it is if Mark stated in his book that they dipped the bodies than that is probably a key reason for putting vinyl on About 13 or so years later the theory of relieving aerodynamic air pressure was evident on World Superbike championship motorcycle fairings. Secondary benefits would be as Penske stated. The cars sure were noticed. Vinyl roofs would make the roofs look the same for little relative effort. And both men were being factual. Wink
Last thing, vinyl is way lighter than metal, and probably equal in weight to the weight lost by dipping. The main idea though, is the solution to the waves was cheap, fast, and simple.
S A
« Last Edit: April 01, 2012, 01:15:10 PM by Shadow Ahead » Logged
Jon Mello
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« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2012, 06:44:57 PM »

Since we are talking about the Penske vinyl tops, I guess we should at least have a picture.  Cheesy

This picture below is of Donohue's car at the first race of the '69 season. If you compare it to the ad
below it, you will see that they made no attempt to copy the top and trim the way the factory did it.


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Jon Mello
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Shadow Ahead
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« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2012, 07:06:53 AM »

Whaddya talkin about? The vinyl's black ain't it? Grin

S A
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Sixteen Grand Sedan #56
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« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2012, 11:46:54 AM »

The coverage area of the top on the Penske car is different than on that of the production car. The production car vinal top extends below the back window yet stops short of the drip rails on the side.
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Robert Lodewyk
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« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2012, 04:07:28 PM »

   I remember Richard Petty's  Plymouth Road Runner having a vinyl roof about the same time in Nascar. I may have a photo in my archives
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2012, 09:31:17 AM »

Mark, here is some info on the Richard Petty car you are talking about.
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Jon Mello
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JoeC
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« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2012, 07:55:43 AM »

interesting triva Richard Petty ran the 1968 Daytona 500 with a mystery black top Roadrunner

quote from a NASCAR site
"It's become folk-lore that the car had a vinyl roof. That's not the case. It was textured black paint. Call it the golf ball theory of aerodynamics. The "pockets" in the textured paint were supposed to capture air, which would allow the passing air to move more efficiently over the car at speed. Think about it as air sliding against air, instead of air sliding over the sheet metal."

During the race, the roof began separating from above the windshield frame.

Some said it was acid dipped or aluminum roof 

They duck taped down to finish the race

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