The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by T-Head, Jul 9, 2013.
Plymouth for 1932 offered the Plymouth roadsters and PB coupes that obviously had chopped tops from the factory. HRP
I have always been under the impression that chopped tops originally were to cut down on wind resistance back before the H.A.M.B. police told us driving fast is dangerous. Now its for looking cool... I wana look cool too.
I think he's talking about factory "chopped tops".....I could be wrong though.
The big three automakers here are still doing it.....it sells cars.
[better looks over better function I guess].....Camaro/Challenger/300 Chrysler/Ford Taurus/ among others are slightly but noticeably chopped over their previous models...
I also heard shorter skirts helped sales in a down economy..... so bring it on!
Can it really be considered a chopped top if it came from the factory that way?
I know I don't.
I would think yes,,or call it a low top,,they were noticeably different and could have been the catalyst that sparked the idea of chopping tops,,both for visual appearance and as a aide to reducing the drag coefficient,,ie. cheating the wind! HRP
The chopped top did not originate from the factory. This look was done by various coachbuilders working with individual chasses. They recognized, as would Harley Earl, that the lower top makes the car look sleeker and longer.
Additionally in the case of the Ruxton, the Cord and the Bucciali, these cars looked lower because they were front wheel drive which allowed the body to sit lower on the chassis.
At least by 1917.
There we go. I prefer the "low top" term.
When I hear "chopped top" I akin it to lowering the lid. Thus if the lid is lower to begin with it's not "chopped".
And all these new cars just look like they have a mild chop. But it's just a "low top".
Totally agree with this, ''Chopped'' denotes a change from as built from the factory. A lowered profile as factory built is IMHO no different than say a coupe is to a sedan. Just a different factory design variant. To put it in the same class as what we have come to understand as a traditional ''chop'' is a dis-service to everyone who has labored hard to enhance the look of a factory design.
I would have to say that even a custom built Deusenberg and others that rolled from a coach builders shop are not examples of what the OP was originally wondering.
Heck, Volvo built a sporty version [lowered profile] of their 240 series sedans but again its not what my mind considers chopped.
As stated earlier its my opinion and am guessing that even in the teens as soon as someone started racing an old jalopy windscreens were lowered.
Chopped indicates "Changed" to me...
It it is stock, it ain't Chopped, just a lowered design...
Again,,the top on a 1932 Plymouth PB coupe has a lower profile top than the 1932 Ford 3 window coupe,,as far as American made autos Plymouth was,IMHO,one of the first to offer a lower lid. HRP
1932 Plymouth,stock top
1932 Ford,stock top
I think HRP is onto something. Real chopping (modifying) started when Ford owners got a look at the much sleeker looking 32 Plymouth!
I'm sorry Ford guys, but Henry Ford could be a stodgy old cuss and didn't always keep up to the changing times.
Hey, HRP, I have always assumed that chopped tops came from the boys who raced, either at Bonneville, or California's dry lake beds. Anyone concur ?
I don't notice any big difference between the Plymouth and Ford of 1932, but there is considerable difference between the two cars in 1933-34. However, it appears the Mopars of those two years have doors which are higher between the bottom of the window and the bottom of the door, thus having a smaller window, and looking chopped compared to the Fords. Does this make any sense, or am I still hallucinating after all these years ?
I have always thought the same thing dry lakes or Bonneville followed by the custom car guys. Anyone know for sure??
Knowing 2 people that have the a fore mentioned cars and ridding in both I can assure you there is a difference.
Anything can be nit picked.
As far as when hot rodders started chopping tops it's probably more subjective,,probably young men returning from service with their experiences working on planes,tanks,jeeps and other means of transportation and wanting to experiment with speed,,some one decided to cut the top off a car to make it look more like a roadster,,,remember coupes were for chickens.
Possibly somewhere down the road a guy found a top and added it to a coupster and due to the top being crudely removed excess material had to be removed to get it to fit,,instant cool,,then the car was ready to cheat the wind.
This is purely hypothetical,,might have traces of truth,,may not. HRP
A chopped car is absolutely one that has been modified after it's original manufacture to either improve the visual lines of the car or in the case of racing to improve aerodynamics.
A car from the factory or coach built, regardless of the height of the roof is not chopped. It left the factory that way. There was never any "chopping" done.
Chopped tops pre-dated WWII by a large margin. The California dry lake beds pre-dated Bonneville as far as racing went, too.
I'd have to go with sometime in the Thirties on a dry lake bed. Remember too, the first hot rod club started back in 1932 in Southern California (the Outriders).
T-Head, really don't see how you're ever going to solve this, comparing Plymouth designs to Ford designs is ridiculous at best. One has less glass area but it doesn't make it a low top. If its a factory design you're searching for then you need to compare designs from an individual car maker not two different design groups. I'm sure if I was using HRP's logic on this one that I can find that the British Ford of the days glass area is smaller and therefore the first example. However that would be just as wrong as his example. Now if say Dodge , for example , had offered 2 versions of the same car and one had as delivered a lowered roof line thereby reducing windshield dimensions then it could be the ''low-top'' being searched for. Ford had 2 different windshields in 57, but even that doesn't meet the criteria you're looking for as the Fairlane and Custom platforms while sharing many parts were definitely offered as different but similar designs.
My 2 cents
There is an older thread on hamb that a hamber had the correct info on a "mass chopping" of 1200 unsold new cars in the mid 1920s, to make them more stylish and to get them sold.
As I recall it was E.L.Cord that was hired by a off-brand car maker to sell the unsold 1200 sedans with dated styling. He sent the cars back through the plant to have them all chopped...and they did sell after that.
..and I doubt that was the first chop ever...there must have been more before that.
Don Lee Cadillac in LA had a guy by the name of Harley Earl in the 20's designing an sending bodies off to Murphy n Pasadena. did a lot of work for the Hollywood set often with very swoopy, for the times, bodywork. General Motors recruited Earl for design...Art & Colour Section, the La Salle is his baby. LA builders we already at it when Du Vall and Frank Kurtis built the first Du Vall windshield for the Southern California Plating delivery truck, more a chopped sedan delivery 1935 or 1936. Both Du Vall and Kurtis worked at Don Lee for a time
Du Vall built his first "chopped" windshield for the So Cal Plating delivery truck in '35 or '36 LA cars had a different style Probably why Harley Earl was recruited to GM in the mid 20's he came from Don Lee Cadillac and designed bodies often built by Murphy in Pasadena for Hollywood clients
In the early days of car making you could order a custom made body of any design you wanted. Some of the European coachbuilders made some very low, rakish closed cars in the twenties and thirties but this was not a "chopped" top, they were built that way from scratch.
The oldest pics of a chopped top custom I have seen were from the early 30s. I am referring here to a production car chopped by an amateur or a body shop, not a custom coach builder. Frank Kurtis rebuilt several used cars into customs with chopped tops and other mods, before he even had a shop of his own.
It was the Auburn company E.L. Cord was involved with. He was hired to market several hundred unsold Auburn sixes in the early twenties. I believe they were all open touring cars, the most common body style then. He sent them back to the factory to have the tops lowered, fancy 2 tone paint jobs applied, and dressed them up with some bolt on accessories. Then he raised the price $200 and spread a rumor that Auburns were in short supply and hard to get. They sold out in a few weeks.
The Ruxton front drive began as an experimental show car built by the Budd body company. They were specialists in pressed steel who made bodies, wheels, chassis etc. for various companies. The front drive car was built as a publicity stunt. It used a Budd body made in England for the Wolseley company, adopted to a very low front drive chassis Budd built in their experimental shops.
Frank Kurtis' customized 28 Model A roadster with chopped top built in 1930.
Hell no! That makes it stock!!
My thoughts exactly!!! Cuts a smaller hole in the air....thus free speed!
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