In the 1970s, American Luxury Cars Were Bursting With Velour and Velvet
The 1970s were an awkward time for America—in fashion, in hair styles, and yes, even in car interiors. In the 1970s, velour and velvet were popular because it fit into the idea of what was luxurious at the time.
Like many trends in the car biz, the velour interior craze didn’t simply fall out of the sky. It was driven by the times and technology. As materials and manufacturing processes advanced, by the early 1970s the textile industry had developed durable, low-cost polyesters with a plush, velvet-like look and feel. And now, suddenly, velours were everywhere: in men’s and women’s fashion (remember men’s suits in velour?), home furnishings from drapes to sofas, and yes, even automobile interiors.
Velours were used in every imaginable color by the Motor City’s interior designers, and in a variety of patterns. In the 1970s, the maximum-luxury look often included puffy pillow-top cushions with deep, soft button tufting. This was the standard upholstery, with a leather-vinyl combination available at extra cost.
As the velour era crested, the rococo theme in cockpit design eventually gave way to more conservative and restrained approaches. Indeed, the auto industry’s velour era never totally went away. In far more muted form, we can still find velour-like fabrics in use here and there today.