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Unread 01-19-2010, 12:26 PM   #1
jscherb
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"Safari Cab" custom hardtop project.

I've never liked the "inverted bathtub" design of many Jeep hardtops, particularly the 04-06 Wrangler Unlimited hardtops, so for a while now I've had this idea that I'd like to design and build a hardtop from scratch. I've built two hardtops aleady, a full-metal half-cab for my "Retro Wrangler" TJ-based pickup project, and a half-cab for my CJ-based "Gaucho" pickup project, modified from a first generation CJ hardtop. Here are some photos of my first two hardtops and the projects they were part of:



But if I'm going to build one from scratch, I don't just want to build another "me too" inverted bathtub design, I want to build something that really enhances the look of the Jeep. I have always liked the Jeep factory design for CJ-8 and CJ-7 hardtops called "World Cabs", sometimes referred to as "Alaskan Postal" tops, so that's been one of my design inspirations as I've been working on the design for my hardtop project.



I've worked out a design for building a hardtop from modular building blocks, which would enable a similar set of components to be assembled into tops ranging from half-cabs to full-length Scrambler tops. I've also been working on the engineering so these components could be used on CJ's, YJ's and TJ's, with minimal modifications during molding.

I call the design the Safari Cab; here's a concept drawing showing what some of the variants of the design might look like. The pickup cabs look very much like the half-cab on my Retro Wrangler. There are two variants of the roof design for the longer cabs, one is "normal" height, and then there's the "x-roof" with a raised rear section. These concept drawings don't show the different modules that get assembled into the finished tops, only the finished tops are shown.



Here's a comparison with the factory top on a Wrangler Unlimited:



I've been working on the engineering necessary to build these tops in a modular fashion, and the details of managing the differences between the TJ and the CJ/YJ so the parts could be used for both.

With my other builds I've always gotten great feedback here that's helped me finalize my design - at this point I'm trying to more or less finalize the overall look of the Safari Cab tops, so I'd like to hear any comments you've got on the tops in the concept drawing above.

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Visit my Jeep Projects site for info on my custom Jeep projects:
  • Retro Wrangler pickup
  • Gaucho CJ pickup
  • Safari Cab custom modular hardtop
  • Fiberglass Jeep-tub trailer kit
  • CJ Grille Conversion Kit for the TJ/LJ
  • Fiberglass Military Replica Trailer Kit
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Unread 01-19-2010, 12:29 PM   #2
certifiablejeep
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I feel lost in the TJ forum... but I will definitely follow this one!

cb
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Unread 01-19-2010, 12:30 PM   #3
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It will be interesting to watch this one, as it is all of your build threads. Subscribed.
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Unread 01-19-2010, 12:31 PM   #4
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thanks for the invite, Jeff!

(and I'm not completely out of the water... I've been here a time or two before)

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Unread 01-19-2010, 12:33 PM   #5
jscherb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by certifiablejeep View Post
I feel lost in the TJ forum... but I will definitely follow this one!

cb
. My design enables the Safari Cab hardtops to fit CJ-7's, CJ-8's and YJ Wranglers, but if I go ahead and actually build these, the first one will probably be a full length one for my LJ Wrangler, so I thought I should start the thread here. The second one would probably be a CJ half-cab for the Gaucho...
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Visit my Jeep Projects site for info on my custom Jeep projects:
  • Retro Wrangler pickup
  • Gaucho CJ pickup
  • Safari Cab custom modular hardtop
  • Fiberglass Jeep-tub trailer kit
  • CJ Grille Conversion Kit for the TJ/LJ
  • Fiberglass Military Replica Trailer Kit
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Unread 01-19-2010, 12:33 PM   #6
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I like it! Makes it look really Defenderish
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Unread 01-19-2010, 12:35 PM   #7
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Unread 01-19-2010, 12:42 PM   #8
Jeepster83
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any idea on when you can sell me one for my TJ? maybe something that can hold a fair amount of weight on top?
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Unread 01-19-2010, 12:42 PM   #9
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It is definitely a big improvement over stock, I like it.
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Unread 01-19-2010, 12:45 PM   #10
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That...is....awesome! I really love the way the upper rear opens to the side with the lower door.

And the side pop out "wing" windows are a very nice touch.

So, it comes off in four pieces (top, two sides and rear door)?

I'd assume you'd include rear wipers too, right?

How about adding built in reverse (back-up) lights?
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Unread 01-19-2010, 12:49 PM   #11
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Looks good. can't wait to see a completed version.
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Unread 01-19-2010, 12:49 PM   #12
MountainMan864
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Did you do those drawings from scratch or what? You must be loaded if you know how to do that stuff.
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Unread 01-19-2010, 12:51 PM   #13
jscherb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeepster83 View Post
any idea on when you can sell me one for my TJ? maybe something that can hold a fair amount of weight on top?
I have no plans to offer these commercially myself, but I have had a number of discussions with a company that is in the Jeep aftermarket and is interested in offering these as part of their product line. We have talked about me licensing my design and mold masters to them after I get the masters done, so if I build these, they might actually be offered as commercial products.

One of the design features for the full tops includes a steel reinforcing frame inside the top to allow loads to be carried on a roof rack.
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"Whether you think you can do something or you think you can't, you are right" - Henry Ford

Visit my Jeep Projects site for info on my custom Jeep projects:
  • Retro Wrangler pickup
  • Gaucho CJ pickup
  • Safari Cab custom modular hardtop
  • Fiberglass Jeep-tub trailer kit
  • CJ Grille Conversion Kit for the TJ/LJ
  • Fiberglass Military Replica Trailer Kit

Last edited by jscherb; 04-09-2010 at 05:39 AM..
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Unread 01-19-2010, 12:54 PM   #14
jscherb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainMan864 View Post
Did you do those drawings from scratch or what? You must be loaded if you know how to do that stuff.
Yes, I do these drawings myself, from scratch. I'll post more drawings as this thread progresses. I also built the two pickups shown in the first post in this thread, so I do have the skills necessary to build these hardtops from scratch as well. I don't think being loaded (either "drunk" or "rich", depending on what you mean by loaded ) would have much to do with it...
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"Whether you think you can do something or you think you can't, you are right" - Henry Ford

Visit my Jeep Projects site for info on my custom Jeep projects:
  • Retro Wrangler pickup
  • Gaucho CJ pickup
  • Safari Cab custom modular hardtop
  • Fiberglass Jeep-tub trailer kit
  • CJ Grille Conversion Kit for the TJ/LJ
  • Fiberglass Military Replica Trailer Kit
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Unread 01-19-2010, 12:59 PM   #15
unlimited4x4
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I have a '05 unlimited. I like what you have done compared to the factory hard top. I'd buy one. Any though about some small rectangular windows across the top, running parrallel to the sides, or maybe a sunroof over the passenger area? I think either option may cause a structural problem for the top, but I thought I would throw them out there. Also, what about making the side windows removable? the top could act like a soft top, but for some it would be nice maybe not having to go through the effort of storing the hard top and putting on a soft top. I actually do not take the top down all the way as much as I thought I would. The sun is a scorcher down here in FL. I typically drive with top up and windows off.

good luck and let us know when it goes into production!
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