I just read the June '08 letter from a guy looking for a soft top for his Blazer. I've been looking for tops for my '79 and '90 Broncos. I was aware of STC a few years ago, but could not purchase one then and was surprised to find them out of business. I contacted Bestop, and they said they've never made one for fullsize Broncos. Are there any other brands of tops for these vehicles that may have been made? This may broaden a used-top search. I think I may just have to make my own.
Ryan (the letter writer) should be made aware also that early ('77-'90 something-I'm a Ford guy) Blazers were available with a factory soft top, although these may be very difficult to find.
I've been looking for a top that doesn't require drilling into the body, too. The top that you suggested from ORD's discontinued stock is the Tiger Top, which requires drilling into the body. The companies that make all the tops that don't need body snaps (i.e., STC, CanBack) have gone out of business from what I can tell. This leaves only the Tiger Top, a fast-back style and not usable with a cage, made by www.soft-tops.com; and a tonneau-style top, also not usable with a cage and made by Skylar-which, by the way, is also out of business. So our choice is to settle for the Tiger Top or try to find a decent used top for which no replacement panels are available. If you or any of the readers find something different, please let us know.
We're posting both of your letters in case any of our readers know where you should look. We also didn't have much luck in our search-but either way, it sure seems to us that there's a demand for these tops for you entrepreneurs out there who are looking to fill a niche in the 4x4 aftermarket that doesn't seem to be very well-served at present. (Hint, hint.)
Thanks for the great mag-I enjoy reading it every month. Although Toyota runs in my veins (I currently own four Toyota 4x4s), I want something more unusual for the trails-something you don't see wheeling every day. I have the chance to get a '96 Range Rover (literally for free) from a friend who owns a local repair shop. A lady brought it there for repairs, and just gave up and left it. It needs a used engine swapped in (my friend would do the work cheap), but is in otherwise decent shape (140,000 miles). Could I take this vehicle and turn it into a good budget beater? I figured that the solid-axle/V-8 combo is attractive, but there seems to be poor aftermarket support for this rig. I don't know too much about these trucks, but I know that the airbag suspension sucks. Does this model have it? Can you swap it out? Any info on how I could turn this truck into a good low-budget wheeler for medium-difficulty trails would be appreciated.
We gotta admit we don't hear the words "budget" and "Range Rover" used in the same sentence too often. But to answer your question, yes, your vehicle has the air suspension, and yes, you can swap it out. Matter of fact, there is an Old Man Emu coil conversion kit available from British Pacific (661/257-9765, landroverparts.us); Atlantic British (800/533-2210, www.roverparts.com) also has a coil conversion kit for your '96, but whichever kit you choose, this change-over is not a simple job and should probably only be attempted by someone who has experience in this kind of conversion. It's also likely not going to be super-cheap. One of the best online resources for all things Rangy that we've found is www.rangerovers.net, where you can find all sorts of historical info, tech specs, and aftermarket parts sources for your Rover. Check it out, and you'll find there's actually a lot more out there in the way of aftermarket support for your rig than you might think. Happy Rovering.
I have read your magazine for years now...and well, here it goes: I've been a Toyota owner since before I could drive. The "visibility" complaints about the FJ Cruiser, I think, are just a bit overrated. If you consider driving any other SUV (e.g., Hummer, Cherokee, Liberty, Bronco, or even a fullsize truck), the visibility while wheeling or driving on road is just as bad, if not worse than the FJ. I think that a lot of people are drawn away from the possible purchase of an FJ because of all the hoopla about visibility.
I own an FJ. I wheel it, I drive it, and I mud it. I have no problem with the visibility. Granted, it did take a little getting used to, but nothing out of the ordinary. In my opinion, I think you need to do a visibility comparison with some of the more popular SUVs in order to be fair. Just my humble opinion.