Have you noticed that smell around here at Jp magazine lately? That ain't the scent of chilled caviar and suckling pig wafting through the hallways. We're cooking up much simpler fare nowadays, 'cause we're feeling the pinch, too. But just because times are lean doesn't mean you can't make your Jeep more comfortable and more safe. Take our '89 YJ, for example. We paid $500 for the vehicle a couple of years ago and have been living with the factory interior and chalky rear windows ever since. The top had been replaced with a newer Bestop Supertop, which was nice. But negligence and vandalism had left the rear windows torn and scratched beyond the point of safe visibility.
Our factory seats were nearly-free of rips and tears, but were in the early stages of spring failure. For short hops around town they were fine, but any drive that lasted more than 45 minutes would get your back aching. And after 169,000 miles the stock steering wheel, while aesthetically fine, had worn down to the spongy center and trapped dirt and oil from your hands. It always felt sticky and nasty to the touch.
We turned to Bestop for the majority of our interior upgrades. In addition to manufacturing factory and aftermarket Jeep tops and replacement parts, Bestop offers a wide variety of seating for all shapes, sizes, and budgets. And Omix-Ada still manufactures brand-new replacement parts for Jeeps of all makes and models, including factory-style steering wheels. But what's the best course of action in a case like this? Do we follow conventional magazine-guy protocol and upgrade with the latest whiz-bang product, discarding perfectly usable parts and going with whichever offers the most trinkets, gizmos, and features? On a $500 Jeep? Not likely. Instead we threw avarice to the wind and went with simple, functional, and comfortable parts that didn't break the budget, yet vastly improved our Jeep's comfort.