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Can Opener: 1968 Jeepster Soft Top Install

Posted in How To on October 1, 2011
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Every spring we get that itch for that open-top Jeep feeling and start hating our hardtop just a little more. Now, don’t get us wrong, the factory hardtop on our ’68 Jeepster has served us well through the years. It’s kept us dry in rainstorms and warm through snow storms. However, we need at least three friends to help us get the hardtop off in the spring, and even though we are in SoCal we’ve still had a few top-on rain drills. Come winter, we wait until the last possible second, often after a few rain storms and possibly a snow storm before we draft our friends into helping us put the top back on the Jeep again.

So when a well respected member of a Jeepster Club we are in said he was going into production with a vintage-looking but better performing soft top,we requested to be kept in the loop. Rather than take on the mega-companies, he set as his goal to offer a more personalized customer-service experience and more customization options. Among the options are a wide choice of fabric colors and textures, tinted windows, and frame and hardware finishes (including powdercoat, zinc, or paint).

We wanted to get our hands on one of these tops, so we left color and options up to the company. Since it was a brand-new-to-the-market top and we wanted to bring it to you first, so we left the specifications up to the company based on what was first available, what would photograph the best, and would best suit the potential buyer. We know winter is coming up, and many of you are looking to replace the problematic top on your Jeep now. So, we ended up with a “White Crush” fabric with non-tinted windows and non-powder coated hardware. It is a basic top with a higher-end fabric and we were able to get it put on in a day.

The top and bows come shipped in one big box. The fabric of the top is well protected from any damage and all the hardware needed is included in the kit. Unlike many installation instructions we see, these were well written and often had two points of reference for many measurements that were needed. They also had the type of shortcuts and hints that told us that whoever wrote ’em has installed one or two of these. The White Crush fabric is a heavy, factory-looking material with a black inside liner.

If you don’t have a Jeepster, don’t despair, the company also wants to get into other forgotten Jeeps such as the CJ-6 and CJ-8. We gained an inch of tire clearance in the rear thanks to the weight savings, the top is just as quiet as our stock hardtop was, we’ve got better outward visibility, and we can now scratch our open-air itch without any help.

The windows are about 5 inches wider than the factory hardtop windows and are double-seam-sealed to the fabric for long-life weather resistance. The rain gutters above the doors likely help out with water getting in through the door surround. We ended up scrounging our local big-box home store for plastic plugs to seal the factory hard top holes. In time, we will probably weld the holes closed. We feel we could have done a better job with the snaps, but we were told that over time the top will stretch and it will look much better.
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