New World Cabs?

jscherb

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Elmira
State
NY
#1
For a while now I've had this wacky idea that I'd like to design and build a hardtop from scratch. Back when I was working on the all-metal World Cab conversion for the Retro, I worked out a design for fabricating a new hardtop from steel with the idea that someday I'd build one. Now that I'm studying fiberglass fabrication so I can build the new fenders for the Retro and also make the fiberglass Gaucho fenders, I've been working on a concept for making fiberglass hardtops from modular components.

Making a full Scrambler hardtop from one piece of fiberglass seems much too daunting a task for anyone except professionals like Matt, but molding the top in component sections and then bonding them together into one final piece seems reasonable, something I could definitely do in my home workshop. Hardtops made from components is what Jeep did with the later CJ-7 and all YJ hardtops - they're made from something like 8 separate pieces of fiberglass.

Also, with a modular design, a series of components could be made so a top could be assembled in a variety of configurations to fit different Jeeps - Scramblers, CJ-7's, TJ Unlimiteds, half cabs for pickups, etc. This is not unlike the original Jeep World Cab concept - the CJ-8 and CJ-7 World Cabs shared some steel stampings, while other parts were specific to the model. (Even though the CJ-10/10a hardtop is called a World Cab, the only component is shares with the -7 and -8 World Cabs is the non-standard square corner doors.)

Here's a rough initial concept drawing, some of the component lines have been left in so you can see where the different parts are. The component lines would not show on the final tops.



My concept would be to make tops that follow the general lines of the original Jeep World Cabs for the CJ-7 and CJ-8. The front roof panel would be sloped and ribbed like the WOrld Cab, and in addition to the -7 and -8 versions, could also be used for a TJ Unlimted top and even a half-cab like the Retro.

The roof belt line would differ from the original World Cab - on the original, the belt line curves up behind the rear of the front door, to a level about 2 1/2 inches higher than the belt line above the door. In my Safari top concept, the belt line is straight, but the rear roof panel is still raised like the World Cab. This additional room above the belt line on the side of the top panel provides space for small "safari windows".

The rear door would be designed so that it could be hinged up like a hatch for CJ's with hinge-down tailgates, but it would also be able to be hinged on the side like a World Cab barn door - in this application it would be fastened to the TJ/YJ swinging tailgate with "stakes" similar in concept to how half door uppers attach to half door, although in a much more rigid design. This would provide for the coolness of the World Cab barn door but the ease or removability that half door uppers have. The hardtop could be removed without changing the tailgate, just remove the rear door "upper" from the swinging tailgate.

Here's an idea of some of the component parts.



Each of the separate components could be made in a relatively simple mold, certainly less complex than the three-part mold I'm currently working on for the Retro fenders. And each would be small enough that a single person in a home shop like mine could fairly easily mold them.

Mold masters would be made from wood and foam, materials easily worked and shaped to provide the curves and shapes necessary; it would not be hard to duplicate the relatively simple shapes of the original World Cab roof using these materials. And of course I've got two originals here to measure from.

Components would be designed with overlapping flanges to facilitate bonding the sections into a complete top; assembly would be with a multi-part urethane panel adhesive (which bonds fiberglass parts better than polyester resin).

Once assembled, the seams would be worked with body filler, block sanded and smoothed using ordinary body work techniques; the top would then be painted, either base/clear to match the Jeep body, or a texture paint for that "fiberglass hardtop look".

One of the things I always work into my designs is "home shop buildability" - first I do the ultimate cosmetic and functional design, then I rework it until it's something I could build with my limited tools and skills in my home workshop. Based on the work I've done so far in building two hardtops (Retro and Gaucho) and the work I've been doing on fiberglass so far, I've worked out how these could reasonably be built in my home workshop.

I'm really intrigued by this project... might have to put it on my future "to do" list...

PS: Note to Matt - no, I would never plan to go into business to compete with Gr8Tops!
 

rstickley

SOA Member
SOA Member
City
Carencro
State
La
#2
I have always liked the safari tops. I had a '62 Land Rover that had one and that was always a eye catcher when people were looking it over. I think it would definately look good on a 8.
 

PetesCj-8

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
slatington
State
pa
#3
I really like the styling of it but how would you "vent " the heat out of it per say? I imagine you could use tinted glass , I just wonder how functional it would be as an all season top. Maybe the widows could push outward in the rear like some mini van models?
 

jscherb

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Elmira
State
NY
#4
I really like the styling of it but how would you "vent " the heat out of it per say? I imagine you could use tinted glass , I just wonder how functional it would be as an all season top. Maybe the widows could push outward in the rear like some mini van models?
Many of the original World Cabs don't have any "venting", some had small rear vent windows but many have fixed windows. Mine has fixed windows and I've never felt the need for additional ventilation, and I use mine all year round and I don't have A/C. (Well technically I have it, I just never reinstalled all the components when I did my restoration! :) )

Yes, there could be different window options. It wouldn't be too hard to get an RV window company to make side windows with opening vent windows in the rear.
 

Dirty Dave

Dirty Dave
City
Albany
State
or
#5
so what about glass

As i looked at top ideas, my thoughts are what about glass, would you have options to use maybe cherokee side windows, from a two door? I was looking at your world cab and wondered how you went about getting glass to fit that opening. Can give the dimensions. My buddy said, "what about the old slders from a Ford Aerostar. But if the kit had different templates for different junkyard window, that would be good:bow:
 

jscherb

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Elmira
State
NY
#6
As i looked at top ideas, my thoughts are what about glass, would you have options to use maybe cherokee side windows, from a two door? I was looking at your world cab and wondered how you went about getting glass to fit that opening. Can give the dimensions. My buddy said, "what about the old slders from a Ford Aerostar. But if the kit had different templates for different junkyard window, that would be good:bow:
Have to give more thought to side glass, haven't got a final design yet. I had a local auto glass place cut the windows for my World Cab, that wasn't a big deal, but I did make some subtle modifications to the side panels of my WC so they would accept flat glass.

The issue is that the sides want to be slightly curved to match the curve of the door windows, but that makes it harder to get a glass place to cut generic glass to fit. There are three design choices:

1. Make the sides flat so flat glass could be used. They wouldn't have to be completely flat from top to bottom, just a center section, or a section above a belt line, would be flat. The factory WC sides have a belt line about 6" above the bottom of the top, and above the belt line they side slope in with a gentle curve. It's so gentle, it could be flat without any loss of styling.
2. Make the sides curved, and find a source for glass, such as the 2d Cherokee you suggest. I'd like to know the dimensions of those windows, maybe they'd work.
3. Make the sides curved, but make a flat window frame in the side so flat glass could be used. This option would fix the size of the glass because of the frame, unlike option 1, which would allow for any size glass the builder wanted. Also would make it harder to make a "panel van" version with no windows, which would be easy in options 1 or 2.

Probably #1 is the best option, a belt line, then a change in slope, and above the belt line the side would be basically flat. Then you could either leave them blank (panel van style) or cut whatever size holes you wanted and get flat glass to fit.
 

Randyzzz

Blown Budget
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#7
Jeff, I'm interested in your idea. Shipping would be easier too with smaller components. I have looked into windows, and found there are a couple of manufacturers of camper shell/rv windows that would probably fit the bill.
 

jscherb

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Elmira
State
NY
#8
I made a few refinements to the components to reduce the number of large molds necessary to build all configurations of the top.

By adding a rear roof end panel, the area that curves down to meet the back panel, it is possible to have only one main roof panel mold for all lengths of roofs, from CJ7/YJ/TJ up to CJ8 (and beyond). Cutting the main panel to length still works even with the roof ribbing detail, that ribbing continues into the roof end panel.

The side window panels would be the same way, one mold would be used for all lengths of side panel, again eliminating multiple large expensive side panel molds.

Also the rear of the cab is now three pieces, consisting of two corners and a center panel (or door). This way the half cab/pickup cab versions use the same corners as the full length top, except they get a filler panel in which the rear window mounts, instead of the opening door or hatch. I show the window being the same width as the rear door opening in this drawing, but there's no reason it couldn't be cut into the corner panels to be even wider if desired.

So now there are only five "large" molds for all configurations of tops - front roof panel, rear roof panel, side panel (and left and right side would be the same mold), rear upper door and half-cab rear window panel. Then there are a number of small molds - rear roof end, two rear corners and the two door jamb panels. There may also be an insert to go into the inside of the front roof panel to mate the top to the particular windshield (CJ/YJ or TJ), so one small mold for each of them too.

 

fisherman

Whew, was that you?
City
brunswick
State
md
#9
Jeff,
Could you make it bolt together so you could take it apart to store it or maybe even make different types of top sections ie camper/taller rear section or a 50 cal turret mount :) this idea has been bouncing around in my head for years...you are my hero!
 

jscherb

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Elmira
State
NY
#10
Jeff,
Could you make it bolt together so you could take it apart to store it or maybe even make different types of top sections ie camper/taller rear section or a 50 cal turret mount :) this idea has been bouncing around in my head for years...you are my hero!
I think some of the joints you'd want to be permanently bonded for strength and weather resistance, like the joints in the roof, but perhaps it could be designed just like the original World Cab so the roof bolted to the side panels and it could be disassembled at that joint for storage. Fiberglass is much less rigid than steel, so some testing would have to be done to see if a bolt-together version would be study enough.

No comment on a turret mount other than I think there would be some special rigidity requirements that would place on the top, that would require special bracing for any top, not just this one.

As for a camper, I wasn't going to post this drawing, because I don't really like the design, but here's a rough attempt at an expedition camper, this only uses a few of the panels from the other designs - the front roof panel and the door jamb panels. Everything else is different. And like I said, I don't even like this design, I drew it just as an idea starter, but I had to make it long enough for someone my size to sleep in.

 

hogi

Legacy Registered User
City
Rehovot
State
IL
#11
I love the look of the rear roof panels. Look like Land-Rover:bow:
But what about Willys Wagon's - like fiberglass hardtop?

My dream:
1. To give my 1991 'storm' jeep the look of retro Willys Wagon by 1. change the hood, grill, fenders and bumpers to Willys
2. build side panels out of fiberglass using the Willys Wagon as a pattern.
 
Last edited:

jscherb

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Elmira
State
NY
#12
I love the look of the rear roof panels. Look like Land-Rover:bow:
But what about Willys Wagon's - like fiberglass hardtop?

My dream:
1. To give my 1991 'storm' jeep the look of retro Willys Wagon by 1. change the hood, grill, fenders and bumpers to Willys
2. build side panels out of fiberglass using the Willys Wagon as a pattern.
I drew that concept earlier this year, here it is again. This one still has a CJ front clip though, and TJ flares. It would be fun to do... who's got a donor Willys? :)

 

jscherb

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Elmira
State
NY
#14

Randyzzz

Blown Budget
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
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City
Redmond
State
OR
#15
Jeff- the Willys/Scrambler is my dream top...now if you ever build that top...I want it! I have actually been looking for a cheap rusted out wagon for a top donor...someday...
 

hogi

Legacy Registered User
City
Rehovot
State
IL
#16
Randy,
The "rusted out wagon for a top" may not work as-is because the wagon have:
1. this angle at the back

2. the panels are not straight as you can see from the agg shape roof
 

Randyzzz

Blown Budget
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#17
I'm digging that rear view with the fatty tires...

I was looking mainly for the side panels, figured the roof would have to be a 100% fab job. But that project is waaaay down the road...if ever.
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#18
As for a camper, I wasn't going to post this drawing, because I don't really like the design, but here's a rough attempt at an expedition camper, this only uses a few of the panels from the other designs - the front roof panel and the door jamb panels. Everything else is different. And like I said, I don't even like this design, I drew it just as an idea starter, but I had to make it long enough for someone my size to sleep in.

You KNEW this was coming.... :D :smokin: It's the ultimate combo of everything you've ever talked about... custom hard top, expedition camper, 6x6, and dual-axle trailer!!!!! MUAHAHAHAHAHA! :evil:



Seriously though, I'll be riveted to the thread when you get around to cranking these out... :thumbsup:
 

jscherb

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Elmira
State
NY
#20
You KNEW this was coming.... :D :smokin: It's the ultimate combo of everything you've ever talked about... custom hard top, expedition camper, 6x6, and dual-axle trailer!!!!! MUAHAHAHAHAHA! :evil:
:eek: :eek: :eek: I think I'll go back to my Gaucho project now...
 
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