Has anyone ever built there own penthouse top???


I am building my own penthouse top a little like a sportsmobile and wondering if anyone has ever seen or built there own version. Mine uses a raised fiberglass roof out of a junkyard I scored for 50 bucks. I built my own lifting hardware and I am thinking of sliding the bed out of the back of the van so when it is up it will look like a sportsmobile with a pop up camper trailer bed overhanging the back doors. I have been posting pictures on photobucket if anyone has some suggestions let me hear them, the project sort of moves slow but I have my old junk van to work it all out on then when it is done I will switch it to my Quigley psd.
Pictures link

http://s127.photobucket.com/albums/p148/dsw4x4/van project/

Thanks for the input


Supporting Sponsor
Looks awesome, that question has been asked many many times. I think your little project is gonna turn out awesome!


Expedition Leader
congrats & awesome. I have the roof cap cut off my 55 currently and for even a couple years I've been pondering building something like this as well. I figured the hardest part would be the hinges and figuring out how all that would work. I even asked for some photos from Westies once upon a time to compare (or pilfer) off one of those. Good stuff and I really like your solution!

Joaquin Suave

Yes I have. However, I took a simpler route...

I removed the top of a VW camper ( It was a US modified brand called: Country Home Camper), then tig welded an aluminum tubing frame and attached the fabric & lifting mechanism to it. I then mounted the "penthouse" onto to my rollbar/kayak rack. I wired the unit up with backup lights (can be folded down for camping lights), stereo speakers, and bedroom reading light. I have quick disconnect connectors for the wires at the end of an umbilical so the "penthouse" can be unplugged and unbolted from the Jeep then lifted into the rafters of my shop.

Here is the thread for my Jeep...




Cool rig

I like your jeep I use a top bunk on my jeep and broncos and the exploder I also used it on my old van for a while it works out really nice because they mount to Yakima racks and you can switch vehicles when ever you want. Here is a pic of it on the van and one on the explorer.
Andre I used to be on 4btswaps my original plan was to use a 4bt in my van but I have since bought a psd quigly van so it looks like the 4bt will be going into one of my boxstyle broncos.
thanks for the input everyone




I finally have the sides starting to come together.

Here are some pics of the slide out bed and the material is starting to come together.

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island Explorer
thats a pretty cool setup! I was looking at my Coleman colorado the other day and thought hey that would look pretty cool on top of a van. or basically what you have shown.


Very nice. Like many on here, I have pondered this very question. Congrats for moving beyond the planning stage and developing a (giant) poptop! I got as far as buying a Westie roof, but couldn't bring myself to cut the roof on my Suburban. Now, with a huge sunroof available to climb through, I think it's time to revisit this for my Montero. Very cool! Keep the pics coming...


dsw - very cool!

Looking forward to following your build.

How does your slide-out work - what holds it up?



That looks pretty cool! What type of material did you make the tent out of? Did you sow it yourself, or someone local?




Mark the slide out has to be supported by rods to the rear bumper I was trying to avoid that but it made things to heavy up high.
Don I am not sure what the material is my brother in law used to make TopBunks (the one pictured on top of our explorer) and he had a chunk of material left over he gave me. It is not rip stop, It looks and feels a lot like my kelty tent. It is pretty light weight compared to a pop up camper, but really strong. My girlfriends mom was nice enough to help me with the sewing duties so far with all of the zippers and velcro and windows he have over 40 hours of shoving material through the machine. She is back intown this week to finish it up so tomorrow I have to cut the roof off of my good van and get it ready to do a final fitment and install of the material. I got the top painted and the roof rack built and set it on the van tonight so tomorrow it is time to start cutting.
Here are some pics of the top from tonight.

This is what the roof started out as


This Space For Rent
Wow...that is going to look fabulous! These pop-up tops are so cool and really allow the best of both worlds....stand up room when you're camped, and a nice low frontal area when you're headed down the road. I might be stealing some of your ideas here in the next couple years with my own van...kudos.



You cannot see it, but the winglets follow the mold of the top which is also the part I painted silver but their purpose is when it is all said and done a ladder will go to the rain gutter of the van below them so they will become the last step for the ladder. (think aluminess style ladder but a lot cheaper I have less than 50 bucks in the rack so far)


Awesome! I'm getting a free Discovery and was contemplating this too. There's an 80 Vanagon Camper for $1K on craigslist that I'm sure would be happy to donate it's top and interior to the cause :) Only problem, I'm pretty sure the pop up on a vanagon is longer than the roofline of a disco. Anyone have the measurements?