Is a Jeep Wrangler with a Defender Front End considered blasphemy?

billiebob

Well-known member
Land Rover protects their brand quite aggressively, and the Series III front end is a registered icon, so you may have IP issues. I would worry about that more than reactions from either side of the Jeep/Land Rover fan base
If mipatter was reproducing a fiberglass front clip, there may be copyright infringement. However if these are built by fitting Defender front clips to the Wrangler, there is no infringement. Unlike Roxor who ended up with a Jeep copy and lost their case..... miplatter is using parts produced by Land Rover.
 

mipatter

New member
Land Rover protects their brand quite aggressively, and the Series III front end is a registered icon, so you may have IP issues. I would worry about that more than reactions from either side of the Jeep/Land Rover fan base
FYI: I used almost all Land Rover parts which ran me almost $10K.
 

mipatter

New member
Were you ashamed of it being a Jeep and wanted to disguise it? Perhaps add a Mercedes emblem to the grille to really confuse people. Maybe add a Ferrai badge to the back too.
It's your vehicle and you should be able to do what you want but seriously?
No, not ashamed of it being a Jeep at all. I'll attach an updated pic. I wanted a Defender but, not all the issues that come with a pre 2000 vintage vehicle. The Wrangler provides a great ride and has modern conveniences. The engineering is superb. Some guys want angry bird eyes on their Wrangler, I wanted mine to be unique in a different way. wrangler-defender.jpg
 

mipatter

New member
Blasphemy or not, I dig it, especially with the early Generation LR small grill and mesh cover.
Thank you. I added an updated pic to one of the other posts. I also modified the windshield so that I can put it down in a few minutes rather than the 30 minutes it takes on a stock JK.
 

mipatter

New member
Having designed and built hardtops for both LJ/TJ and JK/JKU Jeeps (including the one you linked to on the red Jeep) I can tell you that it would be easier to make a new roof panel for a factory hardtop than it would be to modify that LJ hardtop to fit a JK 2dr.

If it were my project, I'd probably start with a factory hardtop and make a new roof panel like the images below. I'd make the contours of the top panel to accept Discovery 1 Alpine windows. Building a upper rear door to attach to the Jeep factory tailgate has been done multiple times before.





Or you could just buy a Smittybilt hardtop that already has a raised roof: https://www.smittybilt.com/product/index/282.htm although they're lacking quality and features - the Alpine windows are plastic, there are no drip rails, no full rear door.
You know Jeff, I really like your top and I want one! :) Your comment "start with a factory hardtop and make a new roof panel like the images below" has me thinking. Perhaps I'll email you separately on this. I think your skills are considerably more advanced than mine. I fear that the hard top changes would be more difficult than the Defender front end I put on due to the necessary fiberglass work but, I might be up for the challenge.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
You know Jeff, I really like your top and I want one! :) Your comment "start with a factory hardtop and make a new roof panel like the images below" has me thinking. Perhaps I'll email you separately on this. I think your skills are considerably more advanced than mine. I fear that the hard top changes would be more difficult than the Defender front end I put on due to the necessary fiberglass work but, I might be up for the challenge.
Mike,

If you have questions about how such a new roof would integrate with the Wrangler hardtop, mods to the hardtop or questions about how to make a new roof panel, why don't you ask them here online instead of in a private email - I'll bet others in this forum would be interested in hearing your questions and the answers.

Jeff
 

mipatter

New member
Mike,

If you have questions about how such a new roof would integrate with the Wrangler hardtop, mods to the hardtop or questions about how to make a new roof panel, why don't you ask them here online instead of in a private email - I'll bet others in this forum would be interested in hearing your questions and the answers.

Jeff
I agree. Please see the attached rough idea which is in pdf format. I would simply cut a big hole in the existing hard top and leave all of the edges in place. I would then fasten the new alpine top to the edges of the existing hard top. Please share your concerns and suggestions?
 

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jscherb

Expedition Leader
I agree. Please see the attached rough idea which is in pdf format. I would simply cut a big hole in the existing hard top and leave all of the edges in place. I would then fasten the new alpine top to the edges of the existing hard top. Please share your concerns and suggestions?
The images in your PDF are on the right track.



Getting a good seal between the new roof and the remaining hardtop parts isn't difficult. I recommend permanently bonding the new roof to the original hardtop parts with epoxy resin - the hardtop is made from the SMC variant of fiberglass so I'd recommend using epoxy resin to do the bonding. You could also use SMC-compatible polyester resin but epoxy would be stronger for this application.

I would do it as a two-step process - first, simply epoxy the roof to the hardtop with a bead of epoxy at the joint, and when that epoxy cures, reinforce the joint on the inside with fiberglass tape saturated in epoxy resin. Both steps should be done on the Jeep to ensure proper alignment.

There are two options to consider.

1. Permanently bond the new roof to the remains of the Freedom panels and to the rear roof section, resulting in a one-piece hardtop.

2. Permanently bond the new roof to the remains of the Freedom panels and bolt the new roof to the rear section of the hardtop. By doing this, you'll be able to remove the roof by unfastening the Freedom panel clips and unbolting the rear section. For this option you'll mold bolt flanges on the inside of the new roof panel so the roof can be bolted to the hardtop shell.

The key to success in this project is making a new roof section that fits accurately. The way I do it is to make a master for the mold out of wood. You'll want the edges of the new rood to exactly line up with the edges of the hardtop so making the master accurately is key. A few photos of the process I used to make the master for the JKU Safari Cab:



The process I use for making the master is called "lofting" in the boatbuilding business and there are plenty of books to describe the process. Before cutting the first piece of wood I design the shapes and ribs using a drawing program, the same you'd do if you were lofting a boat hull. The shell on top of the ribs is a combination of birch plywood (for the simple curves) and pine stripwood (for the compound curves), again using boatbuilding techniques typically used to make stripwood canoes. The finish on the master is part wood finish (polyurethane) followed by automotive finish (body filler and block sanding followed by epoxy primer + clearcoat).

Then I make a mold on top of the master, and once it's done it'll look something like this:



And the new roof is made in that mold. Popping the new roof out of the mold:



I assume you'll want to add Alpine windows to the roof, you'll also need to ensure the curve of the roof at that point exactly matches the curve of the glass so you can get a good seal. I used Discovery 1 Alpine windows in my hardtop. This photo shows a Disco Alpine window setting on the master, the photo was taken after I had made the 4dr mold and molded the parts for the 4dr hardtop; no longer needing the 4dr master I cut the master to 2dr length.



You might also consider converting the back half of the hardtop to modular while you're at it, so you can remove the side panels for an open air experience. The procedure is documented here: https://expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/converting-a-factory-jk-jku-hardtop-to-modular.160775/.



Happy to provide any more information that might help you.
 

billiebob

Well-known member
No, not ashamed of it being a Jeep at all. I'll attach an updated pic. I wanted a Defender but, not all the issues that come with a pre 2000 vintage vehicle. The Wrangler provides a great ride and has modern conveniences. The engineering is superb. Some guys want angry bird eyes on their Wrangler, I wanted mine to be unique in a different way. View attachment 621786
I think it looks fabulous. I don't think I would ever do it unless mine were damaged and I needed a new front clip. The fix would depend on which clip came up first, a new Wrangler clip or a Defender clip. Hot Rodding was always about adapting whatever was in the yard rather than just spending $$$.
 

Cottontail

Easy Street on Mud Tires
I'm more of a purist and don't like when people do restomods on old cars. Stock and OEM is my go to. That said, I do have the XJ that I purposely built for the trail that is certainly not OEM, but both of my ZJs are, as is my XK.

So, to that end, it is not look that I am particularly fond of. Same with, as mentioned, the bolt on crap that people put on Wranglers - like the angry eyes and halos and bling rims. HOWEVER, even if the end product is not my taste, I applaud and appreciate the workmanship that goes into creating these projects...particularly because my fabrication skills are very rudimentary.

Great job on the execution and great job on the ingenuity and vision to create this mashup.
 

rnArmy

Adventurer
I've been thinking about this. After much thought, I have to say "No, it is not". Jeeps were made to be modified, and not everyone agrees on what looks good or not. I think this looks cool.

In 1996 I was in GA getting divorced and moving across the country. I needed to sell my 56 Willys truck (I still miss it) and trade in my 1990 Isuzu PU for something that could flat tow my 46 Willys flatty and be my daily driver. And since I was moving to WA, I wanted 4WD. I seriously looked at the new Defenders, but they were wanting well over $30,000. So I bought a new 1996 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 (still have it) for a little over $20,000. I think I made the right decision. But sometimes I still wonder "What if I had bit the bullet and bought the Defender"? They are cool as can be. Still to this day.

In 1998 I bought a used 1989 Range Rover Classic for my new wife. It was nice when everything worked like it should. But good luck trying to get someone to work on it. Figure it would cost at least twice as much to fix or replace as a non-Range Rover vehicle for the same part or repair. A busted AC hose cost me over $1000 to repair (at the Rover dealership). I finally traded it in on a new 2003 KIA Sorrento (10-year, 100,000 mile warranty). One of my better moves - the KIA served us well.

But still... sometimes I wonder... "What if I had bought the Defender?".
 
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