Land Rover ideas for Jeeps

shays4me

Adventurer
That actually was a Jeep idea - the Laredo package of the CJ-7/CJ-8 had a leather wrapped grab bar. They're highly sought after these days and there are also multiple places that will re-wrap an old one in new leather for you. When I built a new dash for my CJ-8 years ago I replaced the chrome grab bar with an original leather one:

I really like the leather wrapped grab bars and the steering wheel in my CJ7 has the same treatment. My friend has an 84 Laredo, I have an unknown package 84 and my little brother has the 84 base model. When I bought mine it had a few of the upgrades like a Laredo including the leather wrap, tilt wheel, tach and clock and the delay wipers. My brother's didn't have any of that stuff. I probably should do a little research and find out what packages were offered that year. Anyway, back off my tangent, a leather wrap for the JK grab bar would be a nice addition!
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I still have the leather wrapped grab bar and the leather wrapped steering wheel from my CJ-8, I swapped them for non-leather parts when I sold it. I turned the grab bar into a display for OO's Grab Bar pockets and I loan it to OO when they do shows. They get offers for the grab bar every time they use it but I've told them it's only a loan, they have to give it back to me.



I think a leather-wrapped grab bar for the JK would be very cool, maybe I'll have to do one.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
The December issue of Land Rover Owner has a feature on Dormobile camper conversions for Series Land Rovers. The opening photo spread:



What if a Dormobile-style camper top was made for a Wrangler? I did a similar photo spread of my own with a little photo-editing...



Some interior shots... the Dormobile conversion involves cutting a large hole in the roof so it's possible to stand inside; there are provisions for beds inside the Land Rover and for two bunks up top.









It would be possible to make a Dormobile-style roof for a Wrangler; it could be done either to fit on top of the stock roof without cutting, or installed over a large cutout in the factory hardtop. Probably wouldn't be possible to duplicate the interior photos above exactly because the Wrangler interior is smaller than the Land Rover and the roll bars take up a lot of space, but a useful interior could be designed. More on a Dormobile-style design for a Wrangler shortly...
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
What a Dormobile-style pop-up would look like from above...



If I were to take on this project and make a pop-top for a Wrangler, I'd start with a factory hardtop. I'd make a mold of the sealing surface of the Freedom Panels (the yellow area below) and build the pop-top so that it installs on top of the fixed portion of the Wrangler roof and replaces the Freedom Panels in the front. With a Dormobile-style side-hinged pop-top, the Freedom Panel space could be used to access the upper level. Or, if one wanted to cut a large hole in the factory roof, the entire ceiling could open up to provide standing room and bunks could be installed like the Dormobile bunks.



This design would allow installation on an unmodified factory hardtop and allow access from the inside of the Jeep, in that case the pop-up would have a floor that rests on the factory hardtop roof and sleeping would be on that floor.

BTW the Freedom Panels pictured above are from a JK; I modified them to have pop-up skylights.
 

shays4me

Adventurer
I had a CJ-8 for a short time and wanted to do something similar, but it was the wrong time in life and I didn't have the budget. I fell in love with the dormobile conversions the first time I came across one and I'd love to own a series land rover setup with one, but the prices are astronomical here in the US. It's a big reason why I have an Ursa Minor top today which is about the closest affordable option.
 
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jscherb

Expedition Leader
I had a CJ-8 for a short time and wanted to do something similar, but it was the wrong time in life and I didn't have the budget. I fell in love with the dormobile conversions the first time I came across one and I'd love to own a series land rover setup with one, but the prices are astronomical here in the US. It's a big reason why I have an Ursa Minor top today which is about the closest affordable option.
Pop-up campers for the Wrangler don't have to be so expensive. I believe Ursa Minor starts at $6400, but on the other side of the Atlantic, where pop-tops seem to be more popular, conversions like the Eco Poptop pictured below start at £2400 (about $3300) including installation.



The design I've described, which installs on top of the factory Wrangler hardtop and replaces the Freedom panels, should be able to be built to sell for about the same price as the Eco. Or to look at it another way, nice hard shell roof top tents sell can be had for about $2500. There's not much difference in materials or manufacturing between a typical hard shell roof top tent and a hard shell pop-top that interfaces to the Wrangler hardtop by replacing the Freedom panels that offers inside access to the pop-up I've been describing.

Seems like a business opportunity - the only Wrangler pop-top that offers inside access that I'm aware of is the $6400 base price Ursa Minor - I would think a pop-top that starts at about half that and offers inside access should do well in the market.
 

campertramper

Active member
Pop-up campers for the Wrangler don't have to be so expensive. I believe Ursa Minor starts at $6400, but on the other side of the Atlantic, where pop-tops seem to be more popular, conversions like the Eco Poptop pictured below start at £2400 (about $3300) including installation.
I'm afraid your figures are out of date - the prices just went up and the base price for an Ursa Minor is now $8950. Importing a cheaper option sounds like a smart idea. The Ursa Minor is super nice and amazing in many ways but a less expensive option would be really nice.
 

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shays4me

Adventurer
One thing is for certain, competition is good for the consumer. It drives down prices and encourages innovation! I'm happy with my UM top, but it wasn't cheap that's for sure!
 

billiebob

Well-known member
This just sold on BAT. So many cool ideas. From pullman seats to a proper RV step to a counter which flips to give the commode a bit of privacy.... not to mention the super cool, drive it with the sliding doors open. Might want to add seatbelts.

And ultra compact. All the features of a Quad Cab pickup is half the space.... winch?? why?? 2 guys can push it out of a mud hole.

 
Seems like a business opportunity - the only Wrangler pop-top that offers inside access that I'm aware of is the $6400 base price Ursa Minor - I would think a pop-top that starts at about half that and offers inside access should do well in the market.

There are several other possibilities here in Europe:

The Gazell Kit (which we have) which was planned for America too (known as JXL from americansafari). More info from the original https://www.gazell.fr/gazell-jk/

Then there is another one which is original done for a Wrangler clone from BAIC : https://powercamper.de/produkt/dachzelt-powercamp-desert/

And there is also a possibility to use an Alucab RTT with inside access from a company called "Absolute Outdoor" http://absoluteoutdoor.de/2019/05/umbau-jeep-wrangler-jku/

But all of them are also not really cheap.
 
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jscherb

Expedition Leader
More detail on my design...

The Jeep already has a hole in the hardtop, so that can be used to provide access to the sleeping area above with no modifications to the factory hardtop.

Access is provided by a replacement for the Freedom panels - a piece seals against the factory hardtop and the camper top base seals (and attaches) to it. The camper top base is form-fitted to the factory hardtop and attaches in the front to the Freedom panel interface and in the back to the liftgate hinges, so it installs with no modifications to the factory hardtop. The Freedom panel interface has a hole in it for access to the sleeping area from the Jeep's cabin.

Optionally, an additional hole can be cut in the factory hardtop and the camper top base to allow sleeping area access from the rear of the Jeep. This unit could be installed without those holes being cut and later as the Jeep owner outfits the interior of the Jeep he/she could decide to add these holes or not, depending on their configuration and needs.

There's no question this could be built, and while it would have to sell for more than a typical hard-shell RTT, it should be able to be sold for about half of the other camper conversion options mentioned.



In the image above, for clarity the Freedom panel replacement is shown off the Jeep and also in place on the Jeep.
 

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