GO­ING SOFT WITH BESTOP

BESTOP HAS US COV­ERED IN ANY WEATHER

4 Wheel & Off Road - - CONTENTS - BY Harry Wag­ner ED­I­[email protected] PHO­TOG­RA­PHY HARRY WAG­NER

Ex­actly the top we needed for our 1970 Toy­ota Land Cruiser.

IF YOU OWN A JEEP, ES­PE­CIALLY a JK, you are likely fa­mil­iar with Bestop. The com­pany makes the fac­tory soft top for the Jeep Wran­gler and of­fers a bevy of af­ter­mar­ket op­tions, in­clud­ing the Trek­top NX Pro, Sun­rider, and Trek­top NX Glide. While the Wran­gler is the only 4x4 cur­rently on the mar­ket with a re­mov­able top, that was not al­ways the case. Ear­lier Jeeps, Toy­ota Land Cruis­ers, Ford Bron­cos, In­ter­na­tional Scouts, and Suzuki Samurais were all avail­able with re­mov­able tops. In the case of our 1970 Toy­ota Land Cruiser, the hard top was re­moved long be­fore we pur­chased the ve­hi­cle. This sit­u­a­tion is all too com­mon, but for­tu­nately Bestop had ex­actly what we needed for four-sea­son wheeling through in­clement weather in the form of the Su­per­top Clas­sic Soft Top.

Our fa­vorite as­pect of the Su­per­top Clas­sic is how eas­ily it can be re­con­fig­ured. Need a full soft top for the rain? Easy. Want to roll up the win­dows and pull the doors off? That only takes min­utes. Sim­i­larly, putting the en­tire top down can be eas­ily per­formed by one per­son when you want the wind blow­ing through your hair. And the pre­mium ma­te­ri­als and Amer­i­can­made con­struc­tion mean that the Bestop Su­per­top Clas­sic will last just as long as our vin­tage Land Cruiser.

“Bestop had what we needed”

4 The win­dows zip into the top with heavy duty YKK zip­pers. We rec­om­mend rub­bing 4 paraf­fin (such as a can­dle) on the zip­pers once a year to keep them op­er­at­ing smoothly. The sealed seams and in­dus­trial strength thread work in con­junc­tion with the zip­pers to keep the top leak free, even in a down­pour.

33Bestop in­cludes in­cred­i­bly de­tailed in­struc­tions with im­ages and de­scrip­tions for each step of the process. We started by read­ing the in­struc­tions from start to fin­ish and lay­ing out all of the com­po­nents and tools on the ground to en­sure that we had ev­ery­thing we needed to com­plete the in­stal­la­tion.

22 The ac­tual top is only half of the equa­tion. It is use­less without the as­so­ci­ated hard­ware to mount the top. Fac­tory hard­ware for an FJ40 soft top is rarer than hen’s teeth, but for­tu­nately Bestop in­cludes ev­ery­thing you need for a com­plete in­stal­la­tion with no sur­prises.

7 The top slides into the in­cluded chan­nel that af­fixes to the top of the wind­shield frame. If you have a Bestop bikini top you can use the same chan­nel to mount the bikini top for sum­mer use. 7

1 1We started by spread­ing out the Bestop in the sun, where it could warm up and be­come more pli­able. While it is a bit coun­ter­in­tu­itive be­cause you need the top in ad­verse weather, in­stalling it on a warm day goes much eas­ier. Bestop’s fab­ric is mildew re­sis­tant and con­tains UV in­hibitors to look good for years to come.

6 The win­dows are con­structed from 30-mil plas­tic that is both durable and flex­i­ble. When you re­move them, we rec­om­mend stor­ing them some­where safe from abra­sion to keep them from get­ting scratched. Tinted win­dows are even avail­able on sev­eral of Bestop’s dif­fer­ent mod­els. 6

5 We mounted the pow­der­coated side rails and corner rails us­ing the ex­ist­ing holes and the in­cluded hard­ware. Plas­tic strips sewn into the bot­tom of the top slide into these rails to hold the top se­curely in place and keep it taut. It’s a snap, but no snaps are nec­es­sary. 5

10Putting the top down en­tirely gives an open-air feel­ing and the vis­i­bil­ity that we ap­pre­ci­ate on the trail. The top piv­ots on the hard­ware, mak­ing it easy for one per­son to put the en­tire Su­per­top Clas­sic down. Putting the top back up is most eas­ily ac­com­plished by two peo­ple though. 10

9 With the up­per doors re­moved and the side win­dows rolled up, we have an open ve­hi­cle while still be­ing pro­tected from the el­e­ments. This con­fig­u­ra­tion is sig­nif­i­cantly qui­eter and less windy at high­way speeds than run­ning with no top at all. 9

8 Bestop sells the soft doors in­de­pen­dently of its Su­per­top in case you want to run fac­tory steel doors. Our Land Cruiser did not come with doors, so we or­dered up the Bestop soft doors at the same time as the top. The doors are two­piece to al­low you to re­move the up­per win­dow sec­tion and con­vert them to half-doors. 8

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