Friday, June 17, 2011
Soft tops for Land Rovers
The iconic Land Rover Defender 90 was sold in the United States from 1994-1997. If you own one of those trucks, or a grey market rig, or an older Series vehicle, you may be in the market for a new top. Perhaps your top is just old and ratty, or maybe a jealous husband shot it full of holes as you fled down the street one night. Whatever the reason, most original soft tops are due for replacement by now.
In addition to folks with ratty soft tops, there are people with hard top trucks, who dream of fresh air and canvas. Finally there are a few of you who long for that musty smell of canvas, first experienced in Macedonia with the Foreign Legion.
Many good suppliers offer Defender and Series soft tops. The best known are those from Rovers North and Atlantic British. The best quality top, by a substantial margin, is made by a geek on the cape they call The Badger. The Badger, or Chris Laws as it says on his mug shot, has been making Land Rover tops in a small shop out there since the beginning. I have installed many of them over the years and cannot praise them highly enough. Here's a link to his website.
His tops have resisted sun fading, tears from trees, intrusive children, marauding rodents, and much more while still looking great. The top in the photo at the top is six years old!
Hard top trucks can be converted to soft top with the removal of the original top and fitment of a soft top frame and canvas.
Here are some details of the top showing how it's finished
The workmanship on these tops is really good, and the material is of significantly better quality that what's found on lesser products. The Badger tops seem costly, but they are well worth the money if you're after the best, or in it for the long term. I have found the original Land Rover canvas tatters in 6-7 years while the Badger material is still looking new.
See you on the trail!