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Looking for DJ-3A Fastback Style Top Measurements

• CATEGORIES: DJ-3A, Features • TAGS: , .

UPDATE II: Charles spotted the 2010 post below that shows a DJ-3A auctioned on eBay from Massachusetts. Anyone recognize it or know the previous or current owner?


UPDATE: Bill tells me they are also looking for pictures of any surviving examples of tops and the bows themselves. The bows are the most important item they need to duplicate. The top is something we can construct but without a correct set of bows we won’t be on the mark. 

Bill and Charles are seeking the measurements for the DJ-3A Fastback Style Top like the one shown below. There’s currently a thread about it here, but so far no one has had any luck finding them.

As I look at these two pictures, it appears to me that top folded up like a Jeepster top. I’ve never noticed that before. I’ve never run across one of these tops in the real world, only in brochures or press photos.

dj3a-sport-top-up dj3a-sport-top-down2


16 Comments on “Looking for DJ-3A Fastback Style Top Measurements

  1. Mike Finegan

    Sometimes you just have to be innovative and Go for it. A top like this is basic in design and not that difficult to make. This style top, (at the time known as a convertible top) preceded the modern day convertible tops that first appeared around 1961 on CJ5 models. ( Witco Kayline Bestline ) If you took a folding top frame from any one of these top manufacturers for a 2A – 3A Jeep and shortened the rear frame bar so that it would not extend as far to the rear but kept the height, you would have your basic shape for the slanted rear look on this top. From that point on, it’s all measure, cut and fit. If you can find an old Singer commercial walking foot sewing machine, (people give these machines away) you could make one yourself. Trust me, it easy; and once you get started, you begin to take pride in your work.

  2. Bill Foshay

    Mike, that is exactly our plan if we cannot find an original to copy. So far we have not seen the actual bow assemblies, or how they were attached to the jeep. In fact, until this week, we didn’t realize the top was designed to fold down like shown in Dave’s’ picture above. The parts books I have list parts by number and name for the two completely different tops sold for the DJ3A, but there are no pictures. There was a high windshield top that was pretty much like a 3A top, but the convertible model used a very different top, and didn’t use the 3A style bows.

    If anyone has original top bows for the convertible model, we’d love to get the chance to measure and document them. A good photograph would be a tremendous help. Thanks, everyone!!

  3. Charles Tate

    Thanks Dave! I bought my dj just over a year ago in Arkansas. Looking back I probably saved it from the scrap yard. It was completely covered in bondo. It had been wrecked from the rear and the front axle was twisted. The back panel had been cut out. The rear axle was out of a pinto and everything except the motor and drivetrain that wasn’t welded on had been stripped off and discarded somewhere along the way.

    The more I stripped away the layers of bondo the more unusual features I began to notice, and investigate. No top bow sockets. Original holes that I couldn’t explain or find answers for. The short windshield with holes in it. The fact that I couldn’t find but very few pictures of a dj convertible.

    You can see our journey of discovery on the forum link that Dave referenced. ANY information, comments, pictures, measurements, or speculation will be greatly appreciated!

    Charles Tate aka PapaC (that’s what my grandkids call me)

  4. John Hartman

    I’m not up to speed on this stuff, so I can’t help. But that’s a pretty cool looking top. Somewhat similar to some Jeepsters. It’s so stylish I encourage you to make your own too if needed. Good luck.

  5. Owensboro Bob

    Where is a good place to purchase vinyl to make a top like that? I’m tempted to give it a shot after things slow down after Christmas.

  6. Mike Finegan

    Bob, I’ve shopped on Ebay for vinyl & checked out my local upholstery shops and find good deals on remnants; Can’t go wrong. Even if you make mistakes and have to do it over, you still gain experience and save a lot of money. Vinyl comes in 3 grades; don’t buy the thin vinyl, grade #1, it will tear too easy and won’t hold up. look for the thicker vinyls that have some “give” to them. I started sewing when I found an old Singer walking Foot sitting at the curb and began sewing upholstery for my Willys wagon and CJ5. You can do it. If you need any tips, I’ll be happy to pass them along.

  7. Bill Foshay

    Mike, next walking foot Singer you find at the curb,set it aside for us…I have a nice old Singer but not walking foot. Been looking for years, literally.
    Thank you Dave for updating the thread…we really do need to find an original DJ3A equipped with the convertible style top to measure from. Hopefully these are not as rare as we are starting to think….

  8. Bill Foshay

    The one in Colorado (a 2A) uses a 2A windshield and a 2A style middle bow….. and snaps along the edges. The top we are after uses the low profile DJ3A/3B windshield with hooks for top fastening along the rear and sides, and also has doors similar to a 3A but shorter. The main feature that is unique to it is that it folds down for storage, unlike most flatfender tops that remove completely and stow wherever you choose. But thanks for the link anyhow, it is different for sure!

  9. Owensboro Bob

    Thanks Mike. My machine isn’t a walking foot. It’s a singer 591 industrial but I think it will do the job. How can I contact you if I decide to take this on?
    I’ve checked with my local upholstery supply shop and they sell a vinyl that looks more suited to boat seats than vinyl tops. It looks like online will be the way I have to go.
    I get to Louisville often and not too far from Evansville, Ind., so may be able to check out a few places there.

  10. Mike Finegan

    Bob, glad to hear you’re going to give this a try; sounds like you have a better machine than I do, which should make your job easier. Here is my email address; Any questions just ask, I always reply. Mike

  11. Another Bob

    Thanks Mike. When I get started on this, I’ll shoot you an email. maybe you could give me some pointers.

  12. DJ Bill

    We are still looking for surviving original examples of this top if anyone has knowledge of them. There is supposed to be one in the Memphis area that is very low mileage and was featured on the jeep calendar that Bill Norris put out. We have discovered the top may not be removable like most jeep tops, once installed. The parts list included attaching welt and tacks…and two bows that remain a mystery how they were attached to each other and the tub.. The 1956 DJ3A parts list is not illustrated for this particular top. The 1945 parts list does not include it, no DJ’s then. If anyone has a later master parts list and would like to take the time to check to see if the low silhouette windshield folding top is in it or any illustrations it would help us out.

    Willys also did not include this top in the service manual I have. It is like they were keeping it a secret. Most likely there were so few built that they figured it wasn’t worth the time to document??

  13. Charles Tate

    Mr. Kaiser didn’t like sports cars, which is what the the dispatcher convertible was advertised as. But his WIFE did. I read up on it.

    That said these things were sadly underpowered ….especially for a sports car….especially when compared to EVERY thing else at the time.

    We actually found a RED one hidden away in a warehouse in TN….with a fastback style white canvas top! Same as the green one with the black top.

    The red body had been repainted at some point. But the engine compartment looked original and red. Still had the trim tag underneath the serial number plate. The ‘white canvas top itself looked to me correct, and OLD.

    Still looking for more of these to help confirm.

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