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Different Versions of the Koenig-Manufactured Hardtop

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UPDATE: Adding to this post, there are a few examples of DJ-3As with wide windowed hardtops. It’s possible they were just using the CJ-5 hardtops.


Original post from March 17, 2020: 


The small rear window can be seen on the back of the top at the left top of this 1956 DJ-3A brochure.

Mike raised a question the other day, which resulted in us learning something new. He was viewing the launch-brochure for the DJ-3A when he noticed that the Koenig-manufactured hardtop was illustrated with a small rear window. Up to that point, Mike and I and several other folks were under the impression that all these tops had the same size rear window, but in fact that was false.

Instead, it appears that in 1955, through 1946(?) and possibly into 1957, Jeep used a small window in the back of the top, before moving to a larger one. Especially with the DJ-3As, with their lack of side windows, that small window would have made backing up difficult, as it would have been hard to see anything behind the driver.

Here are the four types of hardtops of this style identified so far.

  1. This top was available as early as 1955. This photo is a 1955 press photo showing a CJ-5 with the small window in the back. The CJ-5 version of the top also came with side windows. The image below is also available on eBay.
  2. It’s not clear when the transition occurred, but in late 1956 or in 1957 the top began arriving with a much larger window as seen in this photo.
  3. Though an early photo of the DJ-3A with this style of top showed it with windows, the production version was manufactured without side windows.
    1956-dj3a-buffalo-ny8This photo shows the same jeep from the side. You can see the lack of side windows.
  4. This image shows a 1964 hardtop on a DJ-3A with the larger window.
    This photo shows the solid sides:

7 Comments on “Different Versions of the Koenig-Manufactured Hardtop

  1. David Eilers Post author

    Steve, I didn’t notice that. The DJ-3As both have the handles at the front of the doors and the CJ-5s have the handles at the rear. Is this the ‘easy’ way to identify the difference when looking at pics?

    It’s amazing how easy these details are to miss until someone points them out.

    – Dave

  2. Colin Peabody

    The doors on the hardtop version of the DJ3A have handles at the front of the doors, and the doors themselves are on a track so they slide to the rear and lock in position so you can have both doors open for access and ventilation. The rear door above the tailgate came with the small rear window until sometime in 1957. The DJ3A in our fleet #56337 12838 had the small rear window(slightly larger than the artists depiction on the ads but much smaller than the later models) and the cutdown door openings. Somewhere, sometime in the production of the hardtop models between 1956 and 1958, several things changed, the larger rear window was instituted and the “cutdown” doors became available. #12812 is a US Navy version with the hardtop and had the door openings cutdown and a Borg Warner automatic transmission. Previous early hardtop models used the same door openings as the CJ3A/CJ3B, but the cutdown door openings made entry and exit much easier. In 1964, when the model numbers changed for the DJ3A 8202 was for the open or hardtop model and if the hardtop was equipped with side windows, the number became 8203. Surreys were 8204.

  3. Dan B.

    Great article and comments. Thanks to each of you.

    I love the CJ5 and CJ6 hardtops that have the small vertical rear windows adjacent to the large rear window above the tailgate.

  4. David Eilers Post author


    I know of no company making new hardtops for the CJ-5. But, from time to time folks sell their own hardtops that fit CJ-5s. For one in good to great shape will likely cost you about $500-1000, depending on where you live. If you are on Facebook, there is a group dedicated to CJ hardtops:

    – Dave

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