How These Manufacturers of Jeep Tops Got Their Starts

As many of you probably know, Jeeps really came into existence around WWII at the request of the U.S. Army, who was in desperate need for a new type of transportation. Almost simultaneously, Jeep tops were created as a companion to these new vehicles. Of course, since WWII many of the original companies are no longer around or prevalent, so it’s interesting to note which of the original manufacturers of Jeep tops are still flourishing and which have become known more recently. Here’s a brief history of some of the top current manufacturers of Jeep tops.


For over 50 years, Bestop has been one of the leading manufacturers of Jeep tops. They were there at the very beginning when America was calling for help. At first they were just a tiny business in Boulder, Colorado that made small trim for canvas Jeep tops on WWII Jeeps. But over the years, they expanded into full Jeep tops, both hard and soft versions, plus an array of Jeep accessories until they had become one of the top manufacturers of Jeep tops in the US.


Even though Smittybilt has some of the leading Jeep tops in the industry, they didn’t start with that specific goal in mind. Basil Smith, otherwise known as “Smitty,” was one of the original four wheel drive enthusiasts and had an incredible passion for everything off-road, whether it was Jeep, truck, or SUV-related. In 1956 he opened his own small machine shop right in his garage with the goal of providing quality off-roading equipment for both trucks and Jeeps. This shop was called Rock-ett Products, but it evolved into what we now know as Smittybilt. When Basil’s son Tom took over the business, he was able to expand into a new arena of products including Jeep tops and nerf bars. Today that product line offers over 2,000 unique products.


Rugged Ridge
As a more recent independent manufacturer and wholesale-only Jeep parts company, this is one of the smaller manufacturers of Jeep tops on this list. However, since Rugged Ridge is a division of Omix-Ada, it is part of the world’s largest independent manufacturer of Jeep parts and accessories. The owner and founder of Omix-Ada had dreamt of owning his own Jeep parts company since he was a little boy growing up on his family’s Jeep dealership. In 1992, his dream came true. Now, their quality Jeep tops are competing with the big boys of the industry.


Mopar stands for “Motor Parts” and is actually a faction of the Chrysler Group. So why is it on a list about Jeep tops? Because In 1987, Chrysler bought out AMC-Jeep and leapt headfirst into the Jeeper community. While they don’t hold a huge share of the Jeep tops market, the one they produce is top of the line. Their 3-piece Freedom Hardtop offers more customization and features than any other available. In this case, Mopar sticks to a smaller niche and makes sure those Jeep tops are the best they can be.

These 4 companies are some of the top manufacturers of Jeep tops in the industry, which makes it even more amazing how different they are from one another. The best part is that with such a variety of backgrounds, you’ll be able to find what you need no matter what it is.

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