In the 1950s, Tom Bradley had an upholstery shop in Boulder, Colorado. Among his customers were people who needed repairs made to the cloth tops of their Jeeps. Bradley decided he could fashion better enclosures for those vehicles, and started doing so under the Bestop brand name.
By 1986, Bestop was an original equipment supplier to Jeep, although half of the company’s business remains aftermarket products, which include not only roof systems for Jeeps, but for other off-road vehicles, including ATVs, as well as a variety of hard parts for off-roaders.
Bestop also makes doors and windows, seats and seat covers. It also has soft tops for vintage Jeeps and for other vehicles, from vintage Ford Broncos and International Scouts to the Toyota Landcruiser FJ40 and Suzuki Sidekick/Geo Tracker.
That latter part of the business started years ago when Bestop acquired another Colorado firm, Dualmatic, which produced locking hubs and other parts. More recently, Bestop has acquired Baja Designs, which specializes in lighting systems, and Tuffy Security Products, which produces a variety of secure storage systems which work well in vehicles with soft or removable tops.
In addition to its headquarters in Louisville, Colo., manufacturing facilities in Colorado and Mexico, and sales offices on other continents, Bestop has an engineering and design facility in Sterling Heights.
The 2017 Bestop catalog for Jeeps and similar vehicles spans 88 pages. It also has a separate 24-page catalog of products for pickups and sport utility vehicles, including tonneau covers; Supertop, a soft and foldable cap-style truck bed enclosure with removable side windows; Powerboard running boards/vehicle-side steps that move into position for egress but then hide away while driving; and Treksteps that hide beneath the rear bumper when not needed.
Bestop’s newest products for JK Wranglers involves its Trektop NX soft-top series — the NX Glide and NX Plus.
The Trektop series gives Jeeps a fastback roofline.
The NX Glide offers a complete convertible top, folks flag behind the rear seat, and has zipperless side and rear windows. It can be used bikini style, as a full convertible, or as a fully enclosed roof.
NX Plus has similar features but with easier installation, removal and operation, the company said. It also has a Sunrider feature that operates like the sunroof in other vehicles. The roof about the front seats can be opened from those seats; there is no need to get out of the vehicle to open that section.
The company also produces a Sunrider design for Jeeps with hard tops.
“The aftermarket can do a multitude of things to satisfy customer needs,” said Eric Getzschman, Bestop’s director of aftermarket product development. Getzschman’s grandfather and father were previously part of the Bestop team, and he pointed out customer needs mean not just offering a variety of products, but a range of aesthetic (including both styles and colors) and pricing solutions.
For example, soft tops are available in oak tan, crushed red pepper, granite gray, pebble beige and navy blue hues.
For more information, visit www.bestop.com.