My post is not very clear. I'm not actually looking for the soft top itself. I'm looking for an FJ43 with a soft top and soft ambulance doors.
If you're looking for just the soft top, you probably will have to have it made. I see FJ43's coming out of Colombia with new soft tops so somebody must be making them down there.
I am having an FJ43 done right now in Colombia. unfortunately I dont have the photos of the bars being painted. It is a labor intensive process as each metal top is custom fit then later the soft top is sewn for each truck.
Here is how it works:
1. order metal bars as a kit or some installers make them custom
2. fit the bare metal bars to the FJ40/FJ43. they make adjustments to the metal bars
3. take the bars down and have them anti rust painted and then painted body color
4. fit them to the truck and measure and sew up the top. they make adjustments the entire time
Takes 2 to 3 weeks. I am at $2000 using Colombian labor.
Other issue is every truck I have taken the hard top off of has surface rust where the top meets the top and the windshield. This blue truck we pulled the windshield and painted it in the paint booth. note the rails we are repainting. the truck itself had good paint.
Sorry I am not very helpfull at this point but I hope you can see that this is not a Best Top 'kit' and never will be. there is too much paint work and custom fitting involved.
maybe there is a way to design the soft top so that you can tighten it down/adjust at the end.
The Colombian soft tops I am certain are the best in the world due to the fact they install them all them time. There are varying degrees of quality depending on each shop.
This is the 1981 FJ43 red one I imported and sold. Top was done by someone before I bought it. it is a nice top but I can get a little nicer one from my sources.
On my current red 1982 FJ43 I am designing a custom "surfrunner top". It is a protype for now. Idea is to get the profile of the traditional top but avoid the high costs for the Toyota style B pillar and the costly rear doors. It also has the advantage of being more easily put up and taken down.
Many clients want the hard top so the idea is to export the truck with the hard top and this 'surfunner top'. Here we are working on it. I have been at it for over a month.
This one is made out of Sunbrella material. Idea is to keep the front cabin dry and just run with the sides open. The rear door will be a mesh canvas door in matching tan. When I had the full soft top 1981 FJ43 I ran with it with all the sides open 90% of the time anyway and just garaged it at night with the sides open. This is what gave me the idea. I have no idea my costs in it bec it is a prototype.
This top MAY be more forgiving in terms of fitment.
What I have taken away from all of these tops though is the amount of CUSTOM WORK that goes into them. I think that is why they look so good.
The full traditional soft tops the way they are designed are very hard to take down and put back up. you usually just put up the sides.
Custom fitting the metal bars for the Surfunner top... I essentially have blown the budget on this 82 FJ43 in terms of time due to experimenting with this idea. Those metal bars were designed and made by hand. Fit to this particular truck. Note the white band from where hard top was.
This Surfrunner top has a 'foot' there where you can pull the bar/bow out of to remove the top quickly. On a traditional full soft top it the bar/bow would be bolted directly into the tub and thus tough to take down or put back up.
So for now I am doing the full top and possibly 'surfunner top' as options for clients who buy my trucks.
To offer them to the public I would have to overcome...
1. educating buyers that this a costly, custom option
2. overcoming the 'custom fit' issue. possibly could make the soft top like the classic Land Rover tops a bit where you drawn down a looser top.
3. Still though from what I see even the metal bars have to be adjusted. These are 30 year old trucks and the tubs vary a bit.
4. shipping, sales and customer service infrastructure for what is a very niche market (although certainly the FJ40 guys would want these tops too)
I have probably added more questions than answers to this discussion.
I have sold 5 trucks so far and have 5 trucks in process for. I have bought and will sell 5 FJ43s this year 2014 which likely makes me the number one source for FJ43s in the US. Hopefully as I do more of these trucks I will learn more.
Photo of the metal bars for FJ43 manufactured in Colombia. It comes bare metal. We painted it with anti corrosion primer then body color blue.
I saw one in Florida that the guy bought in the USA. I am not sure who made it but I was not impressed with the quality compared to this one above. I think you can get the USA made one for around $900. This one here I am not sure as my installer bought it as part of a package price with the top.
Costs me around $2000 for the entire job plus paint work.
To be clear are those trucks above now sitting in Canada or are you offering to export/import and register them in Canada for that price? I am pretty certain my Bogota contact reviewed that yellow truck above in Bogota. I could be wrong. Could have been another yellow one I passed on. The way I do it is I only export trucks that I have personally reviewed, overhauled for atleast 30 days in Colombia and then a few days with my mechanic in Tampa. Most of these trucks have a ton of deferred maintenance and are pretty awful to drive when I first get them. I just drove a very nicely painted and restored Land Rover that had TERRIBLE breaks, engine and transmission. Drives me insane as brakes are the FIRST thing I overhaul.
Back to soft tops here is an idea I had a year ago which was to do a soft top pickup based on an FJ43. Gives you a small 5 foot bed. I think with the 2 inch lift and 32 inch tires gives it a nice profile/proportion. Bars are custom made and the top will be too. that is a different top that is just draped over.
Hope you guys like it. This truck for instance have spent over 2 months on it and I really glad to get it FINISHED and exported.
Idea is to put a vinyl/clear side window and a rear vinyl window. the bows very quickly convert to a full top with open sides. The canvas part will be 2 tops.
I guess we all got carried away and sidetracked whether poster meant FJ43s with soft tops or just soft tops in general. Mostly my bad on that.
I imported 2 FJ43s so far for 2014 since launching the business. I have 3 more in process. As far as I know I am the only US citizen doing this full time with proper businesses set up in both countries. I have an LLC in Florida that will soon be a registered Florida dealer. This company is also bonded to import. The company that I formed in Colombia is also registered as a car dealer and a Colombian export company.
I only export complete trucks and my pricing on FJ43s are $30,000 to $60,000. Mud members are price sensitive but I am confident in my pricing. 4 out of 5 of my trucks that I sold so far sold to dealers who then later went on to sell them for more money. I am now working on my 5th FJ43 direct for a client. I have 10 trucks that I purchase so far for 2014.
Per pricing having now done a frame off, a second frame off and several overhauls on FJ40s, FJ43s, Nissan Patrol and a Land Rover I see FJ40s as a minimum price of $20,000. You can find a decent one in the US for that price. FJs are classic cars and classic cars/trucks have deferred maintenance, varying levels of paint quality, interior quality on and on.
So I see a $20,000 FJ40 or especially FJ43 as a $20,000 truck that needs another $10,000 to be complete. There are plenty of guys here capable of doing those upgrades and there is nothing wrong with that. To keep my quality level high and to cover my administration and export costs so far I am around $30,000 as a business model.
I am now working on my 5th FJ43 and my 2nd FJ43 direct to a client. He was able to pick among several trucks that I was sourcing for him. His delivered price in Tampa is around $35,000 plus or minus some options.
The above truck is a later series 1979 FJ43. Has the gas tank below like the 1980s models.
Truck has original rust free floors. Probably high miles like most FJ43s guessing could 200,000 to 250,000 miles. Very nice Olive paint. We will however remove the top and repaint all the corrosion that will surely be there (the hard tops scrape the sides over time. Colombians skip this step generally). We paint any scratches and fix any dents. On the inside of the truck we will repaint the dash and sand the floors (they are textured) and paint them. Under the truck is very clean but we will sand and repaint the black frame and the leaf springs.
we are pulling the hard top off and painting inside and out.
Mechanically the truck gets about a week to 2 week overhaul including pulling all the wheels off and checking everything. I have already driven this truck for 2 hours in order to figure out what it needs.
It has a 5 speed (very nice option) and discs but the brakes need overhauling. The steering is completely off.
Truck has power steering. Truck will get new AC system.
We are installing a new interior including insulated floor mat system.
Truck get new exhaust, 5 restored traditional rims and 5 new 32 inch tires. new shocks.
I am sure I am forgetting something. From deposit to delivery should be 75 days. I was able to do that with a gray FJ43 I just delivered and sold.
The paperwork transfer process and the export process is not easy down here. It can take 30 days for me to get the truck into my name (this truck I have in my name already thankfully). I had a 2 month delay exporting my Land Rover. Still need to wait ANOTHER week. I have easily 10 buyers for that truck and have declined taking deposits until I fix the paperwork issue which we will.
So long story short I will do 5 to 7 FJ43s this year and 10 to 15 classic trucks. I have several FJ43 candidates that I am reviewing now if anyone is interested.
This nicely repainted by others 78 blue one had the same thing actually a little more advanced. We pulled the windshield off and repainted it. Spent atleast 2 weeks repainting it. We also detailed the engine and pulled the front apron off and the fenders and repainted.