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Hightop poptop/ Westy top lift kit?
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Rocky Mountain Westy
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 6:21 pm    Post subject: Hightop poptop/ Westy top lift kit? Reply with quote

Howdy Folks,

So my brain never really stops the churn. It is always thinking "oh, that would be cool!" There has been a recurring theme and it won't go away. I have been watching lots of people go to hightops. Seems like NAHT are the go to choice or maybe the one that is available. I love the idea of a high top. I am working on a Mtdi Adventure wagen amongst many other projects. It seems like the NAHT thing is a commitment. $3500 plus shipping or travel to pick it up. Then the finishing out and installation is a decent size project. Here is what I am thinking.

This one is for the Westy owners at this point. Maybe someday if this becomes reality, We will figure out a tin top version. What about a lift kit of sorts for your Westy top? Think of it with nice esthetics and really good fit and finish. Moulded and contoured so that it appears factory made. We would remake the front luggage carrier so that part would not be reused. It would reuse the factory canvas, hinges, h bar all the things. The main difference is you would have 6'5" clearance inside and then you could pop the top and have your top bed made up and ready to crawl into. I have even thought about possibly two different height options. It would ship on a standard pallet or a pallet size crate So no oversized shipping. The goal would be to install in a weekend. It wouldn't require any major modification to the van if any.

It would be made out of an Aluminum skeleton with a moulded and contoured plastic skin. It could have window options and possibly options for mounting awnings and other accessories. The front nose cone would have interior storage like the existing high tops. It would come completely finished on the inside.

It is kind of a big project but I feel compelled to give it some design time and some R&D time. My goal would be to keep the price a bit under $5k. I would probably have to sell 80-100 of them over time to justify the R&D and tools and molds required to do it.

What do you think? Can you see it? I think it would look similar to an Adventure Wagen top except with a pop up. I value your thoughts and input.

Thanks, Mike
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Kombi///M3
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 6:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Hightop poptop/ Westy top lift kit? Reply with quote

I thought of the same thing. Kinda like the high roof
Sprinter with pop top. I like the versatility of the pop top
When it comes to rooftop storage..box, boards, bikes etc.
Ideally is what you're referring, a little bit of height inside
while the top is stowed. I think the luggage rack would need
Shorten a bit to compensate on the front windshield contour.

I'm still contemplating on high top, but I like your idea.
Post some rough schematic.
Good luck!
I really like this one.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Last edited by Kombi///M3 on Sat Jan 02, 2021 9:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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mrshrimp
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 6:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Hightop poptop/ Westy top lift kit? Reply with quote

I would love something like an adventure wagon top height that pops up. Extra dry storage and shelter when camping in cold wet weather and when solo, but also sleeps four for family camping trips. Iíve always thought and adventure wagon top could be fitted to pop up, using some of the original westy hardware. Just need to consider how to make two piece or maybe the entire top pops up. Think NAHT has the mold or at least used to sell them.

But I think a lot of folks would like what you are thinking.
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dobryan Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 8:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Hightop poptop/ Westy top lift kit? Reply with quote

Awesome idea. Please get this done by November 2021 so I can put it on my West Coast Westy. And 6í5Ē headroom is perfect! Very Happy
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Kombi///M3
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 8:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Hightop poptop/ Westy top lift kit? Reply with quote

Like this.

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Rocky Mountain Westy
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 9:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Hightop poptop/ Westy top lift kit? Reply with quote

Kombi///M3 wrote:
Like this.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


a few less zero's in the price but yeah sort of.
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jimf909 Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 11:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Hightop poptop/ Westy top lift kit? Reply with quote

I may not be tracking, but like this?

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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Current: 1990 Westy Camper - Bostig RG4, 2wd, manual trans w/Peloquin, NAHT high-top, Flash Silver, seam rust, bondo, etc., etc.

Past: 1985 Westy Camper - 1.9 wbx, 2wd, manual trans, Merian Brown, (sold after 17 years to Northwesty who converted it to a Syncro).
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 11:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Hightop poptop/ Westy top lift kit? Reply with quote

Kombi///M3 wrote:
Like this.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


We already have that. It's called a pop-top Westy. Gee, I wonder where MB got the idea? Very Happy

RMW- a pop-top high top like the Reimo or Carthago would be awesome. Always wished we had gotten those over here.
Building it so we could reuse the existing Westy canvas, hinges, push-bar, etc would be a huge cost savings. It would be great to have the constant headroom with lower overall profile when driving vs a hightop but better height in the upper bunk when camped vs an AW or even the Westy hightop (had one, it was like sleeping in a coffin up there).
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Kombi///M3
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 12:45 am    Post subject: Re: Hightop poptop/ Westy top lift kit? Reply with quote

MsTaboo wrote:
Kombi///M3 wrote:
Like this.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


We already have that. It's called a pop-top Westy. Gee, I wonder where MB got the idea? Very Happy

RMW- a pop-top high top like the Reimo or Carthago would be awesome. Always wished we had gotten those over here.
Building it so we could reuse the existing Westy canvas, hinges, push-bar, etc would be a huge cost savings. It would be great to have the constant headroom with lower overall profile when driving vs a hightop but better height in the upper bunk when camped vs an AW or even the Westy hightop (had one, it was like sleeping in a coffin up there).


I guess Westfalia still running strong.
I'm referring to the high roof sprinter with pop top.
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syncrodoka
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 1:12 am    Post subject: Re: Hightop poptop/ Westy top lift kit? Reply with quote

Kombi///M3 wrote:
MsTaboo wrote:
Kombi///M3 wrote:
Like this.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


We already have that. It's called a pop-top Westy. Gee, I wonder where MB got the idea? Very Happy

RMW- a pop-top high top like the Reimo or Carthago would be awesome. Always wished we had gotten those over here.
Building it so we could reuse the existing Westy canvas, hinges, push-bar, etc would be a huge cost savings. It would be great to have the constant headroom with lower overall profile when driving vs a hightop but better height in the upper bunk when camped vs an AW or even the Westy hightop (had one, it was like sleeping in a coffin up there).



I guess Westfalia still running strong.
I'm referring to the high roof sprinter with pop top.

That is a westfalia, even says it above the windshield. They were around long before VWs and will keep on going without them.
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4Gears4Tires
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:08 am    Post subject: Re: Hightop poptop/ Westy top lift kit? Reply with quote

Kombi///M3 wrote:
I really like this one.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


That is awesome. I want this pop top. I looked at Reimo's website and it is not available. Does anyone know if this is a custom job?
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DuncanS
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:22 am    Post subject: Re: Hightop poptop/ Westy top lift kit? Reply with quote

A couple of comments. This topic had a bunch of design, potential customer feedback and good information.

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=575530&highlight=aluminum+high+top

I don't quite understand the aluminum frame. Perhaps you are thinking of a three part item so it can be shipped more easily? It seems to me the place to start would be with boat builders. If you are going to make 80/100 of these, you could use a well made female mold. With a gelcoat sprayed in first, the exterior finish would be paint ready. If you were to use a foam core and vacuum bag a lightweight sandwich, there would be no need for the aluminum frame as it would be stiff and rigid enough as a monocoque structure. Aluminum plates would need to be inserted during the molding process to develop hard points for hinges and struts. Wiring could also be added at the same time to give solar panels, exterior lighting capability or interior sound and light options. In addition, the foam would provide some insulation value and prevent sweating due to condensation.

Although most nesting dinghies--that's the term to use to Google take-apart dinghies--use large flanges to carry the flexing loads treated by waves, you wouldn't need that.

https://bandbyachtdesigns.com/spindrift

A simple reinforced flange which would not rob interior space could be created so once the customer received it, bolts would permanently put it together. With the use of 3M 5200 at the seam, it would never come apart nor leak.

And lastly, there is Chesapeake Light Craft which knows how to create excellent, easy to construct kits which they ship all over the world.

http://www.clcboats.com/?gclid=Cj0KCQiA88X_BRDUARI...G4EALw_wcB

If you post drawings and ideas, your customers will provide the marketing response you need so the project is less likely to be a dud.

Sounds like an interesting project, keep going and let us know what your are thinking.

A final P.S. comment. In the marine world, many boat manufacturers failed because they wanted to reach the greatest possible market and created designs for very tall people and wound up with ungainly boats no one wanted. Trying to get more than 6' 2 or three inches sounds tough in this regard. Most very tall people have learned how to deal with their size by ducking or sleeping on the diagonal. In your case a basketball player can easily stand up by popping the top.

Good luck, Duncan
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:07 am    Post subject: Re: Hightop poptop/ Westy top lift kit? Reply with quote

Interesting concept - I interpreted it to be a framework that extends the van body upward some inches, then the original pop-top operating on top of that.

Great for some but for me the big advantage of the stock Westy is that I can park it in my garage. Indeed, every time we shop for a home I measure the garage entrance before I get attached to anything.
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syncrodoka
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:44 am    Post subject: Re: Hightop poptop/ Westy top lift kit? Reply with quote

4Gears4Tires wrote:
Kombi///M3 wrote:
I really like this one.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


That is awesome. I want this pop top. I looked at Reimo's website and it is not available. Does anyone know if this is a custom job?

That was a top they offered. The mould for that top was located in 2019 and offered back to reimo but they passed on it. It was exported from Europe and someone stateside has it now, I wish they would start remaking that top.
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jimf909 Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:16 am    Post subject: Re: Hightop poptop/ Westy top lift kit? Reply with quote

Having gone to a high-top I don't quite get the hybrid high-top-pop-top. It has the disadvantages of needing high clearances without the advantages of dry, all weather camping. That said, few concepts get more likes here and on fb than the Reimo hybrid so I'm not representative of that segment.

I think a reversible Westy pop-top "lift-kit" would have tremendous appeal to all the "keep it stock", "maybe it would be garagable" high-top naysayers. 6" - 8" of added clearance under the pop-top would be a big improvement in usability.

Given that every run of 30 NAHTs seem to sell out quickly a required market of 100 buyers seems reasonable.

$5K seems reasonable since that's what folks are spending for an NAHT.
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Current: 1990 Westy Camper - Bostig RG4, 2wd, manual trans w/Peloquin, NAHT high-top, Flash Silver, seam rust, bondo, etc., etc.

Past: 1985 Westy Camper - 1.9 wbx, 2wd, manual trans, Merian Brown, (sold after 17 years to Northwesty who converted it to a Syncro).
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 12:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Hightop poptop/ Westy top lift kit? Reply with quote

jimf909 wrote:
Having gone to a high-top I don't quite get the hybrid high-top-pop-top. It has the disadvantages of needing high clearances without the advantages of dry, all weather camping. That said, few concepts get more likes here and on fb than the Reimo hybrid so I'm not representative of that segment.

I think a reversible Westy pop-top "lift-kit" would have tremendous appeal to all the "keep it stock", "maybe it would be garagable" high-top naysayers. 6" - 8" of added clearance under the pop-top would be a big improvement in usability.

Given that every run of 30 NAHTs seem to sell out quickly a required market of 100 buyers seems reasonable.

$5K seems reasonable since that's what folks are spending for an NAHT.


The main advantage of the pop-top high top is a lower overall profile. You can have just enough height to allow average people to stand up all the time and more sleeping room when popped.
Your point about better weather and sound insulation of a fixed hightop is valid, but the canvas sided pop tops offer better summertime enjoyment. I love popping the top on my Westy, unzipping the windows and having all that fresh air when sleeping. My hightop Westy, even with two roof vents was very stuffy.

Like I mentioned earlier, the trouble with the hightop is the headroom in the sleeping bunk. If you build the hightop to allow ample sleeping room then the overall profile gets too tall. I didn't look for the picture but there are a few hightops out there that are stratospherically tall!

Yes, any departure from the low profile Westy pop top means no average garage parking but many people would be willing to trade that (like regular hightoppers) for the added room.

If that Riemo mold is in America maybe RMW could reach out and offer a partnership to get the mold refurbished and tops made. However mods would have to be made to allow use of existing Westy canvas and hardware to save money for the customers. Not sure whether that's possible, I've never seen a Riemo in person so no idea of constraints. But starting with an existing mold seems like a cheaper starting point.

IMHO a mod to reuse the original Westy pop top on a raised platform would be kinda goofy looking, not something I would pay money for. I like the more streamline profile of the Reimo/Carthago tops. Something that looks purpose made and not a kludge.
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jimf909 Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 1:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Hightop poptop/ Westy top lift kit? Reply with quote

MsTaboo wrote:
jimf909 wrote:
Having gone to a high-top I don't quite get the hybrid high-top-pop-top. It has the disadvantages of needing high clearances without the advantages of dry, all weather camping. That said, few concepts get more likes here and on fb than the Reimo hybrid so I'm not representative of that segment.

I think a reversible Westy pop-top "lift-kit" would have tremendous appeal to all the "keep it stock", "maybe it would be garagable" high-top naysayers. 6" - 8" of added clearance under the pop-top would be a big improvement in usability.

Given that every run of 30 NAHTs seem to sell out quickly a required market of 100 buyers seems reasonable.

$5K seems reasonable since that's what folks are spending for an NAHT.


The main advantage of the pop-top high top is a lower overall profile. You can have just enough height to allow average people to stand up all the time and more sleeping room when popped.
Your point about better weather and sound insulation of a fixed hightop is valid, but the canvas sided pop tops offer better summertime enjoyment. I love popping the top on my Westy, unzipping the windows and having all that fresh air when sleeping. My hightop Westy, even with two roof vents was very stuffy.



Agreed on your points above.

I'll add that the NAHT (the one I have) is possibly the ugliest of them all and the lower profile of the Remo has improved looks similar to the best looking high-top, the AW (IMHO), but opens up to beat the cramped interior space of the AW while getting the spaciousness of the NAHT.

The more I think about this, the retrofit that the OP is describing could be a big win for many with the added benefit of being available. The wildcard is if it can be made to look good. Raising the Westy pop-top straight may leave an awkward space between the van and the pop-top.

Mike, you've proven that you can design and deliver top-notch products for the Vanagon. I'm a fan of your bumpers and swing outs. It seems there is potential for what you're describing.
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Current: 1990 Westy Camper - Bostig RG4, 2wd, manual trans w/Peloquin, NAHT high-top, Flash Silver, seam rust, bondo, etc., etc.

Past: 1985 Westy Camper - 1.9 wbx, 2wd, manual trans, Merian Brown, (sold after 17 years to Northwesty who converted it to a Syncro).
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mrshrimp
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 2:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Hightop poptop/ Westy top lift kit? Reply with quote

Think price would need to be under 3k for folks that already have a pop top.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 2:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Hightop poptop/ Westy top lift kit? Reply with quote

Itís only an opinion, but I think some of the appeal of a fixed high top is for stealth urban camping. Seems to be more of that going on. A popped top always looks like someone is camping. 80 - 100 units sounds ambitious. Looking forward to what you come up with.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Hightop poptop/ Westy top lift kit? Reply with quote

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


For those that are reading this thread and may be wondering, my Adventurewagen (15Ē wheels/tires) fits in our standard height garage just fine.

I think one consideration is the climate in the area that one spends their time in. The wet, cool Northwest where I am favors the drier and warmer hard top. At least it does for me - and Iíve had more than one of both. Drying out the canvas and trying to keep everything warm and dry inside where I camp got old. Hard tops are also a whole lot quieter when the wind is howling outside. Flapping canvas kept us awake on a lot of nights. Also a lot quieter when thereís a group of partiers camped nearby.
Donít get me wrong, just some things to consider. I like pop tops too. But a quiet, dry, warm and insulated hightop with full time headroom works best for us for these reasons.
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