by Bart McNeil
Return to the Early Civilian Jeep Hardtops table of contents.
This early-1950's brochure advertises the "Jeep Sedan Body" built by Laurel C. Worman, Incorporated, Toledo, Ohio, also makers of "Jee-Cab" aluminum hardtops.
The text reads in part: "For the past five years we have been planning and engineering this completely new Jeep Sedan Body... built in response to the many requests and practical ideas presented by satisfied Worman JEE-CAB owners during the past five years. This body has many features never before incorporated in any Jeep body or metal enclosure. The Jeep Sedan Body will change the appearance of the Jeep and definitely make it have the characteristics of a station wagon. It will make any owner proud because of its individuality."
Roy Worman, the grandson of Laurel C. Worman, was surprised and delighted to see his grandfather's name on this brochure on The CJ3B Page. The surprise to us was when he revealed that Laurel C. Worman was a Toledo car dealer and not a manufacturer of hard tops. In his Packard/Willys dealership he apparently took domestic orders for hard tops, while Willys handled foreign orders (see small print in brochure).
There is, of course, nothing sinister in this business practice, but in trying to put together some kind of an understanding of the hard top industry it is more than a trifle confusing. The sentence in the brochure stating that these tops were tested in the Willys plant implies close ties to Willys.
The cover image shows their deluxe version, which they refer to as a "Sedan Body." It was available in both steel and aluminum, with roof made of plastic. Although using the term "sedan", they also suggest that it has the features of a "station wagon." Sedan maybe, but station wagon? I don't know.
The Sedan Body was an attractive top, but either it didn't sell well or tended to deteriorate with age, as we have found no examples of this top on or off a Jeep. Possibly the plastic roof might have broken down prematurely in sunlight.
See a CJ-3B postal Jeep prototype with a Sedan Body in U.S. Mail Via CJ-3B on The CJ3B Page.
The Worman brochure also shows the "Regular Jee-Cabs." It was likely printed prior to 1955 as no mention is made of the CJ-5. The Jee-Cabs are all-aluminum and are strikingly similar to Koenig's less expensive steel hard tops and most of the Sears steel and aluminum tops.
See a large reproduction of the open brochure (200K GIF) describing the features of both the Jee-Cabs and the Jeep Sedan Body.
The term "regular" is applied to the Jee-Cab aluminum tops to differentiate them from the more expensive and newly designed Sedan Bodies. The windows are divided and slide horizontally. The identifying features of these Jee-Cabs seems to be the bottom silhouette of the aluminum sides which is roundish starting in front of the door and following the curve of the body opening fairly closely. Most other tops are either angular or have a sharp corner where the bottom of the door begins its rise. This is of course a minor difference but is just about the only feature that sets them apart visually from other less expensive hard tops of the time.
If we step back a few years to 1949 and examine Jee-Cabs on CJ-2A's, we can see a significant change in the shape of the Jee-Cab aluminum tops. The 1949 tops as seen here have a rounded roof as it leaves the windshield and as it curves to meet the rear vertical, while in contrast the Jee-Cabs pictured above in the 1953 brochure have flat roofs.
The Jee-Cab doors are an attempt to give a little more entry space than found on a Sears standard aluminum top. It is a little hard to see but the hinge is not vertical as they are on the Sears aluminum top. Instead the hinge is tilted slightly to give a little more foot room on entry.
Worman also offered a Super De Luxe Jee-Cab (140K GIF) which was a standard cab fitted out with insulation.
Worman advertised Jee-Cabs designed for military jeeps, with removable doors and lift gate. The weight of the full cab was 55 pounds.
See the full page (120K GIF) from the Special Equipment Book.
The military half Jee-Cab had a similar rounded top. All versions, early and late, appear to have had the distinctive rounded door.
See also the civilian half Jee-Cab (140K GIF) with a larger rear window.
A pre-1950 Willys-Overland advertisement seen in Patrick Foster's Jeep has two images which are worth examining. Both hard tops pictured on CJ-2A's are Worman Jee-Cabs although there is no mention of Worman tops in the advertisement. See the full page ad (200K JPEG.)
Who made Worman hard tops? So far, we only know who didn't make them: Laurel C. Worman. -- Bart McNeil
Thanks to Bart and to Patrick Foster's Jeep and the Bovee family for the Willys-Overland 1949 Special Equipment Book images. The 1950's Jeep Sedan brochure is from Bob Stewart. -- Derek Redmond
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