The midsized Jeep® Gladiator (JT) was designed to be the most off-road capable Jeep pickup ever. Building on the rich heritage of the Wrangler, the Gladiator offers an authentic Jeep open-air experience. For those owners who have optioned for a three-piece hard-top, it can be truly hard to find a place to store it once you take it off the vehicle. Sure you have the front “Freedom” panels which can be stored in a canvas bag, but if you want the full open-air experience, you better have extra room in the garage for the rear section of the roof.
But a recent patent uncovered by Muscle Cars & Trucks on the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website, appears that the Jeep design studio may have figured out a solution.
Filed on May 19th, 2021, and published on September 2nd, 2021, the patent shows a unique hard tonneau cover setup, which allows the Gladiator owner to secure their hard-top panels to the top of it.
With the C-pillars detached and removed, the rear window assembly is rotated upward into a nested position within the rear passenger roof panel and subsequently secured. Both of the front Freedom panels and the rear passenger roof panel are then moved to the tonneau cover.
A set of rotating levers helps to make sure that the panels are locked into place while the vehicle is in motion. The cover allows the top to be stored without losing the functionality of the pickup box. So basically, just like if it had a common run-of-the-mill tonneau cover fixed to it.
With the Gladiator due for an update or “mid-cycle-action” (MCA) for the 2024 model year, we aren’t sure if this setup might be offered as part of an optional package, as a Mopar aftermarket part, or just to be showcased on a future concept. Nevertheless, we like the fact that Jeep is continuing to look outside the box to solve common issues that the everyday Jeep enthusiast might have.
Check out the official patent drawings for yourself…
So what do you think about this new hard-top storage idea? Let us know in the comments below or in the MoparInsiders.com forums.