Like many early tops, the aluminum cabs built by Porter & Reed Manufacturing of Wellington, Kansas used the diagonal windshield-hinged door system. It is unfortunate that this meant the doors tended to fall closed and present a danger to the fingers, because otherwise the system makes a lot of sense. It allowed easy entry, and a large door window made up of two panes of glass sliding horizontally. While this allows maximum window size it is still awkward and not the most comfortable system. From the brochure we can see the optional rear delivery gate with side hinge for easier access.
Features mentioned in the brochure include sprayed-on rubberized insulation in the roof, strengthening channel body supports, sun visors, removable doors and removable rear panel on the half body. The extension bed looks and works identically to Koenig's body extension. An oddity is the half body shown with rear mud guards. Perhaps Porter & Reed sold mud guards too.
We were fortunate to find a surviving example of the Porter & Reed full body on a CJ-2A owned by the late Bruce Agan. There are very few existing hard tops with the diagonal windshield frame hinged door. It appears to be a well built aluminum top. Rust-free and merely losing some paint, it should be a fairly easy restoration. The tops were sold in an aluminum finish, or primed ready for painting. It appears that the original double-paned door window has been replaced here with a single pane of Plexiglas.
This view gives us a good look at the windshield frame diagonal piano hinge. Notice also how the door is folded starting at the sill of the window and reaching straight down to the angle in the tub. The angle channel in the lower portion of the inside of the door indicates a well made door. Low end Sears aluminum tops have virtually no reinforcing on the inside of the door.
Porter & Reed is perhaps the only cab having a split rear window.
The brochure speaks of channel braces stiffening the aluminum panels. We can see one at the center of the roof. Sun visors are unusual on hard tops.
The text above and below the photo of the half body in the 1949 Willys-Overland Equipment Book is as follows:"Thousands of satisfied customers: The proof we can offer you of the durability and quality of this body... Not by factory tests alone, but by actual use over miles and miles of the kind of roads the Jeep is built for.
"The Porter & Reed Jeep Body is one that will stand all kinds of weather and is built to take the roughest of treatment.
"Ranchers, stockmen, and farmers, are finding the Porter & Reed all metal half body invaluable in their type of work... The half body allows full usage of all Jeep attachments as well as the extension bed as shown in the picture... The back panel can be easily removed to allow working of levers and ropes. Side doors can be taken off in a few minutes for cooler driving and working in the summer time."
The emphasis on agricultural users is perhaps not surprising, since the company was located in Kansas. (It is referred to in the brochure as the "most centrally located Jeep body factory.")
Continue to Koenig All-Steel Cabs or return to the Table of Contents.
Thanks to the late Bruce Agan for the photos of his Porter & Reed project, and to Steve Bovee for scanning the brochure pages. Also to Bart for collecting the material. -- Derek Redmond
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