adding a nice little touch of NOS retro style to my VW Camper

With wanting to tidy up the existing under dash electrics and replace some of the existing inappropriate aftermarket switches, plus add a new additional switch, there was the question of how and where these switches would be accommodated? Rather than do the obvious (and destructive) drilling of holes in the dash, I wanted to look for a slightly less intrusive and slightly more period solution.

old skool 1980’s NOS three switch panel with a black wrinkle finish paint

old skool 1980’s NOS three switch panel with a black wrinkle finish paint

In the end I found a rather cool, retro style, NOS (new old stock) three switch panel with a black paint wrinkle finish that would do the trick of housing the switches nicely without having to drill three large holes in the front of the dash! Instead it can be secured underneath via some self tapping screws.

a couple of illuminated toggle switches plus a momentary on/off toggle switch

a couple of illuminated toggle switches plus a momentary on/off toggle switch

In terms of having a more unified and discreet set of switches, I opted to go for a range of simple metal toggle switches. With the two on/off functionality switches to control the 12v heated front windscreens and the BMW new mini driving lights, I decided to get illuminated switches so that I had a visual reminder of whether or not I had left them on or not! For the 12v windscreen washer pump, I went for a non-illuminated momentary on/off toggle switch that automatically flicks back to the off position when released.

Looking forward to getting these all fitted up and working with the new stainless steel BMW mini style driving lights…

putting my skills to work

I thought some of you following things here might be interested in this. I have recently been busy designing a small exclusive range of vintage VW camper merchandise based around some line drawings I created of a classic 1960’s VW split screen camper.

From this I have produced a range of cool looking bumper stickers featuring these distressed looking line drawing of an iconic 1960’s camper that inspired the spirit of adventure and stirred the souls of many generations of travellers ever since.

These quality bumper stickers are available in a range of colours that will outlast heavy rain, intense sunlight, and the most severe of traffic jams. These bumper stickers would look on cool on your bumper or even your window, toolbox, skateboard, cool box or interior etc.

  • size 280mm x 75mm (11″ x 3″)
  • Made from durable vinyl with a strong adhesive back.
  • Printed with water-resistant ink that won’t fade or run.
  • Available in a range of colours to choose from

First up, one for those like me love to be by the sea!

heading for the beach – available in a range of colours

heading for the beach – available in a range of colours

Then a classic quote from Jack Kerouac, an American novelist and poet of French-Canadian heritage. He is considered a literary iconoclast and, alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, a pioneer of the Beat Generation.

nothing behind me, everything ahead of me – available in a range of colours

nothing behind me, everything ahead of me – available in a range of colours

and the classic line you’ve heard when ‘a man in the pub said…’

a porsche engine bolts straight in – available in a range of colours

a Porsche engine bolts straight in – available in a range of colours

then one for the traveller and explorer…

heading for the horizon – available in a range of colours

heading for the horizon – available in a range of colours

and another classic quote from Jack Kerouac…

nowhere to go but everywhere – available in a range of colours

nowhere to go but everywhere – available in a range of colours

Anyway, I hope you like them? To order anything, please go to either vdubxs UK Shop or vdubxs International Shop

We promise 100% satisfaction – if you don’t love it we’ll take it back

Follow and support the adventures of our vintage camper by buying this, or some of our other individually designed, retro inspired goodies!

time for an electrical tidy up and a little upgrade at the same time

When I bought my VW Split screen camper with its Canterbury Pitt interior, I was aware that there were a few small things that needed finishing off or resolving, but this is probably true for most vintage VW’s, in that there is always something to do, that’s part of the attraction for some! Some of these bits that needed tidying up were a couple of the previous electrical items that had been fitted. One of the nice little touches/upgrades the previous owner had installed was a 12v heated front windscreens! These are a real bonus during the winter months in terms of keeping the windscreens clear from misting up.

Unfortunately, the pull switch that had been fitted to control it although functional, was less than desired in terms of being secured and properly located!

pull switch control for the heated front windscreens

pull switch control for the heated front windscreens

Another more common upgrade was the fitting of a 12v water pump for the windscreen washer jets anther than the traditional vacuum pump system. Unfortunately the rocker switch used to control it is a pretty ugly and cumbersome unit, and again had not been properly secured/fitted!

oversized rocker switch to control the windscreen washer jets 12v pump

oversized rocker switch to control the windscreen washer jets 12v pump

Tidying up these two switched connections will not only make things neater and safer under the dash, but also make the switches easier to operate when driving around. Whilst sorting out these two switches, I wanted to take the opportunity to add another switch to the equation, but this would be to control a new upgrade to the campers external lighting… a pair of stainless steel BMW ‘New Mini’ spot/driving lights!

a pair of Wipac stainless steel new mini spot lights

a pair of Wipac stainless steel new mini spot lights

However, before getting them fitted, I have a small aesthetic modification I want to do to the lights before getting them fitted, plus I need to decide on the various switches I want to use as replacements, and how they are going to be fitted.

going that extra mile or two – VW Early Bay meets VW Split screen combo

One of my plans for a upgrade in 2015 was to try and increase the capacity of my VW campers original fuel tank. Although nothing is wrong with the original tank itself, the original capacity is fairly small (40 litres/8.8 gallons), so on a long run or road trip, you end up having to make fairly frequent fuel stops at the petrol station to fill up! There are a couple of companies that make modern upgrade tanks that can be used to increase the capacity by an extra 10 litres to 50 litres, but its a fairly modest increase in capacity for the costs involved, and a modern looking shiny aluminium tank would look a bit odd in my fairly stock Canterbury Pitt camper!

original 1955 to 1967 VW split screen fuel tank painted and looking like new!

original 1955 to 1967 VW split screen fuel tank painted and looking like new!

Fortunately there is another option! As is often the way with vintage VW campers, there was a one year only option (August 1971>) VW Early Bay fuel tank that both had a larger capacity (65 litres/14.3 gallons) and would fit into the available space behind the engine without major modifications!

clean space above the engine bay where the fuel tank fits

clean space above the engine bay where the fuel tank fits

The trouble with ‘one year only’ options is by their nature, they are few and far between so pretty difficult to get hold of! But after posting a few wanted adverts on a variety of VW website/forums such as the Split screen van club (SSVC) and the Early Bay forum, I eventually managed to initially identify the right type of tank I was after, and then eventually track one down!

dusty old August 1971 VW Early Bay fuel tank

dusty old August 1971 VW Early Bay fuel tank

The August 1971 VW Early Bay fuel tank itself was a bit grubby externally, with some evidence of ‘surface rust’ underneath (apparently a common issue from the location of the tank and the Early Bay construction). Inside, the tank was in great shape, so hopefully it would just need media blasting on the outside to clean it all up and then get it prepped for painting before getting fitted and connected in my camper.

August 1971 VW Early Bay fuel tank with some evidence of ‘surface rust’ underneath

August 1971 VW Early Bay fuel tank with some evidence of ‘surface rust’ underneath

Apart from extending the original split screen fuel tank holding straps and adding additional pipework to join the tank to the filler neck, there will be a few other extras that will be needed to complete the crossover transformation, such as a new fuel tank to body seal, a new fuel valve kit and filter.

parts list diagram for an August 1971 VW Early Bay fuel tank (top pic)

parts list diagram for an August 1971 VW Early Bay fuel tank (top pic)

I can get these bits ordered whilst the tank gets sent off to get media blasted and cleaned up ready for painting…

starting the New Year as I mean to carry on… out in the VW Camper!

It almost seems a bit too late now to wish everyone a Happy New Year, but nevertheless, wherever your reading this from, I hope you all have a great 2015 with lots to look forward to and enjoy! After a few days of house bound captivity, I really needed to take off for a run in the camper come New Years Day and get some fresh air into my system, so where better to head off to than the Old Lighthouse in Dungeness in Kent!

a bleak New Years day 2015 at the Old Lighthouse at Dungeness

a bleak New Years day 2015 at the Old Lighthouse in Dungeness

I always find the barren landscape, abandoned machinery and simple architecture fascinating and inspiring at the same time, although I do get that for some it might be a bit of a Marmite location! However, I love it and find it a great place to just wander around on the beach and really just clear my head.

abandoned wooded fishing boat

abandoned wooded fishing boat

I should really start a bit of a 2015 ‘to-do list’ as it is looking to be a busy year with a few road trips in the pipeline such as a possible winter Architectural solo tour of France/Spain, then hooking up with my friend Ollie again for a repeat trip to ‘Freddy Files’ event in Ninove in Belgium again. Brighton Breeze will be another event I’ll want to be going to again later on in the year as well!

Then we’ve also got tickets to see Seasick Steve in the UK…

…and I have booked a ferry for a long-awaited road trip holiday to Ireland with my wife to see the Foo Fighters at Slane Castle which I’m really looking forward to, we’ve been meaning to visit Ireland for years, so glad we’ve finally got that booked in!

Then there are various things I need to finish off with the camper like the Canterbury Pitt table renovation! Yes, that is still in progress, but oh so very nearly there now! The longest table renovation in history!

abandoned winch machinery

abandoned winch machinery

There are a few little upgrades and mods that I want to get done to the camper this year…

eroded steel rivet detail

eroded steel rivet detail

…like getting some of this years Christmas VW camper related ‘presents’ fitted and working!

amazing surface texture

amazing surface texture

Then there are some stock VW upgrades that I want to get fitted to improve the overall driving experience of the Splitty…

rusted metal and weathered timber

rusted metal and weathered timber

…plus maybe a few other non-stock items to help personalise my VW Canterbury Pitt camper? Yep, it’s going to be a busy and fun 2015!

Then I might also get a chance to try to design a few more vintage VW related t-shirts to go along with the current VW Camper/Jack Kerouac inspired range?

VW Camper/Jack Kerouac inspired T-Shirt – nowhere to go but everywhere, just choose your colour… To the beach is where we are heading! A distressed looking line drawing of an iconic 1960’s camper that inspired the spirit of adventure and stirred the souls of many generations of travellers ever since VW Camper/Jack Kerouac inspired mug – nothing behind me everything ahead of me, just choose your colour… das ist gut – A distressed looking line drawing of an iconic 1960’s camper that inspired the spirit of adventure and stirred the souls of many generations of travellers ever since VW Camper/Jack Kerouac inspired mug – nowhere to go but everywhere, just choose your colour… revolution… but with a twist! Designed distressed typography to start a revolution, right here, right now! VW Camper/Jack Kerouac inspired T-Shirt – nowhere to go but everywhere, just choose your colour… VW Camper/Jack Kerouac inspired T-Shirt – nothing behind me everything ahead of me, just choose your colour… VW Camper/Jack Kerouac inspired bumper sticker – nowhere to go but everywhere, just choose your colour… VW Camper/Jack Kerouac inspired bumper sticker – nothing behind me everything ahead of me, just choose your colour… the number of the beast… well almost T-Shirt the number of the beast… well almost Bumper Sticker the number of the beast… well almost Mug gone schwimin’ T-Shirt gone schwimin’ Bumper Sticker gone schwimin’ Mug

Have you got yours yet? To order anything, please go to either the vdubxs UK shop or if you are outside the UK, then visit the vdubxs International shop and get yours now…

We promise 100% satisfaction – if you don’t love it we’ll take it back!

far better to be safe than sorry, check your fuel hoses!

It’s always nice when plans come together. I was browsing a VW forum recently and was reading about the risks of engine bay fires, often caused by out of date fuel hoses that do not meet current safety standards. It just so happened that Machine 7 happened to be running a great bundle deal on an essential kit to replace older style cloth braided fuel hose with the safer modern SAE J30 R9 grade, plus fuel filter and 10 correct hose clips for this hose. The bundle contains 3 metres of hose, which should be sufficient to replace all of the flexible hose normally found on all air-cooled models

Machine 7 have a great modern fuel hose replacement kit for your vintage VW

Machine 7 have a great modern fuel hose replacement kit for your vintage VW

Over recent years, fuel at the pump has been replaced with a grade referred to as E5. It contains a 5% mix of Ethanol. The Ethanol mix is better for the environment, but unfortunately degrades rubber fuel hoses. There are current government proposals to change unleaded fuels to E10, with 10% Ethanol. SAE J30 R9 fuel hose is designed to withstand the level of Ethanol in E5 and E10 fuels.

Fuel hoses should be checked every few months, and replaced, if there are any signs of degradation. We believe that anybody using the old style cloth (or stainless) braided should now upgrade to the more modern higher specification. It is far better to be safe than sorry! The hose has a 5.6mm internal bore, which is ideal for all standard installations as well as most twin carburettor set-ups, so perfect for my twin Dellorto carb set-up.

Once ordered online, Machine 7’s now famous prompt delivery service took care of the rest. Now all I need to do is fit the new hoses to upgrade my fuel pipes in the engine bay… the trouble is, once you start thinking of upgrades in the engine bay, other ideas also start springing to mind…

using original Canterbury Pitt fittings keep the aged look of authenticity

After leaving the various spare vintage Canterbury Pitt hinges, catches, screws etc. in a penetrating oil bath for 24 hours, it was nice to see the changes in both their appearance and performance! Although much cleaner, they still maintained a nice aged look of authenticity about them, but the hinges had certainly benefited from the oil soaking, they had a much easier action to them! Now to get them fitted…

Canterbury Pitt storage door catch and handle

Canterbury Pitt storage door catch and handle

This handle and catch mechanism will be perfect for the rear overhead storage door…

the original Canterbury Pitt hinges cleaned up nicely after a soak in some oil

the original Canterbury Pitt hinges cleaned up nicely after a soak in some oil

and the butterfly hinges have come out looking great and are much smoother to operate! So off to get the renovated bits fixed in place using the cleaned up original screws! First up was getting the door of the overhead storage space secured in place with the two butterfly hinges…

original Canterbury Pitt ‘Butterfly’ hinges back in place on the overhead storage door

original Canterbury Pitt ‘Butterfly’ hinges back in place on the overhead storage door

Once the door and hinges were fixed, the slightly more tricky operation of fitting the catch and door handle. Once sorted, we have at long last a working door on the overhead storage space – so no more bits falling out when I brake!

hinges and catch fixed, the Canterbury Pitt overhead locker door back in place!

hinges and catch fixed, the Canterbury Pitt overhead locker door back in place!

With a fresh bit of inspiration in my sails, I now need to push on and get the table top sorted next…

finishing off my vintage VW Canterbury Pitt overhead storage locker

Having started on the renovation of my Canterbury Pitt table/bed support, it spurred me on to have a look at some other bits in the camper that also needed resolution. For ages now I had not got around to finishing off the Canterbury Pitt overhead storage locker at the rear of the camper. The door piece was there, just not fitted. It had no handle of hinges when I got it, and as I could still use the storage space without necessarily needing the door, it had become one of those jobs I had put to the back of my mind.

However, seeing as today was a bit too wet outside to do the cutting and sanding needed for the next stages of the table renovation, I thought it was time to turn my attention to the overhead storage locker, especially as this was a small job I could do inside!

an existing Canterbury ‘Butterfly’ hinge can be re-used for the overhead storage locker door

an existing Canterbury ‘Butterfly’ hinge can be re-used for the overhead storage locker door

Once again, the couple of extra pieces of incomplete Canterbury Pitt furniture panels I had stashed away would prove invaluable as my source for some authentic Canterbury Pitt fixtures and fittings to complete the job.

an existing Canterbury Pitt door catch that can be re-used

an existing Canterbury Pitt door catch that can be re-used

So the carefully removed ‘Butterfly’ hinges, door catch mechanism and even the original screws were put in my container of penetrating oil to soak to help lubricate the parts and give them a little clean up at the same time. Not big progress, but at least another step forward in getting things resolved. Now just need a bit of a sunny day to get the table woodwork done!

Canterbury Pitt table renovation progress updates…

Just in case you were wondering what had happened to my Canterbury Pitt table renovation, ongoing progress has been made, all be it a bit slowly! Having removed the original chipboard and formica top from the mahogany under frame, it was time to make a decision on what to use for the new work surface. I had looked into a variety of options including post consumer waste recycled plastic boards, Tectan® Board (made from recycled Tetrapak® drink cartons) and even recycled circuit board, but in the end, I opted to go with a more conservative option of some nicely grained timber. Sometimes it is good to explore all options, even if you do come back to your original thought or idea!

some nice oak faced 18mm WBP ply

some nice oak faced 18mm WBP ply

So I opted to hunt down some nicely grained 18mm WBP plywood to use for the table surface. Having rejected most of the boards in store, I eventually came across a really beautifully grained 600mm x 1200mm sheet that would be perfect for my requirements. In fact, it would even allow me to make a matching bed support piece to infill between the rear seats and the rear facing buddy seat! Although fairly light in colour in its unfinished state, I knew that what looked to be an Oak grain finish, would darken up sufficiently once treated with several coats of some Danish Wood Oil before getting finished with some clear Black Bison wax as a final protective coating. With the mahogany under frame separated from the work surface, I will also take the opportunity to sand the frame down and refinish it with some Danish wood oil as well.

an existing Canterbury Pitt door catch that can be re-used for the table fixing bolt

an existing Canterbury Pitt door catch that can be re-used for the table fixing bolt

Next up was to sort out the locating/locking mechanisms that were used to fix the table to the side support on the campers wall when the table is up and in use. Luckily I had a couple of extra pieces of incomplete Canterbury Pitt furniture panels which had various fixtures and fittings on that I could potentially refurbish and use for the table locking mechanism.

an existing Canterbury Pitt door catch that can be re-used for the table fixings

an existing Canterbury Pitt door catch that can be re-used for the table fixings

So it was a case of carefully unscrewing the items and giving them a good soaking in a penetrating oil bath. These should clean and loosen up nicely and allow me to use a nice mixture of original and new elements in the table refurbishment.

Next up, cutting the new 18mm WBP plywood top to shape and size!

a great little car show on the seafront at Hastings…

As part of Hastings week in October, there is an annual 2 day vintage car show held on the seafront at the Stade for Classic Cars and Motorcycles up to 1988 (+ later exceptional vehicles). It is open to all different makes and types of cars and bikes from different periods of automotive history, which in part makes it an interesting show to go along and see, after all, variety is the spice of life!

Dodge Charger

Dodge Charger

This year we had booked in advance to go along and be part of the show on the Saturday, and although the weather was a bit on and off with sunshine and showers, it was a great day out, meeting and chatting to lots of different people, along with seeing a variety of interesting vintage vehicles.

Here’s a little slide show selection of some of the vehicles from Saturdays display…

Vauxhall Wyvern Ford Consul Triumph TR3 Mini pick-up Ami Super Hudson Six Forty Ford Thames Morris Minor Quarter Ton Van Morris Minor Lotus race car Renault Floride S Glas Goggomobil T sedan Rover P100 Vintage Fiat 500 VW ‘Samba’ 23 Window deluxe Dodge Charger Cadillac 2 door hardtop Riley One Point Five Standard Vanguard

I think my favourite car of the day was this funky little lime green Glas Goggomobil T Sedan – a small car that seemed big on character… I wonder what it would be like to drive with its massive rear-mounted 245cc air-cooled two-stroke straight twin-engine (or depending on its age, possibly a later model 300cc and 400cc engine!)

Glas Goggomobil T sedan

Glas Goggomobil T sedan

We were not the only Vintage VW represented on the day. There was a 1303 Beetle plus this rather nice 1961 RHD 23 window ‘Samba’ deluxe with an original Devon interior! Very nice indeed, as was the owner!

VW ‘Samba’ 23 Window deluxe

VW ‘Samba’ 23 Window deluxe

All in all we had a fun day out, and the cargo door awning and Canterbury Pitt cooker in our camper kept us topped up with tea and provided sufficient shelter from the rain showers – roll on the next one in 2015!