Sundial Camper Employee Interview

by Colin Williams

In the spring of 1970, Dave King, the licensee of the "Westminster" Volkswagen dealership in New Westminster, B.C. approached me with the idea of my selling the camper to other VW dealers. There was, at the time, a real strain on getting Westfalia campers from VW. They were always in short supply to the extent that we never had any choice as to colour or options. We just took whatever they gave us. He had seen another camper set-up in a magazine (it was on the front cover in a forest setting). He then arranged for him to have the rights to produce this camper for Canada. The basic interior came from the USA factory (somewhere in California) I believe, and as memory serves me, here is the basic layout.

We began by using any new cargo van we could get our hands on, then we used window vans and finally sunroof models.

  1. A full length fibreglass roof that was tall enough in the centre that I at 6'2" would not hit my head on when I showed people the unit. Originally, we just used any van and cut the entire metal roof away and put on the fibreglass one. We only did a few with roofs from the US, then we produced on own. Our first six or so units did not have any windows in the roof section, but after that, we started to install them as an option. They were just off the shelf RV units that we picked up in Vancouver. Small rectangles with a sliding window and screen. I think they sold for about $50.00 each side. The most I remember being put on is three (left, right and back) but it looked funny.

  2. In the front, between the headlights, we installed the spare tyre holder that we found we had to be careful with otherwise our holding screws cut through some electrical wires. The spare was wrapped in aluminium foil so that the tyre would not stain throughout the plastic cover. The cover only came in a creamy colour and had the Sundial logo on it in the centre.

  3. Dash changes were for an optional twin cup/change/kleenex holder made of pine wood and stained to a dark brown to match the door panels. It went on the dash by the radio. If by chance we needed up with a white door panel unit we just stained them with brown shoe polish...ah the expertise......other options for the dash was a pine shelf unit that fitted under the dash and it was also stained. I believe the holder was $8.00 and the shelf $20.00. We also installed a steering wheel cover to match the interior. It was made in Langley out of real cowhide and laced with stained gut. It sold for $5.00. We installed an Am/Fm radio with six pushbuttons and a longer antennae for $100.00 it came with two extra speakers we installed in the doors towards the bottom of the panel. The radio was a Blaupunkt but everything else was just off the shelf.

  4. The front seats were standard but we slipped over them a vinyl cover to match the interior. Sometimes, we charged for the seat covers but I do not remember what that was. And behind the driver's seat we had an optional head rest that sold for $20.00. It was just using up odds and ends of the vinyl but we sold almost all of the units with it. They varied in size but basically were a rectangle.

  5. There are two other things I think I should mention. We installed a vinyl floor that went from front to back. I mean we took up everything and set this vinyl flooring down...glued it down good, too. Then, we sold floor mats and the carpeting as options. Second, we insulated everything everywhere. Sometimes, we got so carried away that you could hardly roll down the windows but it was warm in the Winter...especially since all units had to have the gas heater/furnace.

  6. Over the front seats, we installed hooks for the two pieces of pipe and canvas cot that was standard. We sold the units as capable of sleeping six, two up top, two on the cot, and two in the double bed.

  7. The curtains were installed using the same old push buttons as the Westfalia, except ours were bright and flowery. They came from the US and were marked "Made in India". They were much lighter in weight and in bright sunlight were almost see-through. They were hung by using the thin brown bungie cord instead of a top rail and snaps only on the bottom.

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