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