Sunliners of Melbourne

6 04 2017

I stumbled about this beauty yesterday during a visit to Melbourne: A T2b late bay window Volkswagen campervan, probably from between 1976 and 1979 (see the engine lid hinges), in what could be Neptune blue (L50K). The campervan conversion is from Sunliner, a company based in Melbourne and still active, but nowadays converting various non-Volkswagen buses. Here is a link to a beautifully restored Sunliner late bay camper we spotted in 2015 in Geelong. This bus here comes with roo bars in the front and rear, spare wheel on the front, a pop-up roof in the rear with a luggage section above the driver’s cabin, and nice wooden furniture, with the kitchen block with gas cooker and fridge behind the passenger seat and a compartment for the gas bottle behind the driver’s seat. Funky 1970ies white and blue stripe design on both sides.

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This van seems to be parking in this spot and in the harsh Australian sun for a while already. The lining of the driver’s door is peeling off from the heat, the plastic glasses of the front indicators have gone blind, and there is extensive rust on the roof. Usually you will never see this type of surface rust on campervans in Germany. With the long German winters with salt on the roads, the buses have rotten away from rust in the wheel houses, the sillboards and the complete underfloor, years before any rust on the roof can develop. The wheel houses on this one, however, are in an amazingly good condition. It is a bit of a sleeping beauty and will need some work to fix all the little problems and conserve it for the future. But great to see it has survived so long, in probably pretty much original condition!

Jumping two decades forward in time, another Sunliner parked just around the corner. This one a campervan based on a Mazda E2000 van, probably from the mid- to late-1990ies. It also comes with a roo bar with spare wheel on the front and a small bar in the rear. Here the gas cooker and fridge are placed behind the driver’s seat while the sink and a microwave are behind the passenger seat. Fiamma awning on the left side, solar panels on the roof. And the long wheel base allows for a large bed in the rear that turns into two opposing benches and a central table. Not the coolness factor of a Volkswagen kombi, but also a very nice campervan.

 





Aireys Billboard Kombi

21 12 2015

Taiga Green late bay campervan used as eye-catcher for the restaurant “The Captain of Aireys” in Aireys Inlet, located between Angle Sea and Lorne on the Great Ocean Road. Rear roo bars look like from a Sopru camper, but the front bars are more massive than the Soprus I have seen so far. The pop-up roof also looks different. Jalousie window with only two tiles, opposite the sliding door. Haven’t seen one of those before. Plastic extensions on the rear air inlets for the engine to get more air funneled into the engine bay, for better cooling. Certainly caught my eye!

 

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Back in Australia!

10 11 2015

We are back in Australia! Thanks to the generous German parental leave laws we are spending three months in Geelong, visiting family and friends. Beautiful climate change, from the beginning autumn in Berlin into an Australian spring or early summer where temperatures have already been above 30°C in the last few days. And there are still so many more Volkswagen buses on the road here! I saw the green beauty below a few days after our arrival at a local supermarket. I talked to the owner: It is a 1978 Sunliner campervan with the 2L engine. Recently restored with a new paint job in the original color (may be Manilla Green, L63Y), with beautiful details. Sunliner stickers and lines reproduced by a sign writer to fully recreate the original appearance. Heavy Australian roo bars at front and back with spare wheel on the front. Pop-up roof and nice wooden interior with the full campervan kitchen set-up. What a beauty!

PS: Click to this older post for another beautiful Sunliner campervan and some more information on this Melbourne-based Australian campervan maker. Sunliner Motorhomes do not seem to convert Volkswagen buses anymore, but on the “Company/Our Story” site of their web page the founder of the company is portrayed in front of a blue bay window Sunliner kombi.

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Rio De Janeiro Box Truck Kombi

25 01 2015

A friend of mine just returned from a four-week-trip through South America. Here is a kombi he spotted in Rio de Janeiro. Interesting mix of very old type of car with what looks like a pretty new box truck conversion. The bull bar seems to be attached only to the front bumper. Looks a bit less stable than the roo bars in Australia which are bolted to the main frame under the van. Also note the vintage VW bug parking directly behind the truck. Thanks to kombi correspondent Horst for sending the photo!

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1977 Australian Sopru Campervan

27 04 2014

Here comes a VW campervan conversion I haven’t seen before: Spotted at last weekend’s National VW Club Bug-In in Geelong, Australia, this one is from a company called Sopru from Adelaide in South Australia. The owner told me they still existed and that at the time they were one of the campervan converters officially approved by Volkswagen. This one comes with the less usual automatic gear box and the 2L CJ engine. The pop-up roof looks like a Devon conversion, but differs in detail. Kitchen set-up with fridge and cooker behind the passenger seat, similar to the Westfalia Helsinki set-up (here is a web site with more photos of the interior of a similar 1972 Sopru conversion). Aussie roo bar with spare wheel at the front, and a rain water drain tube attached to the roof rack, as practical solution for tent poles etc. Cool “VW Campmobile” label at the rear lid, and 1970ies color strip along the sides, probably both from the original Sopru conversion. What a great campervan!

PS: Thanks to Earth Jive for setting me on the right track with Sopru, not Sapru! Had that wrong in the first version of this post.

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2014 National VW Club Bug-In

21 04 2014

We are back to Australia for a couple of weeks, visiting family and friends in Geelong and Melbourne. From German spring to a still very warm and sunny Australian autumn. There are less and less VW buses on the road each time we come over, but you still see many more than in Germany. And last Saturday all my wishes came true and we found a VW festival with show and shine event right here in Geelong, at the water front. Lots of people from the VW Club of Western Australia. Just learnt from their web site that this was the National VW Club Bug-In, a Volkswagen meeting hosted by a VW club from a different state every year over the Easter weekend. Great buses, great weather, and fantastic to speak to fellow VW fans at the other end of the world! Below is a first set of snapshots, including a beautifully restored VW type 3. Will post on some of the buses in more detail soon!

Early bay window, first registered in 1973 in Geelong.

Early bay window, first registered in 1973 in Geelong

1974 Rat-look bay window.

1974 Rat-look bay window

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Pre-1969 VW 1500 / type 3

Pre-1970 VW 1500 / type 3

1977 Sopru Campervan

1977 Sopru Campervan

Beetle parade

Beetle parade

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Beautiful Australian Late Bay

6 01 2013

Another late bay spotted a year ago in Geelong, Australia. Looks like it just got a brand new paint job. Could be reef blue (L57H). Comes with one of the heavier versions of the various roo bars, with attachment points for the spare wheel in its center. The pop-up roof is none of the European standards (Westfalia, Devon, Dormobile) but a conversion one sees often over there.  Electricity inlet in the right rear corner at head height, again something common only down there. Stands on non-Volkswagen steel wheels. Tyres also look slightly larger than the standard bus tyres. Sport exhaust with two outlets, so someone has worked on the details already. Comes with Victoria Club permit on the registration. Apparently this means the car is at least 25 years old (classic or historic), the owner is member of a club, and the car is driven for only 90 days per year, with an obligatory logbook over those days. I hope in exchange one can drive the car without further taxes. Still quite some effort. Sliding window in the rear left section – need something like that for our bus for next summer. What a nice bus!

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