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.

 





Geelong Sleeping Beauty

17 05 2016

Here is a late bay window kombi we saw last November somewhere in suburbia in Geelong, Australia. It is a Sopru campervan which may have started its life in yellow and was then re-sprayed in light green. Sopru pop-up roof and Sopru roo bars at the front. Front wall panels and bench matrasses in the rear newly upholstered at some point. Furniture in there rear looks a bit self-built, but then I do not know the Sopru conversions in detail. Another customer of “V-Dubs Only“. Looks like put away and waiting for the next holiday season. Hope it has a lot of holiday trips ahead!

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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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Marino Yellow Geelong Campervan

17 12 2015

Here is a late bay Volkswagen campervan spotted some weeks ago in Geelong. It comes with a massive, more modern looking roo bar at the front which includes the front bumper and replaces the original one. The color is probably Marino Yellow and Creme White (more buses with this beautiful color scheme here). No pop-up roof, but with a door for a gas bottle and with ventilation slits for a fridge on the side. Peeping  in the drivers cabin showed it comes with an automatic gearbox, an additional oil temperature gauge under the instrument unit and it was originally delivered as a deluxe or L bus (airvent channels along the front doors and seats with the respective basket weave pattern). Cool bus!

 

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Kombi Spotting: The Next Generation

9 12 2015

When the four-year-old has become a better VW bus spotter than the parents: Casual comment from the backseat while we were waiting at a traffic light in Geelong, “Look, there is an orange Bulli over there.” And there it was, hidden from our view by other cars, and spotted early enough for daddy to take a snapshot. Very proud of my big girl!

P.S. Beautiful Aussie campervan with pop-up roof, small front roof rack, windscreen visor and the full roo bar set-up with front spare tire. But not sure from which campervan conversion company. Looks different from the Sunliners and Dormobiles I have seen so far, but this type is also quite common down here.

P.S.S. It is a Sopru! Thanks to Bevan and Inheritanceorg for pointing this out. I had learnt about Soprus 18 months ago, see the beautiful Sopru campervan in this older post, but did not make the connection.

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Penguins, Wallabies and Koalas

24 11 2015

We spent three beautiful days on a trip to Phillip Island, south-east of Melbourne. We took the ferry from Queenscliff to Sorrento, shortcutting Port Phillip Bay from its western to its eastern end. Saved us from driving all around Port Phillip Bay and through Melbourne traffic and gave the kids the added adventure of a boat trip. Main target was the Penguin Parade where every evening at sunset several hundred penguins come back from their daily fishing business and run up the beach to their nesting places. Apparently there were around 2000 penguins that evening. Awesome spectacle! A visit to the Koala Conservation Centre across the road from our caravan park turned out to be fantastic, too. The sighting of a swamp wallaby (near the penguin beach) and a couple of red-necked wallabies (at the Churchill Island Heritage Farm farm) completed this Australian wild life adventure. The penguin beach, the koala center and the heritage farm belong to the Phillip Island Nature Park. The sighting of a late bay kombi at the ferry on the way back made the kombi nerd in the family extra-happy.

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Father daughter bonding at beach in Cowes, Phillip Island.

Father daughter bonding at the beach in Cowes, Phillip Island.





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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