As I mentioned in the introduction, our van is actually a rare 'Canterbury Pitt' conversion - I think! I have always found the layout inside my van to be fantastic. When it is not in 'camper' mode, it is still very usable as far as passenger and luggage space - the cabinets are not too obtrusive, the table not too large. The double bed area is formed by dropping the table, and laying out a few extra pieces of wood, then the cushions are used to form a mattress - I have always found this very comfortable, and in my opinion the biggest advantage of this over the popular pull-out 'rock-and-roll' type beds is that it does not intrude into the boot space.
Curtains and seat covers came with the van when we bought her in 1990. Bit tatty but its amazing how one gets attached to such things!
I had sprayed the interior metal work around the dash the same colour as the outside of the van using Halfords cans. Result is actually pretty good, but I may well take the van back to its original colour in the future - a more subtle and darker shade of blue.
I had also colour-keyed the instruments, which you can just see in this picture. The clock on the right is just something I made up in the 'blank' dial my van had. All needs a good dusting.
Additional colour-coded dials are a rev counter and volts. Must connect them one day! I'd also like to add an oil pressure dial/warning light at some point.
My only real attempt at 'customising' - this area of the dash did have an array of very small holes - in fact a speaker grill, under which was mounted a very old single speaker. I removed this,and replced the holes with this cut out - in the days before the word 'Chav' had even been invented, I actually fitted a piece of clear, blue perspex under the 'VW' and was going to have it lit. I may still do this!
I also filled in the small original stereo slot, normally seen above the ash tray in the centre of the dash. The hole was too small for any modern stereo system, and I didn't want anything on show anyway. The hole is actually only filled with a piece of wood and then filler, as opposed to welded over, so I can bring it back at any time if I so wish! As you can see, accepting the usual patchy areas below the pedals, the cab floor is pretty sound. If you look where that speaker cable is coming across the cab floor from the central vertical heating tube, you can see where some tape has lifted the lighter blue paint I had sprayed/painted on, revealing the original colour of the van below - it is this colour I may well restore the van to.
Original seats with the seat covers removed. Drivers side is on runners, and the passenger seat is fixed in one of two locations at the bottom/rear of the squab, whilst the back rest clips into a catch at the top.
Metalwork below the passenger seat is sound - I was being tight with the paint obviously, so some more 'original colour' areas.
Passenger seat still conceals the original jack - not sure I have ever actually trusted the sills and jacking points enough to actually use the jack on the van though.
Judging by the hinges and the plywood/wood stain used, this central console is part of the original Cantervury Pitt interior. Still allows you to walk through between the seats, but actually provides a really usefull storage area accesable from the front seat.
I used the fold down cupboard at the bottom to house the [cheap] stereo.
Apart from the addition of the speaker cut-out, the door cards are original.
The rear of the interior, in all its carpeted glory! Note the speakers in the base of the rear seat unit. This is all as the van came (except the carpet) when we got the van. The sink unit, as seen on the right in the picture above, is not 'original' Pitt interior, I think, but the rest (the storage units/seats/bed system) is.
Originaly there would have been a swing-out stove system mounted on the back of the passenger front seat. Instead the little box housed a gas bottle in our van, and the gas stove top was seperate, and could be used anywhere. This box forms the outer corner support for the bed when it is in use.
The seat behind the drivers seat houses a large storage area. The side of the box folds out to support the table top (just visible on the right of the picture) in bed mode.
Rear storage boxes without the cushions. Note the 'foam' squares stuck on the centres of the plywood tops - I think these were to stop any cushions or upholstery from slipping. Note the very small ali extrusion section on the side panel, where the table clips into.
Gas bottle box helping to support the bed, before spreading the seperate cushions out.
Et voila! Bed consists of the 8 cushions spread out together. I don't know if originaly the rear cushions would actually have been 2 big, full width foam cushions, rather than the 6 seperate ones that currently make up the rear seat pads and seat backs...
...but what I do know is that this bed is actually incrediably comfortable!
Picture taken when coming back from living in Antwerp (not in the van) back in 1990-ish. Best thing about this layout is that the boot is still usable as a luggage space.
I believe this little cupboard, shelf and 'shaving mirror' are all Canterbury Pitt features, which I have seen on other vans claiming to be a Pitt. Very useful!
Behind this unit is a small area for hanging clothes - note the very short clothes rail in the top of this picture!
Looking into the van from the rear...note the small access hole that has been drilled into the boot floor, bottom of the picture above....
....someone had obviously had to get to the wiring of the fuel sender, situated on top of the fuel tank, and this little hole provides tight access to the fittings.
The van has a raising roof, which opens straight up, and allows 2 bunk beds to be set-up. Unlike other conversions, the roof does not have any springs to assist in the opening, and is quite heavy. I have never used the bunk beds (they would only really suit children) but when the roof is open, one bunk bed set up provides a very useful shelf, when in camping mode. It could do with a good clean - all original as far as I know, no mould or rot - just dirt and dust. GRP top could do with a good sanding and re-painting.
To be honest we hardly ever used the top in its raised position, unless we had lots of luggage to 'hide' in the bunks, or we were staying in one place for a few nights...
Looking up into the interior of the hood you can see it is a little tatty but complete. The roof lining of the hardboard ceilinghas started to peel off. You can also see the side windows (and curtains) and just see the orange skylight in the top.
I produced a fabric 'ceiling' which covers the pop top opening when it is not in use. I hand painted a map of Europe and drew the various trips which the van had covered onto the map. Only covers '91-'93!
|Roof hinge detail shows the spring that keeps the framework open. Unfortunately the spring does not assist in th eopening of the roof, which involves standing on the seats roughly in the middle of the van, and pushing it up and open with ones back, whilst trying to reach both forward and back and push the 2 framework sections up and open, locking them into place. Note the orange carpet, which is actually a little shelf area that is exposed when the roof is open - actually very useful!|
One bunk bed in position. Note the leather strap that is used to hold the rolled up bunk bed in-situ.
With both bunks in position you can see how the bunks become narrower towards the front of the bus (the 'feet' end!) so leaving a small gap between the bunks at the front, where I presume very small children could climb up. We only ever used the as shelves when camping.
I had cut this hatch into the boot floor a few years ago in order to do some emergancy engine repairs whilst in France. I hope to get a proper hatch door and tidy this area up somewhat.
This picture was taken at the time, so the 'peeled' section of floor can be seen still attached. This vandalism was required after the oil cooler decided to snap a mounting stud whilst driving along a French road on the way to Rouen. This resulted in all the oil being pumped out of the engine. We managed to limp to a camp site. I could not take the engine out to take the fan box off the engine, in order to get to the old-style oil cooler. I had to lift the fan box up and over the oil cooler. Only way in was through the top. I cold chiselled the boot floor open in roughly the right spot, and was able to lift the whole fan box, dynamo and fan out through the hole, so accessing the oil cooler. This was braised in a local garage and fixed. We carried on to Paris, where I found a VW shop, bought a 'new' secondhand oil cooler and fixed this back in. I was quite proud that this incident was fixible 'on-site'.
Not pretty, but great access to the engine. I subsequently discovered that on later models of van, VW had the same idea and actuallu fitted a proper access hatch. I intend to get one of these and weld it into position here, tidying up the hole whilst retaining useful access - makes removing the engine even easier....
Annoyingly this little patch of damp and associated mould has only just appeared in the last few weeks - the van has always remained dry inside whilst sitting stationary for 5 years, but heavy wind and rain had allowed a little moisture to creep in and rot the top of the sink cabinet. Only the top will need replacing, and the roof is now sealed again so there shouldn't be any more problems!