Happy New Year!!

…and guess what, yep, we’ve recovered from our hangovers and are working on the van!

The ‘rock n roll’ bed, which (for the uninitiated) is a two-seater chair which folds out into a double bed, is going to be the centre-piece of our interior and so it was important to get it in place. Here’s Andy demonstrating the bed bit…

Andy demonstrating the comfort of the ‘rock n roll’ bed

Fitting one of these can be a tricky job (see http://www.type2.co.uk/bed.htm for details) and involves bolting the chair through the van chassis.

If anyone wants advice on fitting one of these (be aware that the petrol tank is directly behind the vertical panel) or indeed any aspect of fitting a VW interiors, we’re more than willing to offer some words of encouragement (just contact us!). We found it quite daunting to start with, so we know what you might be going through!!

Check out the pictures of the action!

Andy had to get under the van and secure the bolt for the bed on the underside of the wheel arch. Nice…

Andy demonstrating the comfort of being under the van

Then it was just a matter of adding the final fittings. Notice how the old seatbelts have now come in handy? That chair is seriously comfy by the way…

And a special mention to Clare, Nick’s sister, who made us a fantastic fry-up – it’s hungry work!!

New wardrobe for interior

Today I fitted a Devon conversion wardrobe to the van. The Devon conversion parts we are using for the interior were bought second-hand from a VW enthusiast in Doncaster back in November. They were in fairly good condition, although, as in the case of this wardrobe, needed a little tidying up before they were fit to go in the van….

I also cut the last part of the van’s lino to fit (although I ran out of double-sided tape before I could finish the job!). The van’s certainly looking much better than it even did a week ago:

On carpeting a wall

Feeling buoyant after yesterday’s successful day’s work we attacked the wall project again with vigour. With the insulation already in place, the next step was to trap it behind a sturdy piece of board which would also provide us with a secure surface onto which to mount our delightful carpet.

Let the fun begin!

With Andy back in the UK for the Christmas holidays, we both feel we can really put in some quality time on the van. It was great fun being able to work on the van and share some banter after six months of planning an expedition from different sides of the Atlantic. We achieved an awful lot today – these pictures speak for themselves…

Fitting Insulation. This insulation is thin, foil-based material which is made up of a series of air pockets. It’s extremely light-weight, cheap and malleable – perfect for our needs. Our tests have shown it can keep a cup of tea warm for over half-an-hour! And tea, as any workman knows, is vitally important… :o)

Planing the doorway to fit the lino-step, measuring out the lino and HEY PRESTO!

It’s good to be back!! :o)

London2Sydney team reunited & excited!!

Clean slate…

Today I finished stripping the interior of the van. Andy’s due back from America in two days’ time and with a ‘clean slate’ we can start building an interior that suits our purposes.

Having marked all the electrical wires (I know from past experience that it’s a nightmare trying to remember what wires are for what), I removed the wood flooring which was starting to rot in places and swept up the 25-odd years of grime that had collected.

One trip to FOCUS DIY and two hours later, I had laid a new chipboard floor which will be a solid base for the interior we will build on top. I forgot to take a photo (clearly such was my excitement), so you’ll have to make do with this one:

The Interior Monologue Begins…

The inside of Squiffy has now been virtually ripped out. She only had a poor home-made conversion before and Andy and I decided it simply wasn’t good enough to last us all the way to Sydney. Ever since we bought the van we had been puzzling as to exactly what type of interior conversion she had and we are really no further towards knowing. I guess we’re theorising on some sort of Viking bastardisation. At any rate, this is how the inside of Squiffy looked when we bought her:

As you can see from the above picture, there had previously been a couple of ‘box seats’ towards the rear of the van (where the seatbelts are), but these were certainly not good enough for long distance travel or indeed any safe form of travel at all!

The inside was mucky to say the least (and I’m not going to tell you what the inside of the fridge looked like). The carpet – which we carbon-dated to about 1980AD – had to come out, there was no insulation (a necessity for long distance driving) and there were no sleeping or proper seating arrangements downstairs at all. It had to go! Several labour-intensive hours later, Nick managed to strip out most of the old, tired-looking interior and Squiffy started to look a little more basic…

Our plan for rebuilding the interior had been set in motion. We were working towards having a ‘blank sheet’ to work from…

Squiffy comes home!

Today I drove Squiffy back to Bedford – our home town – where she will be based until the London2Sydney expedition commences.

The journey back from Surrey, where she had been undergoing some minor repairs, was slightly nerve-racking as the engine will actually need a complete overhaul. The engine didn’t sound great on the way back and I didn’t take her much above 50mph. There’s also a mysterious oil leak coming from somewhere. Still, she made it in one piece and, I hope you’ll admit, she looks great on the outside!

And as the centre-piece of our expedition, she’s going to get a lot of TLC.

Please ignore the oil leak…. ;o)

The website of the London2Sydney charity overland expedition.