Nat's 1965 Sundial Splitscreen Camper

Nat had always wanted a campervan so when she saw 'Cecil' for sale in the car park at Slough Swap Meet she had to have him! In typical Nat style a standard 11 window split wasn’t going to cut it! Instead she opted for a bus with a relatively rare ‘Sundial’ Conversion!


Nat’s bus still has its original paint, and other than a few small rust patches, nicks and scratches, it’s in relatively good condition, with no large dent or scrapes. The bus was originally a panel van, but early in its life somewhere in the US it was converted to a Sundial camper, which is the reason why it has those cool greenhouse style windows 3 piece glass windows and ‘truck mirrors’. Other than being lowered, the only other visual changes are the addition of a three quarters length roof rack. Being a Californian import it’s not surprising that the bus relatively rust free (as well as left hand drive!). However, it has had is a small repair to passenger side foot well which I did using original factory panel.

Underneath however it is a different story. The chassis has been completely stripped back to bare metal, repainted, and under sealed.

Suspension and brakes


The van is lowered front and back. A 4” narrowed and adjustable front beam is fitted up the front, with lowered king and link pin axles, Porsche 944 brake disk and callipers. The rear of the bus is lowered with adjustable spring plates (As well as through the fitment of a type 1 gearbox). Standard beetle drum brakes are currently being used at the back but will be uprated soon.



A type 1 gearbox and drum brakes from a beetle has been fitted doing away with the reduction boxes to lower the rear end.



Genuine 14” Porsche Fuch (mirror polished) wheels are fitted up front, with genuine 15” deep 6 Porsche Fuch wheels (polished) being fitted at the rear. We will get around to detailing them both at some point!!



Being a sundial conversion, the interior is completely panelled out with marine ply, giving it that cool sauna look! In the rear there is a camping interior made by Nat and I with a full width rock and roll bed, and a seat/ cupboard unit with built in storage. There is even a multiple plug sockets and a hidden microwave which can be used via the 240v hook up I have installed. The floor has been carpeted (with the carpet left over from our bedroom!) and curtains are fitted throughout (sewing done by Nat!).

In the cab area, early 944 tombstone seats fitted, as well as a SCAT short throw bus shifter and a wood-rimed aluminium steering wheel and boss, with genuine star and moon horn press. We didn’t want to cut the dash for a modern stereo, so a Retrosounds radio is fitted which fits in the original dash cut out, with speakers fitted to the door cards in the cab.



The engine is an uprated 1904cc type 1 engine. Built by me from mostly new components (or recondition old genuine VW items) with most parts supplied by James at Stateside Tuning the specs are as followed:

  • Aluminium crankcase (gas flowed, and bored for large barrel and pistons)
  • 74mm DPR balanced, counterweighted and 8 doweled crank
  • 215mm flywheel and clutch
  • 3.5lb harmonic balancer pulley
  • H beam Connecting rods
  • Web Cam 119 Camshaft
  • HD Aluminium push rods
  • Spring loaded aluminium pushrod tubes
  • 90.5mm barrels and pistons
  • Bolt up rocker shafts
  • 1:25 high lift rockers
  • Mildly ported duel port heads, with large valves, and duel springs
  • Custom made oil filler/ breather system (Thanks to Dr Barker)
  • Twin 40 DRLA carbs
  • Matched and ported manifolds
  • External oil filter
  • 1.5 litre slim line deep sump
  • Genuine engine tin - stripped and re-powder coated
  • Stainless steel merged header and exhaust