A VW Bay Window Story: Rust, Rehab and Restoration- ‘No, I have no idea how to sew a canvas roof liner…but I can learn!’

‘No, I have no idea how to sew a canvas roof liner…but I can learn!’


This is where the finer details and designs had to come into play.

So neither me or my dad are particularly good at interior design, so designing an interior for a small space seemed like a colossal job.

We had ideas and the practical side of the design was easy to us.

In the Gallery above you can see a few ‘in progress’ photos.

The dashboard is in a few pieces and is pretty simple to install…IF you remember which order the various pieces go back together. It had been a very long time since I had removed them and in my stubbornness I refused to pick up the Haynes Manual.

I’m proud to say that I eventually rebuilt the dash and steering wheel fitting from memory. (*Honesty edit* It took longer than I care to admit and I later had to check the manual as I had a disturbing amount of screws left over.)

We decided to insulate the hell out of the van so we could use it year round. We found some sound dampening/insulating 6mm  reflective sheets which we cut to shape for the outer panels and then packed the cavities with a recycled rock wool before putting the door cards over and sealing it all in.

For the flooring we were given some brilliant advice by the man we bought the van off.

He told us to spray the floor with expanding foam before laying 1/4 inch ply wood over the top and stamp it down. This gave us a solid floor that was well insulated. As a bonus, this was just great fun to spray expanding foam all over the place. WIN!

Next was the pop top roof rerurb…

We were super excited about this part of the refurb as it was going to require a few new skills.

We started by designing what we needed, which was essentially 2 rectangles stitched together. I know this sounds easy, but it has to fit a moving mechanical, extending and retracting frame.

Using an old caravan awning that dad just happened to have from years ago we measured and cut the shapes out of the heavy duty and waterproof awning roof. We left on a little extra to allow any margin for error, which was lucky because when it was finally fitted it was incredibly snug.

Now, due to our lack of sewing experience, we did not predict that a standard sewing machine did not have the power to stitch through 4 layers of thick awning canvas. That did not stop us trying and swearing a lot though.

After much frustration we found a local lady with a fabric and stitching company who did a fantastic job with a much better seal on the roof than we could have achieved our selves.

Mounting it all back to the roof of the van was easy and we couldn’t have been happier with the result.

Having said that, I kind of missed my large skylight…

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