The Volkswagen Type 181 was originally developed as a utility vehicle for the West German Army and was instead marketed towards civilians, offered as the “Thing” in the United States. This 1974 example was purchased by the current owner in 1982 and subsequently received a nut and bolt restoration including a repaint in a Porsche-derived Almond Beige color, a rebuild of the 1600cc engine, new fenders, and a new retractable top. A lifelong Southern California car, this meticulously maintained VW Thing is now being offered for auction accompanied by well-documented service history and a collection of manuals.
This Type 181 has been refinished in a Porsche-derived Almond Beige color, fitted with a new black convertible top, and equipped with replacement fenders sourced from The Thing Shop in Arizona. Other features include removable side windows, a folding windshield, black-painted bumpers, a tow ball, black headlight rings, black VW badging, dual mirrors, and black-painted 14” aftermarket 5-spoke wheels mounted with newer General Grabber all-terrain tires.
The interior has been restored with new black vinyl upholstery for the low-back front bucket seats and rear bench. The floors are lined with perforated rubber mats over a painted pan with drain holes. Features include seatback storage pockets, a red floor-mounted shift lever with a color-coordinated shift pattern on the knob, and a VDO speedometer.
The air-cooled 1600cc flat-four engine was rebuilt using original German parts and is said to produce up to 46 HP and 72 lb.-ft of torque. The rear wheels are driven through a 4-speed manual transmission. The seller reports that this Thing has been serviced meticulously under the care of its longtime owner with a collection of documented maintenance history accompanying the sale.
This sale will include owner’s books, repair manuals, a binder of service records, and a clean title.
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