The Volkswagen Thing is weird, fun, and affordable as ever


Volkswagen might make sober Golfs and Jettas now, but in the 1960s and 1970s the German brand was home to cars that exemplified counter-culture. Classic Beetles, funky buses, and boxy Vanagons are to this day viewed through this lens, but what about the stubby VW Thing? Also known as the Type 181, this bare-bones off-roader is actually experiencing a surge of interest amidst the market’s overall boom for vintage SUVs like Jeeps, Land Rovers, Ford Broncos, and Toyota Land Cruisers.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/11/16/volkswagen-thing-is-weird-fun-and-affordable


I’ve got a 1974 Thing in Avocado Green, awaiting a restoration when I’m done my current bus project.


Just bought the wife a 74, it’s a runner driver in serious need of a resto. Before this one I had a super clean 73.


My ‘73 has both vinyl fold-down and a removable fiberglass hardtop. A few years ago I picked up a new 1600cc engine still in the Mex factory crate. Runs like a gem!


I have had my 1973 Thing for over 34 years now. Back it June I ended up in a flash flood and unfortunately, it had to be totaled. But all is not lost. I had Hagerty’s “Cherished Salvage” coverage and was able to keep the Thing after the loss with NO salvage payment!. As I post this, It is in the shop have everything rebuilt and should be back on the road by early December 2018. I look forward driving it again and keeping it in the family for years to come.


Had a '73 Thing, bought used from a young lady that impulsively bought it new because it was “cute”. The cute wore off the first winter when the gasoline heater refused to run for more than about 10 minutes at a time. Then it got really cold in the big interior covered with the thin layer of vinyl called a top. Was the Thing the last commercially produced passenger vehicle that actually still had side curtains instead of roll-up windows? Might be.