Pick of the Day: 1974 Volkswagen Thing

Credit: Original article published by Classic Cars Journal.

We have a very compelling Thing to talk about today.

The Pick of the Day is a 1974 Volkswagen Type 181 Thing listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a private seller in Columbus, Ohio. (Click the link to view the listing)

“A $25,684 restoration was completed at 92,000 miles,” the listing states. “The restoration included a complete vehicle disassembly, body repair where necessary, new paint, and reassembly with a new engine, new top and frame, side curtains, brake lines, nuts bolts, seals, new rubber, and fender welting.”

The Type 181 was a two-wheel drive, four-door convertible that was produced in Germany from 1968 through 1983. Although it was originally designed for military use, a civilian version came to the United States in 1973 and 1974 and was named the Thing. (It went to various other markets, and was sold as the Safari in Mexico, the Camat in Indonesia, and the Trekker in the United Kingdom, among others). The body of the Type 181 had lots of versatile features, including interchangeable / removable doors, a flat-folding windshield, and a removable roof.

If the squared-off design and rarity of the Thing didn’t make it eye-catching enough, this example also has a bright yellow paint job to draw even more eyes. The exterior features color-matched steel wheels, auxiliary fog lamps, quadruple exhaust outlets, and a European-spec license plate mounted up front. On the interior, black vinyl seats have been added along with a wood-rimmed steering wheel, a chrome-finished shifter, and custom carpeting. The seller has included a two-page document in the photo gallery outlining a May 2022 inspection of the vehicle’s cosmetic and mechanical condition.

Speaking of the mechanicals, torque comes from a rear-mounted flat-four paired with a four-speed manual transmission. The seller states that the powertrain has been gone through by two different shops with a nearly $3,000 spent on services. The Hankook tires are also new.

The Type 181 left the United States market just two years after its arrival, when new safety standards forced it into obsolescence. Finding a clean one now (almost 50 years later) can be a challenge.

“If you want to be the center of attention, this is the vehicle for you,” the listing concludes. The seller is asking $24,500 for this unique Thing, which is sure to be the talk of your local cars and coffee.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.