“Don’t miss this one. A cool retro ride; this ’74 VW Thing is in great shape and a BC car to boot. Solid floorpan and a good runner. No rust, just fun in the sun. Rebuilt motor,new muffler, new balljoints and fiberglass fenders. Make this thing a great buy. Won’t find a better Thing at this price! BC car currently insured, it’s my daily driver. Thanks for looking, give a call for details: 250-871-2226 (work) or 250-941-2696 (home).”
There are few vehicles on earth with the cool factor of the Volkswagen Thing. Based on the old Kubelwagon military vehicle, the Thing was the byproduct of a few different Volkswagen assemblies. Borrowing the engine and transmission from the Type 1, the Thing’s unique sheetmetal started with the floorplan of a Karmann Ghia (due to the Ghia’s greater width) and the rear swing axle from the then-discontinued Type 1 Transporter van. However, being a 1974, this particular example should be riding on a double-jointed axles mounted to semi-trailing arms; a setup similar to that found in US-spec Beetles of the same era. A vehicle I’ve actually had the pleasure of driving, operating a Volkswagen Thing is remarkably fun. Like something located between a go-cart and a classic Land Rover, what they lack in power they make up for in exuberance.
This being the second Volkswagen in a row for the blog, it almost feels as if I’m repeating myself when I warn of rust, but the reality is that there’s no such thing as a classic VW that’s out of the rusty woods. And when it comes to the Thing, too much rot can be a very bad thing thanks to their relatively uncommon body panels. It doesn’t help that the once-cheap Thing has a long history of abuse, as previous owners tested the bizarre vehicles’ limits off road. And even if there isn’t much rot, any potential owner needs to be aware of the car’s caveats. Being based upon a military vehicle, even the best examples can be a little rough around the edges. The ride isn’t the smoothest, and things like keeping out the weather seems to have not been one of VW’s priorities with the flimsy windshield, doors, and roof… but, the flip side of that equation is an almost undying love to surviving. And as far as value goes, it’s one of the best values on the used car market, being one of those cars in which the cool factor is hugely disproportional to its price. And as they get older, one can expect the prices to only go up.