FUN BEACH CRUISER, 1600CC 4-SPEED, 4-WHEEL DISC UPGRADE, GREAT RUNNER/DRIVER!!!
No, it doesn't swim and it doesn't have 4-wheel-drive, but this 1973 Volkswagen Thing is still one of the coolest things on four wheels. The Beetle's outdoorsy cousin, the Thing is hard to classify but remains one of those great moments in automotive history where a major automaker said, "Hey, let's do something different."
Now the unusual thing about this Thing is that it's in such good condition. Most have long ago rotted away or been abused to the point where they were scrapped, but not this one. A few years ago it was repainted, which suggests that it was always a well-maintained car, er truck, er Thing, and it's holding up rather well. There are some minor nicks and scratches that come from use, because this Thing is always up to having some fun, but otherwise it looks pretty darned good. The sheetmetal is straight, the doors fit well, and when it was painted, they even reinstalled fresh fender welting between the pieces to give it that highly detailed look that's factory-correct. The bright orange finish seems perfectly appropriate on something designed just for fun, and the blacked-out bumpers look suitably industrial. You also get a fold-down windshield, familiar Beetle-style taillights, and chrome door handle that dress it up a bit.
In the usual VW fashion, the interior is basic, but it's friendly at the same time. New tan vinyl bucket seats up front and a split bench in back make it a legitimate 4-seater, the kind of car we might have called a phaeton in earlier times. The dashboard is a simple flat sheet that has been painted body color and the familiar Beetle round instrument cluster was stuck in the middle. There are a few other knobs and handles for the secondary controls like headlights and the cigarette lighter, but if you can't figure out how to make this Thing work, you probably shouldn't be driving. There's no radio, no heater, no real creature comforts of any kind, but that's the whole appeal of the Thing: how basic can we go? There's a new tan convertible top that fits rather well and with a full set of side curtains it seals up pretty well. Or just remove the doors and go without, the Thing doesn't care, which is why there's a built-in roll bar. Up front, there's also a good-sized trunk that's decent for a run to the beach.
For reliability, there aren't many better choices than the 1600 cc Volkswagen air-cooled flat-4. It's the same one you find in a Beetle, so parts are plentiful, upgrades are easy, and it'll run practically forever with only modest maintenance. This one is quite correct and bone simple with all the correct parts, including a Bosch ignition system and proper generator. A single carburetor means tuning is easy and it's surprisingly vigorous out on the open road. The 4-speed manual shifts cleanly thanks to an aftermarket shifter and the gearing makes the Thing feel reasonably quick in just about any situation. The body tub is in very good order and the suspension is also from the Beetle, although 4-wheel disc brakes are a very welcome upgrade. Big 15-inch wheels look sporty and carry oversized 215/70/15 radials that look as rugged as the rest of the car.
You don't see many of these, and the good ones really stand out. This one has enjoyed an easy life and has a lot of smiles left in it, so it's ready to enjoy. Call today!
- Four Wheel Disc Brakes
- Vinyl Interior
- Manual Convertible Top
- Exterior Color
- Interior Color
- Front Brakes
- Rear Brakes
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