Affordable Classic: The Volkswagen Thing

This 1970s on- and off-road car inspired by a World War II vehicle offered beefy suspension, removable doors, and a folding windshield

After the success of the Volkswagen Beetle in the 1960s, VW resurrected the idea of an on- and off-road car, and called it the Type 181 "Thing." Inspired by the WWII Type 82 Kübelwagen, the Thing was updated with the Beetle baseline engine and running gear, but with the beefier Transporter/Microbus suspension. Also along the lines of the Kübelwagen was its Dumpsteresque—yet practical—styling. The simple doors and standard soft top could easily be removed, and the windshield folded flat. The rear-engined, rear-wheel drive car was rugged, and well-suited for unimproved roads.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.