The Volkswagen Type 181 Thing was a stripped down vehicle used for West German military use as a temporary solution while the Europa Jeep was being developed. Of course, the Europa Jeep (a 1960s NATO project for a Jeep style vehicle) never made it into production, and the 181 filled in nicely -- eventually it was offered for civilian use around the globe. Find this 1973 Volkswagen Thing offered here on eBay, currently bidding for $6,501 with 1 day to go, located in Kenvil, NJ.
The Thing used a Karmann-Ghia floorpan and
various parts from the Beetle, Transporter, etc. It was engineered using all the best 20th century modernist
architectural rules, particularly the axiom that "form follows
function." Nothing was added to the Type 181 that wasn't essential for
military transportation in a war zone.
Powering the Thing is a rear mounted 1.6 liter flat-4 making
about 50 horsepower and 50 ft-lbs of torque and puts the power down via
its 4 speed manual transaxle. Don't expect to go anywhere quickly, but
rest assured you will reach your destination. Unlike modern VAG
engines, VW's aircooled flat-4 is legendary for basic ruggedness and
easy roadside repairs.
See a better way to drive a classic aircooled oddball? email@example.com