Acapulco Edition: 1974 VW Thing

Given the 1:18 scale model of a rare 1974 VW Thing “Acapulco” edition is selling for $100 on eBay, it should be of little surprise this is a fairly pricey example at nearly $20K. But these island-friendly VWs are indeed hard to track down, as only a few hundred were released in the U.S. A few years ago, an Acapulco Thing cracked $60K at auction, so don’t knock its weirdness just yet. Find this Thing here on craigslist in California for $19,800.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Miguel for the find. Fittingly, this Thing is located in Newport Beach, and really, it should stay there. Not that I don’t want to see it here on the opposite coast, but it deserves to live in a climate where open-air driving is a year-round option. The seller says this is a “good investment car” that is priced “way below market”, and it may be – but the market has also cooled since that big dollar sale I mentioned.

It’s also important when buying an Acapulco edition to have the supporting paperwork that validates this unusual trim package. The parts, as you can see, are largely cosmetic in nature, so swapping them to a standard Thing is entirely possible. Prices for these are all over the map, with the high-dollar sale seemingly an outlier. However, desirable examples of air-cooled VWs are not immune to some truly shocking numbers, so $20K could look like a bargain to someone hunting for this rare Thing variant.

The story behind the Acapulcos is fascinating, as the U.S. models were modeled after actual vehicles used at two resorts, both in Acapulco: the Princess Hotel Resort used Things with the blue color scheme seen here, and the Las Brisas resort chose pink as the underlying color. There’s a great thread on The Samba discussing the history of this model, and further confirmation that fakes are rampant. Do your homework and make sure there’s a beach in your zip code.


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  1. Dean

    I think of Patrick McGoohan’s “The Prisoner” anytime I see these conversions.

    Like 1
    • Miguel

      This reminds me of the smaller but similar vehicles used in Mazatlán to get around for the tourists.

      Those guys can get pretty creative with their designs.

  2. Jim J

    Any way to know if this is legit by the VIN?

  3. Andre

    This is really cool. didn’t know they existed. I’d love to putt along in traffic in this thing.

    Like 1
  4. John Jefferson

    Also one available on East coast…. just not making the full on Acapulco claim.

    • Nate

      That guy’s got a barn full of them!

  5. DRV

    I found and bought a real one for a friend in 1982 . It was in Hudson Ohio when it was last sold . Has anybody seen one in NE Ohio as I would like to track it down?

    Like 1
    • JoeinMI

      I live in Southeast Michigan. I saw an Acapulco at the local car gathering at a Big Boy restaurant in Brooklyn, Michigan. That’s less than an hour from NE Ohio, so it might be the same car. It was in very nice condition. If I see it again I’ll try and get some contact information.

      Like 1
  6. Jack Quantrill

    Good deal! These will only go up in value.

  7. Rob

    We used these and similarly painted rabbits back home for rental cars when they were new. You could always see a touron coming haha. Every once in awhile, I see one where I live now. Good to know they were a factory package, we just thought they were custom and gaudy.

    Like 1
  8. James

    A V-dub Jolly.

    Like 2
  9. cidevco

    To help everyone on determining if the Thing you are looking at is an Acapulco it is in the VIN number and that can’t be faked. I bought one 4 years ago found in a bone yard in the desert of Nevada that was put there in 1989. Im currently restoring it but not exactly to the cute blue trim that you see on this one. I have choose to leave the Alpine White of the period in 1974. When I was registering it at The Motor Vehicle Department the gal at the counter knew it was an Acapulco before I told her and she confirmed the VIN supports this claim.

    Like 1
  10. Pedro Sarda

    I agree the DMV may have information stating a VW Thing was registered as an Acapulco. What I disagree with is that the actual VIN says it is an Acapulco since the number only shows that it is a Volkswagen Thing and the consecutive unit number. No special data was included in the VIN. The best way to recognize an original Acapulco is by looking under the sides and finding the threaded nuts for bolts holding the only Acapulco steps.

  11. Scott

    Finally a top even I could chop!

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