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Factory Hardtop: 1973 Volkswagen Thing

There’s not a lot of information to go on for this dusty 1973 Volkswagen Thing, which sports great colors and a factory hardtop. Typically, Things are either in two states of condition: totally restored or total basketcases, so finding an actual survivor with no major rust issues is worth giving a closer look to. This example supposedly has just 78,000 original miles, but the seller is asking all the money for it. You’ll find the Thing listed here on Facebook Marketplace, with an asking price of $18,500 and residing in lovely Twentynine Palms, California.

Twentynine Palms sits in the shadow of Joshua Tree National Park, and a VW Thing seems like the perfect accessory for a lifestyle that epitomizes a California existence. The colors, too, are great, with the rare factory hardtop looking sharp against the banana yellow paint job. There is a temptation to paint the hardtop to match to give the Thing the look of a vintage factory SUV, but that’s up to the next owner. The factory painted steel wheels and hubcaps both appear to be in good shape, and aside from a moderate sag of the rear bumper, I see no obvious flaws in the bodywork to report.

The interior is another serious bright spot, with the seating surface presenting as-new. However, those are clearly not the factory bucket seats, so it’s likely they’ve been re-done in the recent past. I can’t say I blame this owner or a previous one for swapping in much more modern buckets, as the originals were fairly primitive in their design. The paint matches nicely inside, and the door jambs look as clean as the exterior. The interior just looks plain nice all around, so at least the seller’s two-word description – “survivor car” – seems accurate.

The engine bay could stand to be detailed, but its grungy cosmetic condition simply reflects the effects of use rather than years’ worth of neglect. The seller obviously doesn’t extrapolate on the condition of the running gear, but one would hope given the impressive cosmetics that the drivetrain is in equally good health. VW Things are certainly desired by a certain subset of enthusiasts, but it’s still obscure enough that their values haven’t exploded to the point that buyers are willing to pay any amount. If it were presented slightly better and with running condition confirmed, the asking price doesn’t seem out of reach – but the current presentation leaves more questions than answers.


  1. alphasud Member

    Back in 82 when I was looking for my first car my dad wanted me to buy a clementine orange 73 Thing. He took me along and had me test drive it hoping to convince me that was the car. All I could think of is how I would be the brunt of every joke about driving a Thing. What didn’t help was my friend across the street got a Verdoro green 67 Firebird. I wanted a cool car like his. I know my dad was looking out for my best interest and he didn’t want to read about me in the papers if I bought a V8. Many years later I look back on it and realized a made a mistake. I should have got the Thing. Ended up with a 72 super Beetle which was a good economical car. I still want a 67-68 Firebird!

    Like 10
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Put 56K miles on our ’73 in four and a half years. Mostly around town but would really have liked to have had seats like this one. Guess my butt was more durable those days. Fun cars.

    Like 1
  3. Christopher Gentry

    My uncle had a bright orange one back in the 80s. It has nougahide seats. Never seen another like that. Any who it was a blast. Top down, doors off , windshield down. Safe NO. but a blast

    Like 2
    • Phlathead Phil

      “Mr. Douglas, this is 100% genuine Nargle-hide.”

      -Mr.Haney from Green Acres!

  4. GREGG Anderson

    I was actually the 3rd owner of this THING. Itz only been over 25 years, now that eye think bout it. OG, sold 2 his SNL, then eye bought it @ Pomona ($2500.00) & @ the same tyme bought my lovely wifey a ‘78 Corvette Pace Car. jus sayin

    Like 1
  5. Hank Kaczmarek

    “Lovely” Twentynine Stumps?
    Obviously not written by a Marine.

    Like 4

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