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No Reserve, 67k Mile Survivor: 1973 Volkswagen Thing

Just in time for pumpkin season is this Pumpkin Orange 1973 VW Thing. I can’t get over how clean, original, and solid (and rust free) it is considering the rough life these convertible breadboxes often led. If you wanted to intentionally design a vehicle that’s really prone to rust and not survive for 50 years, you’re looking at it. But this one has bucked the odds and you’re looking at a two-owner Thing with only 67,480 miles on the clock with its original paint and interior. The seller, Jimmy, has included over 50 photos to show the nice condition of this Thing which has been in Oregon and Washington since new and obviously spent a lot of time in a garage. It’s still in Washington state (Lakewood) and is for sale at No Reserve here on eBay. As I’m writing this, 21 bids have been submitted and the top bid is $7,600.

These boxy “Quirkymobiles” were only sold here in the U.S. for the 1973 and 1974 models years with about 25,000 finding new owners. The Thing’s original Pumpkin Orange paint is very presentable and the factory decals are intact. The seller says, “as with original vehicles, there are some chips and scratches. Only 2 small dings.” I’m not spotting rust, the panels look straight, and the seller says it’s never been in an accident. The current black soft top looks good and fits well and the seller has improved visibility if you’re driving with the top up by replacing the old, yellow side curtains with new clear windows. It’s also had new tires and brakes within the last 500 miles. One non-original item spotted is the rear spare tire carrier (I’m guessing to free up storage space under the front bonnet where the spare usually rests). There’s also a brush bar that’s been added to the front bumper which could’ve been a factory or dealer option. Overall, it looks very good to be 50 years old (and a Thing).

You don’t often see original interiors this nice in a ’73 or ’74 VW Thing. The black leatherette front bucket seats and fold-down rear seat look very good. The seller says the original floor pans are solid and have never been worked on or repainted. The factory radio still works and the seller claims the factory gas heater is all there but he’s never tried to operate it. Versatility as well as fun (VW advertised The Thing as “Another fun car from Volkswagen.”), were selling points and you can lower the windshield and removed all four doors on a Thing if you wish.

The rear engine compartment is clean and tidy like the rest of this vehicle and houses the familiar VW air-cooled 46-horsepower 1600-cc flat four engine. It has only 67, 480 original miles and is mated to a four-speed manual transmission. These were known for being painfully slow, so you won’t want to drive this on a super freeway. The seller says it runs and drives great and is ready to enjoy from day one. Hagerty values a 1973 Thing in #2 Excellent condition at $35,200 and a #3 Good condition at $24,700. With this being a No Reserve auction, there’s always a possibility that the next owner could get a good deal. Only time (and bidding activity) will tell. Happy Bidding if you’ve got a thing for well-preserved Orange Things!


  1. Clay

    These are cool in the funkiest sense of the term. But $35K? I’m not sure they’re that cool. Maybe half that. Still, it would be a hoot on weekends.

    Like 7
  2. Malcolm Boyes

    The brush bar and spare carrier are probably from The Thing Shop in Arizona that has all things for the Thing.I has to disagree about running on the highway..I have done several 1000 miles round trips in mine, down thro Baja and up to the Bay area.I commuted on LA freeways and it would handle 70 with the 1600 and was a lot better with a 1776 big bore kit.Mine now resides down in the Caribbea..I would love this one but it wont be cheap!

    Like 6
    • Chnkymnky

      Ditto man! I traveled cross country in my old Thing multiple times in the mid-90s. It did amazingly well on the freeways.

      I miss that car…although admittedly I don’t miss sleeping in it for a few months at a time… 😜😂

      Like 2
  3. Bama

    Don’t know where they come up with 46 hp, that’s a 65 hp dual port. Best engine VW ever made.

    Like 4
    • Neil Conklin

      Yes. I had a yellow 73 Thing mine had the spare on the front hood. The 73s had a gas heater, which the 74s did not. I bought it when I was living in Wyoming so the gas heater was a good thing. Even so it was pretty darned cold in the winter—I used to wear a WWII flight suit and my wife rode in a sleeping bag. It was slow yes but it would go almost anywhere. I drove it all over Wyoming, on and off road, to the east coast and back through Canada. With my brother and his wife we drove to Guadalajara, MX and back. When we moved to Minnesota I sold it when my wife bought a Renault Le Car. Yes we have a thing for quirky vehicles

      Like 0
  4. chrlsful

    was it vedub’s attempt at the current suv’s @ that time? a memory thing for the WWII similar? I’ll never know but each 1 I see frustrates the stuffin outta me tryin to remember that TV show of the 2 girls reunited @ teen hood. Same mom, one girl much more latin-x had the car’n was a lill more the artist. The other more blondish, wealthier and the grade winner. (Not twins: “Sister, Sister”; “the Lying Game”…

    Like 1
    • chrlsful

      cant even remember the decade for the show.
      Post up to remind me the name?

      Like 1
  5. Wade Pierce

    Another “Original” low mile Thing with nothing original in the engine compartment?? The Factory oil breather is missing, the oil neck is wrong, that aftermarket exhaust look does not work on the Thing imo, and the Engine tins are painted GRAY? If that’s not an AM Engine, it didn’t leave Puebla MX w that powerplant! If a car only has 60K+ in original miles, the interior would be a SMOOTH VINYL, not that Beetle type pattern. Also, WHY would you change the original exhaust, that exits the bumper holes, with the suggested “original” mileage? The front brush guard could be had at the dealer when NEW, as well as the rear Spare Tire carrier. They were originally Military vehicles before they became The Thing and are geared lower than any other VW of the period and are running hard at 70mph. I’ve owned at least one of them since ’93 and know this from experience. If you ran them harder, you’d break them fast or be sitting on the side of the road bc you vaporized the fuel bc it got too HOT! Common problem in the ’73s. That’s why VW added the air boxes on the ’74s to cool them better to avoid vapor lock and heating issues that vaporized fuel. Great cars to drive around in Spring and Fall unless u have a functioning BN4 Gas heater in your ’73. That will keep you VERY TOASTY in the Winter months. Especially, in Texas where the Winters aren’t as harsh! I still own a 88k Thing from TX and the front clip of a ’74 that I’m making a trailer out of. I drove my 1st Thing as a daily in the early 90s to late 00s and traveled to Texas from Alabama in my ’73 in ’96 and had no issues! This one is Not as original as the owner believes IMO. Too many things wrong about this Thing for it to be a true “survivor”. However, It is a CLEAN THING FOR SURE! GLWTS

    Like 2
    • Wade Pierce

      This car will be nasty in the rain because the front curtains should have a flap style window that snaps inside and out so that in can be opened in the rain to help with air circulation…This car will fog up quick if you don’t have an operational BN4 Heater bc that’s also the source for DEFROST in a ’73 Thing!!

      Like 1
  6. chrlsful

    no more surprises in the auto sales world 4 me Wade. Yrs ago I found that most do not know what they have. Not so funny is many of the buyers? same. So my bet? most cars R sold for what they are not and bought the same way.

    More recently (last 30, 40 yrs) I just figure ‘a reasonable facsimile’, buy and look for the correct prts if not in the shop already.

    Keep ur ‘knowledge’ – it has value (I use it @ time of purchase) as “Almost 100% of car sales value (to me) is @ purchase time, not @ sale point.” (my labor is almost free).

    Like 1
  7. chrlsful

    36 bids, 10.5K$, ends 2d
    Still cant remember (decade or) name of TV show…
    May be 2, 3 yr run? (binge watched in wk or so, no
    wonder I cant name decade it showed…

    Like 0

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