Rust Free! 1972 Volkswagen Thing

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a VW Thing without rust! This 1972 model has been in the same family for over 19 years and has obviously been well taken care of during that time. It’s listed for sale in a no-reserve auction here on eBay and bidding is already pushing $10,000 with some days left to go. The Thing is currently in Tuscon, Arizona, the birthplace of the chimichanga in 1922 (hey, weird car, weird trivia)!

I’m sure most of you know that the “Thing” was derived from the World War II Type 62 Kubelwagen, which was used in a similar fashion to the US Jeep. One of the things that’s a little odd about this particular car is that Things were only sold in the US in 1973 and 1974 (although the model was produced from 1968 to 1980) so it may well be an import from elsewhere. Interestingly enough, the model was sold by different names elsewhere — in England, it was the VW Trekker, Mexico and South America had the VW Safari, and you could buy the VW Pescaccia (beastly fish) in Italy!

Obviously, the car isn’t perfect and there are plenty of deviations from stock including the paint–at least it’s not a 73/74 US color. I’m guessing you don’t really mind this being the main trunk (frunk?) as long as it looks cool, right?

As far as I can tell, these aren’t original seats, at least for this year’s model. They do look a lot more comfortable than the older factory seats!

Not exactly a tower of power, US Things came with a 46-horsepower Beetle-derived flat-four. Of course, those engines can be made to make a lot more horsepower, and since this car isn’t stock anyway, I’d probably go that route (stock Things had a top speed of around 55 miles per hour) to make it a little safer to drive on the highway. Have you ever owned a Thing? Is this one tempting? Let us know in the comments!


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  1. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    Trekker, Safari, Pescaccia?
    And in the States? “Thing”.
    What does that say about us?

    Like 8
    • Howard A Member

      That we’re the most honest of the bunch?

      Like 21
    • Ike Onick

      Waffen SS People-Mover” was already taken?

      Like 12
  2. alphasud Member

    When I look in the frunk I see a missing gas heater. US cars got that for 73 only. This one also has electronic ignition from a later Beetle. It’s also cool to see the small tail lamps we never saw in our country. As far as color they made a special edition that was painted blue and white and had matching top and interior in blue and white. Just can’t remember what they called it. My dad wanted me to get a Thing for my first car when I was in HS. Back then I didn’t want to get caught driving my thing or playing with my thing or working on my thing. I wanted a 67 Firebird like my friend had.

    Like 21
    • Bob E

      The Blue and White version you are referring to was the “Acapulco” edition.

      Like 12
    • Ron

      Blue an white stripes, with dingle ball on top, the acapulco.

  3. Fred W

    My brother in law at the time, not the brightest bulb in the drawer, bought a brand new one as a family car. A car with Velcro windows up north. I remember him demonstrating the gasoline heater. I thought it was cool and a year later I owned a Corvair with one.

    Like 5
  4. JohnD

    We had one with a gas heater. I think the heater used more gas than the car!

    Like 6
    • alphasud Member

      I bet it was your friend on a cold winter night!

      Like 1
  5. Nick

    I had a ’73 – lots of low-speed fun, would go anywhere, but like most VWs of that era, very cold in the winter.

    Like 5
  6. TinCanSailor

    A friend of mine had one in college in the early 80s. The Thing was a complete rustbucket. We’d drive down the road and I could look up at the sky and down (through the floorboard) at the road.

    Top speed of 55 is about right. I wouldn’t want to go faster than that anyway!! Going fast was not the Thing’s strong point.

    Like 4
  7. James H Cook

    I worked at a dealership and bought a used yellow Thing for my teenage son who turned his nose up on it in 1983 and lo all these years later he wishes he had it now.

    It was a blast to drive in the sand hills.

    Like 5
  8. lance rosmaier

    Had one in the California Mtns. Plow crew borrowed it one time when their 4WD truck couldn’t make it home. No idea how they managed but they made it and back to work the next day.

    Like 1
  9. joenywf64

    On this car, you don’t have to worry about door panels, kick panels, etc. cracking, warping or discoloring – there aren’t any!
    In the old days of full serve gas, i was always aggravated with the older VW bugs coming in that i had to raise the hood to put in gas for the customer & they usually only got very little gas & told me to put the gas in slowly.
    This car with a hood prop rod would be even worse! lol
    Parts are available!
    I bet that tank is no more than 7 gallons.
    Forget about power windows – this one doesn’t even have cranks!

  10. Howie Mueler

    Looks nice, sellers feedback (3), sold a VW van for $16k.

  11. bobhess bobhess Member

    Bought our rust free ’73 in ’84, did what needed doing to the engine, paint, and knee knockers on the bumper ends, put a roll bar in and used it for fun and our shop car. Had the gas heater which worked very well in Oklahoma winters. Sold it to a car collector who assured it’s working days were over.

    Like 4
  12. James H

    “Tucson”. Heh.

    Learned to drive when I was 14/15 in a ‘74 Thing. First motor I ever pulled, 14 years old as well. We floated the front end messing around in the woods on the Mississippi Gulf coast. Dad still has a ‘74 that he bought out of a farm in Pennsylvania, Thing had 7000 original miles, original floormats, etc. My favorite thing growing up was when in highschool the girls would ask “What is that thing”. Good times.

    Like 6
  13. Richard Jones

    I remember that they couldn’t give them away up here in Alaska back then. Wow

    Like 1
    • Ike Onick

      Apart from the fact you would freeze to death in it and a bear could open it up like a tin of tuna, I wonder why they couldn’t give them away?

      Like 2

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