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1972 Volkswagen Type 181 Thing

The Volkswagen Type 181 was designed as a forestry/military vehicle to be used in Europe, mainly the German Army. It was built in Europe from 1969 through 1971 after which, Mexico began producing the vehicle. In Mexico it was called 'Safari'. Pontiac had a station-wagon in the mid 1950's named 'Safari', so Volkswagen was unable to use that name in the US market. So the decision was made to label the vehicle, 'The Thing'.

The Thing was a rear engine, rear-wheel drive vehicle based loosly on the platform of the Beetle. With its four doors it appeared to be much larger than a Volkswagen Beetle, however, it was only a few inches wider and weighed about the same.

A Volkswagen air-cooled, 1.6 liter flat-four provided 46 horsepower and 70 foot-pounds of torque. It was capable of achieving a top speed of around 70 miles per hour.

In 1974, Volkswagen introduced the 'Acapulco' Thing. It was basically stock, had blue and white paint, running boards, a few trim changes, a Surry top and either a soft top or a hard top.

The doors were able to be removed; no tools were necessary. The top was convertible with a fiberglass hard top available as optional equipment. With a price tag of around $3,000, it was close to one-thousand dollars more than a Volkswagen Beetle; a high price to pay for a SUV with modest horsepower and no four-wheel drive. Its ultimate demise was its inability to meet U.S. governmnet crash test standards for 'passenger cars' in 1975. It was able to avoid those requirements by being classified as a 'Multi-Purpose Vehicle' in 1973 and 1974.

In 1975 production ceased after about 25,000 examples were produced.


By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2015

Concepts by Volkswagen

Volkswagen Monthly Sales Volume

December 2019
27,877
November 2019
29,218
October 2019
28,072
September 2019
26,947
August 2019
35,412
July 2019
31,188
June 2019
31,725
May 2019
35,702
April 2019
31,309
March 2019
37,092
February 2019
25,706
January 2019
23,074
Additional Sales Volume Data


Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1972 Type 181 Thing
$3,000-$37,935
1972 Volkswagen Type 181 Thing Base Price : $3,000

$1,845 - $2,400

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Volkswagen
1977Chevrolet (2,543,153)Toyota (1,884,260)Ford (1,840,427)1,123,575
1976Chevrolet (2,103,862)Toyota (1,884,260)Ford (1,861,537)1,061,940
1975Chevrolet (1,755,773)Toyota (1,714,836)Ford (1,569,608)268,751
1974Chevrolet (2,333,839)Ford (2,179,791)Renault (1,355,799)955,355
1973Chevrolet (2,579,509)Ford (2,349,815)Fiat (1,390,251)1,128,784
1972Chevrolet (2,420,564)Ford (2,246,563)Fiat (1,368,216)1,128,784
1971Ford (2,054,351)Chevrolet (1,830,319)Volkswagen (1,128,784)1,128,784
1970Ford (2,096,184)Chevrolet (1,451,305)Volkswagen (1,193,853)1,193,853
1969Chevrolet (2,092,947)Ford (1,826,777)Volkswagen (1,241,580)1,241,580
1968Chevrolet (2,139,290)Ford (1,753,334)Volkswagen (1,191,854)1,191,854
1967Chevrolet (2,206,639)Ford (1,730,224)Toyota (1,068,321)921,013

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