1973 Volkswagen Thing 181 Kubelwagen

1973 Volkswagen Thing 181 Kubelwagen

For Sale, 1973 Volkswagen Thing 181 Kubelwagen

Price SOLD
Buy Classic Volks – Volkswagen Thing for sale in California, USA. This a 1973 Volkswagen Thing 181 Kubelwagen on green color, good condition. Lordy! Lordy! The Thing is Forty! Only 25,000 of these unusual looking cars were sold in the US, and only the 1973 model has the Eberspacher gas-heater. I have owned, driven, and maintained this Thing for about 20 years. It is in overall very good condition for a forty year old soft-top. Restoration including paint, all vinyl, and new long-block was completed in 2000. It has been my daily driver in the summer and spent winters garaged since then. I have kept it in excellent mechanical condition because I have relied on it and driven it. This Thing does not leak oil and has minimal oil consumption. Runs and Handles remarkably well; arrange a test drive if possible. All systems required for safe and legal driving are functioning.

Volkswagen Type 181
Year 1973
Type Type 181
Model Thing 181 Kubelwagen
Color Green
Engine 1600cc
Made in Germany
Condition Good


I believe so strongly in the mechanical soundness of this car, that I am offering a warranty. Mechanical maintenance since I have owned the car includes:

Within 100 miles:
*New fuel tank seal, filler neck, and breather hoses
*New generator/regulator and gen. stand gaskets
*New Horn
*New ignition switch
*rebuilt intake manifold with all new seals
*rebuilt fuel pump with new rod, block and seals
*re-bushed shifter linkage
*Crankcase and Air filter oil changed (Castrol 20w-50)
*Replaced fuel filter, fuel hoses
*adjusted valves, new valve cover gaskets
*New distributor cap, rotor, spark plugs and wires, set timing

Within 5000 miles:
*Blaupunkt receiver with 3.5mm input and SanDisk drive.
*New 009 distributor with magnetic points (Pertronix)
*New Ball Joints, Rebushed front axle

Within 10000 miles:
*New Front and Rear Wheel Bearings (including rear inner)
*New steering damper

Within 20000 miles: *Gas Heater rebuilt (by an expert) with new heat exchanger and Glow Plug
*New Gas Heater Fuel pump
*New Brake drums front and rear with new shoes, Brake master cylinder
slave cylinders and hardware
*2” Receiver hitch with motor skid-plate over-rider
*New 34-pict3 carburetor
*Four New Tires

Within 40000 miles:
*New Long-block engine (has original skid-plate installed)
*New clutch, pressure plate, and throw-out bearing
*New exhaust exits through rear bumper
*New Tie-Rod ends
*New Starter
*New KYB Shocks
*Upgrade to Hella H4 headlights
*Changed transmission fluid
*New clutch cable
*Aviation strength accelerator cable
*New steering gear box and steering column coupler
*rebuilt side rearview mirrors

Within 60000 miles:
*New fuel tank
*Rebuilt wiper motor

Other upgrades during the restoration include: New upper windshield frame. Supports were added (see pic) to prevent the new upper frame from being damaged by shrinking vinyl, a common problem with Things. Windshield still folds down as it should. A glove box door was added. Pioneer 2 way 6×9 speakers. Soft top tie downs rebuilt. All seat covers, top, side curtains, sun visors, seals and welts were replaced at that time. Engine compartment lock, driver door lock, passenger door lock, and ignition are all operated by a single key.

Extras Included in the sale: Vinyl side curtain storage pouch. New windshield wiper blades. New spare gas cap. Euro-plug universal male end for 12v appliances to fit the dash socket. Thing owner’s manual. Thing Service manual (original VW). Thing parts diagram. Gas Heater troubleshooting manual. Set of spare/tune-up parts: Clutch cable, Accelerator cable, Cap, Rotor, Points, condenser, oil change gaskets, valve cover gaskets, new spark plugs, new spark plug wires, spare oil (Castrol 20w-50), fuel filter, and fuel line. Great stuff to carry with you if you are considering driving cross-country. Just add tools. I will, also, be happy to provide free technical support by phone or email for as long as you own the car.

Cosmetics and Rust: Anyone who tells you, or implies to you, that a forty year old soft-top is rust-free is not being honest. These vehicles are subject to rusting around the rear rocker-panel and floor pan. Look around at other Thing ads and see which ones don’t show close-ups of the floor pan and rocker-panels. Rear outer rockers in this Thing were welded and repaired during restoration. Rear floor pan was replaced at that time. See pics. Rust has been ‘stable’ since the restoration. I believe that this is because it has spent winters indoors and because I removed the plastic plugs from the bottoms of floor and rockers and allowed them to drain freely.

The paint and vinyl top are showing their age. I have driven the car off-highway (gravel road and driveway) and incurred lots of chips. I have touched these up recently, and the color match is less than perfect. The paint is fair at this point. I felt that the new owner should have the opportunity, as I did during the last restoration, to remove all small parts and pay close attention to details of a new paint job. I could have blown a cheap coat of paint on and pushed it out the door, as the majority of Things that I see advertised have been. That said, it still shines up nicely, and looks good from 20 feet away or with a light coat of dirt. You are sure to get looks and compliments, as I have, for all these years.

What doesn’t work: Reverse lights: not working. Windshield washer system: complete with many new parts, but the switch on the steering column leaks washer fluid into the drivers lap.

Warranty: Guaranteed to remain safe, legal, and functional to your declared destination of choice within the lower 48 states. If anything mechanical fails on your drive home, I will reimburse you for half of the cost of parts and labor to repair it. This warranty specifically covers all of the items listed above as mechanical maintenance and may cover other items and systems that are essential to safe legal travel. Limitations: Does not cover abuse, off-highway driving, items disclosed as not working, items not included in the sale, theft, vandalism, collisions, lodging costs, personal injury, lost wages or acts of god. New owner must contact me before repairs are made (if possible) to confirm coverage. Repairs must be completed within 30 days of sale. Proof of repairs must be received by me within 90 days of sale. Mileage at time of repair must not be more than 3000 miles higher than odometer reading at the time of sale. Cost of parts and labor cannot exceed the sale price of the Thing.

For Sale Seperately: New five point roll bar kit, requires welding. Original engine still running when removed and stored indoors since. Prices negotiable.

Odometer: 02900 (not actual) Transmission: Manual
VIN: 1832567053 Engine: Gasoline 1600cc
Registration: CA (current through April 2014) Title: Clear CA- In Hand
Location: Trinity Center, CA 96091