the car junkie daily magazine.


Optimistic Seller: Would You Pay $6,500 For A Volkswagen Thing?

Optimistic Seller: Would You Pay $6,500 For A Volkswagen Thing?

Every time I voice an opinion about a used car being too expensive or well above what the market value should be, I get hate mail by the truck load. I’m jealous of those with money and should go cry in a corner. I don’t understand supply and demand…and should go cry in a corner. The current owner is free to ask whatever they want for the vehicle, so just shut up and go cry in a corner. Sense a theme? I damn sure have, and that’s why I’m only going to say one thing about the cost of this Volkswagen Thing: justify the cost to me. Please, humor your humble provider of reading materials this one time while you work on your morning constitution.

The Volkswagen 181 is one of the more polarizing offerings that has come from the house that the Beetle built. The 181 had two different focuses during development: as a stop-gap military vehicle that could be used until the proposed “Europa Jeep” entered production, and as an offering to the Mexican market and American dune buggy enthusiasts who were expected to welcome a small and durable off-roader with open arms. The whole platform was a grab-bag of VW parts: Karmann Ghia floorpan, Type 1 engines, and suspensions that first came from the Transporter, then later from the US-spec Beetle. Built from 1973-80, the 181 is another air-cooled wonder machine with a cult following.

This one, however, has seen better days. The white and blue paint mark this as an “Acapulco” edition Thing, One of maybe four hundred built in 1974. Based upon a series of vehicles built special for the Las Brisas resort in Acapulco, the limited edition unit was meant to emulate a beach cruiser, like a Fiat Jolly or the 1978 Volare wagon from “Fantasy Island”. A beach cruiser is supposed to give you images of sunny days, bright sandy beaches, colorful drinks and clear waters. This Thing makes us envision tetanus shots, anti-fungal medication and proof that some vehicles should just stay dead. There might always be a market for an air-cooled Volkswagen, but $6,500 for the sun-roasted hulk of one that is missing all of it’s running gear is several steps out of line.

Craigslist Link: 1974 Volkswagen Type 181 “Thing” Acapulco Edition

  • Share This
  • Pinterest
  • 0

11 thoughts on “Optimistic Seller: Would You Pay $6,500 For A Volkswagen Thing?

  1. john

    Bought a ’73 “thing” sight unseen, one of the first 5 delivered to the east coast. It was fun, but it had problems…the windshield was not safety glass and the brakes were trash. VW sent it to US HQ in North NJ, had it for a month while giving me a new 411 and a gas card…”go anywhere it’s on us”. Ultimately VW agreed to stop importing them in ’74 for safety deficiencies.

  2. OKSnake08

    They’re selling for 10-34 K on autotrader classic so he might be a little high but not too crazy. I’ve looked for one periodically on a whim and they have been over 4K in project form – just sayin’

  3. ChicoKid

    Let me put this into perspective: VW vans with a few extra windas, a Maaco paint job and some new pleather on the seats and a motor pushing 40 HP are selling for 100K. So this one is probably a deal…hahaha.

  4. Bill Butte

    Hey it’s got $3,500 worth of real patina at least – that should help one decide it’s true value

  5. Brendan M

    I don’t see any real value here. Looks like a parts car with all the good parts already scabbed off it.

  6. BeaverMartin

    High, but not crack pipe high. Air cooled VWs are unfortunately quickly going out of reach. It’s a shame because I was looking forward to the kids cutting their teeth on some classic VWs.

  7. jerry z

    Ad says engine included just not installed. Remember they were only imported 2 yrs so I would say they have some value. Not my cup of tea though.

Comments are closed.