VW's aircooled mini SUV. Great for riding in the country, or cruising the beach.
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Bob Ingman
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Post by Bob Ingman » Tue Feb 04, 2003 2:15 am

Welcome guys to the 181 Forum. I can see already you`re all going to be contributors here. Its the sharing of ideas and information that makes it work.
Feel free to use the gallery here when you have photos ready to post. That way we keep them all together in a way that they can all be viewed in sequense without hunting all over the forum for them.
Good luck and keep posting. Bob ingman

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Bob Ingman
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Post by Bob Ingman » Tue Feb 04, 2003 2:45 am

Hi,once again I`m updating this post. I think its important that we know each other to form a more cohesive unit here.
I do this from time to time just to include those who have recently joined us.
There are several threads here that I do this with beside the Introduction thread is the Gallery thread and the Swap and Sell thread plus the useful 181 Facts and Figures and Parts Interchange thread.
So for all of you who have not introduced yourselves please feel free to do so. For those of you who have, feel free to update any new projects you`ve undertaken. Thanks and good luck. Bob Ingman

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Post by KPCassella » Wed Aug 06, 2003 3:33 pm

Thanks Bob for keeping us newbies straight. I'm Kent currently living at West Point, NY. I'm in the middle of doing a body-off to my 1974 Thing. I have completed disassembly (it's ugly) and am poised to begin reassembly any day now. Transaxle has been checked out. New front beam has arrived. New pan sections going in next. POR 15 everywhere.

I've owned several air cooled VWs over the years but this Thing was my first car so I'm emotionally attached to it. I bought it in 1978 and kept it going until it died bad in 1983. It's been parked in my fathers barn until this past winter when I decided it was time for it to ride again!

Thanks to all for the advice so far. I'll need more as I press on, I'm sure.

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Post by Kubelmann » Fri Sep 19, 2003 3:58 pm

I am Ranganath. I escaped to the Rockies after serving my country. Now 30 years later, I am building Herr Kubelmann. I have founded the Rocky Mountain Thing Owner's Club know to the insider Thingsters as RoMTOC. We have a awesome Thing CD that goes for $10 shipping incl. Herr K is an offroad beast that is based on using as many of the best of the stock Thing parts and the 21st century technology available. I am currently putting the transaxle together. It will be base on a stock Thing transaxle with all the goodies inside to include super diff, close ratio 3 and 4 with welded shaft, hardened keys, (4) 11 tooth spider gears, Weddle 4:83 ring and pinion. After a long hard search (thanks to Bubba and Stub) I have in hand a set of 5.5 x 15 rims for my front end. Tomorrow we go to the lift and load the rear arms, adapt the 944 rear arms to the stock Thing emergency brake system. Yes I do have four wheel disc brakes based on all stock Herr Porche parts. This is based on the work of Jeff Hibbard and others. My 1915 was built to carefull specs by John M.
My exterior is the work fo the PO when HerrK was used for WWII historic reneactments. It has an historic finish of a radio carin the 2nd Signal Company that would have been used in the North of France as part of the Guderian division. I have an awesome pair of Dellorto 45s that have been dyno tuned to run like the wind at my 9,000 ft elevation. I get BAD gas milage but oh the torque on the low end. K-mann

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Post by Kenny2428 » Sat Sep 20, 2003 10:44 pm

Hello guys, I'm Kenny(duh). Anyways, I'ved learned quite a bit from this forum. I own a 1974 Super Bug, my dad owns a 1974 Thing. It needs some work, but it is great fun, I enjoy driving the Thing, more than I enjoy driving my Bug. It's mostly stock, with the exception of a single quite pack, and some Baja tires. I've taken it offroad a few times(nothing to extreme) and it takes bumps, an potholes surprisingly well. It's great.
My brother owns a 1963 Ghia, which is in need of some major work, but mechanically excellent. My other bro owns a 1971 Westy, it's also one of my favorties, although I have not gotten a chance to drive it yet. We are in the process of getting it on the road right now...good thing it has a new 1600.

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Post by jthw8 » Wed Sep 24, 2003 8:56 am

Hi everyone! Been lurking around this board and started joining the lists and other much info all over the place, but it seems most of the names and "faces" stay consistent. Nice group :)

My name is Jim Thwaite and Im currently living in New Jersey....ahhh the northeast, home of rust rust and some rust. As you will see when I get around to posting pictures of my project, we have a different idea of what is a good project car around here, I think most folks would have scrapped this one for parts by now :)

My Thing is a 73 which was the POs parts car and as such is devoid of its engine and transmission :( But its mostly all there other than that and very many bits and pieces are still in great shape.

This is my first Thing but I have owned, bugs, busses, campers, squarebacks and even a aircooled VW based autocross car (Formula Vee)

Good to "meet" everyone!

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Post by jthw8 » Thu Sep 25, 2003 8:02 am

Yep Im the same one as on the Topica list. Im going to try to get an updated set of photos tonite and post everything out there. My ISP has been hosed for posting so I will toss it all in my AOL webspace...cheesy but free :)

I brought her home a week ago today and thus far

doors removed
hood removed
front fenders off
body separated from pan
rear seats out
rubber seals and miscellaneous bits removed

The body is ready to go to the media blaster, if I could just find one in the area...I dont have enough space to store it inside without being on the pan right now so Im just tackling little jobs waiting to send the body out so I can attack the pan. Its fairly solid, just needs some cleaning, rustproofing and rebuild the brakes and suspension while the body isnt in the way.

AhHa....I was able to get into my site finally....tossed up a quick page of the project here

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Post by MNAirHead » Mon Jan 26, 2004 12:21 am


I'm located in the Minneapolis area.... in the daytime work with a distribution company (janitorial supplies).

I'm 35... married... no kids... mini dacshund (almost a dog)

Have been into VWs for a while... have owned Bay Busses, Split Busses, 50s-70s bugs.

We seem to keep the off-road Vws... sand rail, dune buggy, couple of bajas, thing etc.

Current Project is our Baja... I've stripped it all the way down... am transplanting the powertrain from a 77 bus (T4 w/working Fuel Injection)... putting on a ghia front end, Eclipse interior, Rag Clip, etc.

We also have a 1960 hard top restoration going on -- this one is taking some time since there are many year-specific parts that have been discontinued.

I frequent the Baja sites... helping the most with how to buys... locating parts and modification choices. Normally I'll log in as AirHead

VW purists would call me a freak because I passed a GREAT deal 23 Window Deluxe last summer for a 73 Thing. It's in better than average condition -- currently we're looking for bolt-accessories for it.

I appreciate the kind welcomes received, when I started frequenting this board... I'd only seen a Thing in a Jimmy Buffet video before buying our first one.

Besides VWs... spend a time and loot restoring victorian homes... some on this board have bumped into my how-to articles (in construction magazines) on tankless waterheaters (Bosch, SEMS, Tagaki).


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Capn Skully
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Post by Capn Skully » Mon Jan 26, 2004 12:46 pm

I thought I did this already...

I am Gary, I live in the New Orleans area and I am addicted to Sailing and all things VW. I currently own, two parts things, a running thing, a '76 standard Baja that I may trade for a '67 Sedan and a '71 flat windshield Super.

I seem to spend most of my time with club activities, helping members etc. I don't seem to get enough time for my cars. I also host a moviecar website that may disappear in April if it doesn't generate some interest soon.

Last edited by Capn Skully on Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by M Loer » Mon Jan 26, 2004 8:47 pm

Hi, my name is Mike, I'm from the Sacramento area. I have enjoyed several sites on this forum for a while, and thought I would join in. I have owned several VW's in the past, however my current one has been the most fun. It is a 73 type 181 that I use for off roading, camping and towing behind my motorhome. Here are some of the things I have done to it to date.

Front beam is cut and turned, with Sway-A-Way 15% stiffer leaves and fox shocks with reservoirs.

Rear arms are 2" X 1.5" with McKenzie's micro stubs and Weldwood disc brakes, fox 8.5" shocks with reservoirs and long 28mm torsion bars and Sway-A-Way spring plates.

3" body lift made with 2" X 3" tubing welded to form a perimeter frame and then welded to the tunnel. Floor pans were replaced with aluminum. The roll cage was then tied into this frame and the Beard seats mount to tubing that is welded between the tunnel and the outer frame.

center line wheels with 700 X 15 front and 31 X 10.50 X 15 rear tires.

CNC turning brake and a park-lock.

Stock front fenders with fiberglass rears aprox 1.5" wider than stock, just wide enough to cover the tires and still allow full travel.

Tube bumpers and skid plates, front and rear

Type IV motor built by Fat Performance, 2580cc. The heads are heavily modified 1.7 heads with 48 X 38 valves, relocated plugs (to the 914 2.0 location) reshaped combustion chambers with full port and polish. Dual 44 webers, 911 cooling system, mallory distributor and twin remote oil coolers.

The transmission is a 02 bus tranny with a 5.37 ring gear. Axles are Sway-A-Way with race prepped 930 cv's

I am sure there are lots of things that I have left out, and I am sure the list will keep growing. The next item will be CNC four piston disc brakes up front. With all that motor, stopping has become a real chore. There are nine of us that off road togeather, 5 things and 3 baja bugs, so there is a lot of competition to keep up with each other.

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Post by Cliff » Mon Jan 26, 2004 10:19 pm

Hello my name is Cliff Harter from Jackson, Michigan. I spent my tour of duty in 1964 in Germany, brought my fisrst VW home with me. In 1968 converted it into a BCBEE tub for sand dune and street use, looked back one day and my daughters heads were above the roll bar. Built my first rail so that they would be inside, Got hooked on off road in 1980, converted the sand rail over for off road, longer travel better suspension, etc. Got into enduro racing in the mid 80's build and raced several race cars. My latest buggy has a 3100, 1999 Lumina engine, 4.56 bus trans 14 inch travel suspension, This all leads up to my Thing. The PO had turned it into a basket case, found most everything except it didn't come with a engine or Trans. So using the knowledge I gained from the buggy I am putting a GM 3100 in the thing, bus Trans, long travel suspension, body lift etc. :D

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Post by rfoutch » Tue Jan 27, 2004 1:03 am

Just took a look and I never did this... Shame on me...

Hello everyone, my name is Randy Foutch. Been into volkswagons since I was about 11 (some 28 years now) when I built a dunebuggy with my uncle. It was the first car that I ever drove (and it was only a 40 horse). Been riding motorcycles since I was 8, lots of time on the sand and the trails.

I bought my first VW when I was 15, a squareback (68 I think it was), never got that running verywell. Then a guy down the street from me owned a VW restoration shop, and at the tender age of 16 I started working nights and weekend at his shop. Learned a lot about VW's. Everything from wrenching on motors to painting. It was a great experance.

It is at this time that I came upon my second car, a 1957 oval that was set up as a full body Baja. No roll cage but had a ton of ground clearance and huge tires... This was in the late 70' and the Cal Bug thing was just getting started.

I installed a selecta drop front end, turned the bars in the back and I had a cal bug!

Built an 1835 with a 110 cam, roller rockers, roller lifters, ported and polished heads with a Zenith carb. It was a tire smoker.... Got several drag racing tickets with that car (a lot of trips to the youth court house too!)

Then joined the military and sold the 57' (wish I never did...) and it took a few years but I bought another VW, a Ghia this time.. Loved that car, ended up giving it to my niece when she graduated, and she sold it two months later with out telling me... ( I was pretty upset!)

I was now into 914's had two of them, one I did a total fiberglass re-body with that came out great (have to post some pictures sometime...) but I soon tired of those too... SO...... I bought a 78' 911 and did the total restore on that one... It was a blast...

I sold it when I moved to Vegas, but I still had the itch...

I just bought a new project, a 1974 Type181. It has been garaged since 1982, but even with that it only had 28,000. miles on it (documented) when I got it.

It belonged to the owner of the Bradford Exchange, you know the guys that make the cheezy colector plates and stuff like that... Anyway, had it shipped form Ill to Las Vegas via Truck, and now I am in the middle of making it all it can be..

I am sure that the purest hate me, but It is going Baja (or off road) style, the way that I think if they were made today they would have had to be.

Well, that is enough, my son who turns 16 in just a few months is now shopping for a car, and he wants a bug, kinda makes a father proud....


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Post by crock » Wed Jan 28, 2004 6:46 pm

:oops: Hello my name is Nigel dudman.I am 23 and from Englan.My work is fiting vw engine and TEA and coffee boy.
My fisrst vw was a 1964 rat buggy and the list is like this.
At 17 a 1964 rat mk 1 buggy.still have.
A 1964 split bus.
A 1969 bug +2
A 1971 bug still have.
A irwin buggy still have.
And the king a 1955 jet black oval and one day to be a 2332 turbo oval.
And last but not lest a Ex German trekker thing 181 it is chicken poop bule and white i am in the middie of fiting a porsche flat 6 that is in but still go a lot to do but i will get it dun.It got 3" window chop and a set of fuch wheels .And will be gray and lowered.

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Post by ericj8 » Mon Mar 08, 2004 11:50 pm

My name is Eric. Just found this forum last night. I am from Alhambra, CA which is only 10 minutes from Los Angeles. I bought my 73' Thing sometime last year from a man in Buena Park.

The Thing was completely modified when I bought it. It has a cut and turned front beam, 6 point full roll cage made by Neil's Fabrications, 3 inch wider rear fenders, coilover shocks in the rear which go thru the body and into the roll cage, 31inch tires in the rear, a 1.7 liter pancake fuel injected engine with a 5 speed bus transmission.

The only modification I have done so far is adding pre-runner front fenders from So-Cal. I also have but yet to install raised spindles also from So-Cal. Future modifications are disc brakes from So-Cal, tube front and rear bumpers, nerf bars, luggage rack and very future mod to add a Subaru turbo engine.

I plan on going to The Thing Shop show and German Motor Works show (both in May) if everything works out. I do attend the Pomona Swap Meet when I can but yet to take my car in.

Here are some pics of when I first bought the car. It is currently primered grey. (I don't have a backseat yet so I used some old couch cushions) (notice my friends Thing in the back)

Hope that was a good enough introduction. Hope to get a chance to know all of you.


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Post by thingow181 » Mon Aug 30, 2004 12:14 pm

I've posted a few times, but never said who I am. My name is Jordan, and I have been into internet Thinging since Martha's list. I have had the car for about 8 years now, currently I am a student at UCLA.

I posted pics on TheSamba a few weeks ago, my Thing has turned into a sand car project. It has been built by my dad and I at his shop in Santa Maria. Like my signature says, I converted to a link pin 6" wider beam, using 2.5" longer 1.5" wider trailing arms. 2.5" lift spindles and so-cal discs. Steering is done through a heavy duty Taiwan rack and pinion, with 1" tie rods and 5/8" heim joints. Front suspension is 10" Fox coilover reservoir shocks with 200lb over 400lb coils. I run 32x8.5 Razorback sand tires on steel beadlock rims. Moving toward the back it is body lifted. The dash is in progress, most likely just a 5" tach, oil pressure gauge, and an oil temp gauge, with big idiot lights for oil pressure and voltage. Fully caged with 1 5/8th chromoly which is the basis for the front/rear shock hoops, supports the steering column, and PRP seats. Rear suspension is dual 12" 2.0 Fox reservoir shocks attached to 3x3 trailing arms. 27mm SAW long torsions and SAW spring plates hold up an 091 6 rib bus trans (stock for now) and a dual Kadron 1776. 930 CV joints put the power to a set of 1300+ paddles on 15x12 Douglas aluminum rims. I have collected the parts for a 2161 with welded crank, FK-43 cam, CNC heads, and weber IDAs. Once that is built, I'll be putting close-ratio 3rd/4th in the bus box.

It is a slow process, one now hampered by the fact that I should try to graduate from UCLA and not just attend class. I still want to find a set of 15x12 steel star rims so I can beadlock them. I'm getting a stainless exhaust built with a spintech muffler, and I still need a back seat. Fenders will be one-offs when I get time.

Hope that gives some idea what I'm qualified to BS about.


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