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Orange Thing

“The Thing,” Volkswagen’s off-road vehicle based on the Kubelwagen jeep used by the German army in World War II, served Mexican police departments by the time public demand for the car led Volkswagen of America to add it to its lineup. This is a 1973 convertible model.


“The Thing” – as Volkswagen of America called the model officially designated Type 181 – was made in Mexico as well as sold there. It lasted in the U.S. only two seasons due to its lack of safety features. Volkswagen of America was actually happy to discontinue it; they’d never wanted it anyway.


In the mid-eighties, Volkswagen’s American slogan was, “It’s not a car. It’s a Volkswagen.” The slogan proved to be popular with VW fans. Store-bought plates and stickers bearing this tagline can be seen on many VWs, and antique Volkswagens have plates and stickers that read, “It’s not a car. It’s a vintage Volkswagen.” This vehicle had a sticker on its windshield that read, “It’s not a car. It’s a THING.”


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Taken on September 20, 2009