Original design for the military, now modified to serve as a retro runaround.

It’s very rare that a concept designed for the military finds its way into mass production for the public, but that’s exactly what happened with the Volkswagen Thing. Originally created as an affordable means to transport troops, the Thing’s civilian potential was realized in the early 1970s. This modified 1973 example is looking for a new home.

Showdown Auto have a great example of the Volkswagen Thing that is actually better than new thanks to some choice enhancements made during restoration. If we’re honest, this VW model was never a good looking machine, but its vivid baby blue color certainly serves to neutralise its blocky appearance. Contrasting white details paint this machine as a far more fun loving car, perhaps serving an ideal beach buggy for friends and family to enjoy? An interesting touch are the 15-inch steel wheels sourced from a Porsche 914.

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The interior is sheltered by a new top and is finished in the same blue and white color coding as the exterior. Fresh upholstery, new gauges, and a retro radio has been installed to enhance the simplistic cabin. It’s still a ‘form follows function’ type space, but material quality over standard has been improved dramatically.

Gallery: CFS: VW Thing Custom

Major changes have been made under the skin, most notably the fitment of an upgraded Mofoco VW engine at a cost of over $4000. The engine itself is garnished with chrome and is accompanied by a Weber progressive carburetor. Its transmission has been rebuilt, disc brakes fitted, new axel assembly, and fresh front suspension all improve the driving experience dramatically.

Originally designed as the Volkswagen 181, this cheap military vehicle was later pressed into service with the public. It had various different names, being sold in Germany as the Kurierwagen, the Trekker in the UK, and the Thing in America.

The advert proudly states that it has only been ‘lightly driven after no expense spared restoration.’ Its current asking price is $28,500.