VWVortex

The Volkswagen Enthusiast Website

A/b: 1968 Type 181 (Thing)

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Next up, and winner of this week’s NGP Racing $50.00 gift certificate is VWvortex reader: Andregeerdink

Q: How long have you owned this car?

A: I’ve owned this car for three years. The last owner sold it after driving it for a year, because his wife was fed up with a silly car like this.

Q: Is there anything unique about the history of this car?

A: This is one of the 16 protoypes made by VW in Wolfsburg in 1968. They were built for testing and photoshoots. The body is slightly different from production models: no circle for a VW badge on the front panel and only one rib under the doors instead of two ribs on a normal VW Type 181 (as seen in original 1968 photos). Also, the papers with the car say it was built in 1968. In 1970 this car was modified into a military vehicle used by the West German army in the cold war and also got its VIN number. In 1988 my car was imported into the Netherlands where it still lives. As far as I know this is the only surviving Type 181 out of the 16 prototypes that were built.

Q: Why did you choose this car to purchase?

A: I don’t know why, I just did. Sometimes I regret it, but I also have a lot of fun driving it.

Q: What other cars did you consider?

A: Actually, I was looking for a Beetle, but Type 181s are more rare, more fun and more interesting of course. And for less money than a Beetle you can own a cabrio.

Q: What was your objective with this car?

A: I wanted to use it as a daily dirver, but this turns out not to be practical. The first two years it broke down very often. The fuel economy is bad and the gas heater is very unreliable. Now I also own a 1989 Polo and I use that as a daily driver.

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Q: What tuning style would you describe this car as?

A: Original, scarred and battered.

Q: Who helped you build this car?

A: Mr. Brinkman, who used to own this car, had done an almost complete rebuild years ago.

Q: What makes your car special?

A: The history and the scars of its long and battered life. Including very clumsy welding by the German army (Buneswehr).

It started life as a photomodel, soon became a soldier and now it is a classic car.

Q: What is your favorite part/feature/function?

A: I love the noisy air-cooled engine, open roof, and exhaust pipes routed through the bumper. The simplicity of this car is a revelation compared to modern cars.

Q: Who or what inspired the direction of modifications on this car?

A: Mad Max.

Q: What don’t you like about this car?

A: I don’t like the gas heater on this car – it is unreliable an that’s a problem with our Dutch climate. Also, I hate the later added airboxes on the side. I will take them off soon, they are really ugly!

Q: What was your biggest obstacle in building this car?

A: The gearbox slips out of reverse. The rest: very many electrical problems – every electric item has broken in the first year I owned my car.

Q: How did you overcome the issue?

A: The gearbox is not fixed yet! Electrics are o.k. now after lots of hard work. Even the fuel gauge works again.

Q: What would you change if you could?

A: I will change as little as possible and keep the car original.

Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with the outcome of this project?

A: I give it a 7, because there is still a lot to do.

Q: What would you do to the car if money were no object?

A: Fix the gearbox of course and fight the rust.

Q: Who has been your biggest critic of this project?

A: The air-cooled VW garage where I go – “Kevercentrum”. They tell me to get rid of this one and buy a nice and shiny Beetle.

Q: What do your family and friends say about this car?

A: My friends love my car. Also my girlfriend is fond of the Thing. My parents hate it and want me to get a proper car.

Q: What is your most memorable/humorous/embarrassing moment with this car?

A: When someone asked me if I built the car myself in my backgarden. “What is it?” I hear all the time. Also embarrassing – it broke down when I just bought it and drove only 400 meters (contact points broke in two pieces). It’s also embarrassing when old people say I know this car from World War II and start to tell war-time stories. I have to tell them this is another kind of car – in the war they used the Type82 and mine is a Type 181!

Q: Has this car competed in any events?

A: I go to events, but I do not compete.

Q: What is your favorite place to drive this car?

A: To the beach – this fits well with the character of a 181.

Q: What is your ideal day with this car?

A: Driving through the woods in autumn near the national park the Veluwe. Last open-roof day of the year.

Q: Who gets to drive this car?

A: People I trust behind the wheel – preferrably defensive drivers.

Q: If your car had a motto, what would it be?

A: “Freedom doesn’t care what other people think – enjoy life as much as possible.”

Q: If you had to name your car, what would you name it?

A: Naming a car is silly, I think! But when it breaks down I sure do call it all sorts of names then.

Q: What was your previous project?

A: Landrover 109, in storage now.

Q: What is your next project?

A: No more projects please!! (until… I see a car I must have!)

Q: What one word best describes your car?

A: Special.

Owner Information:

Name- André Geerdink

Address- Weesp, the Netherlands

E-mail- vwkubel@hotmail.com

Username- Andregeerdink

Occupation- Radiation Safety Officer (Really? Like Homer? -Ed.)

Club Affiliations- No VW181 club available in the Netherlands, unfortunately

Vehicle Information:

Year- 1968

Make- Volkswagen

Model- Type 181 (also Kuebel and Thing)

Mileage- Unknown

Original Color- 1968 – White; 1970 – Army Green

Current Color- Grass green

Engine- 1600 rebuild (original was 1500)

Engine Modifications- Original

Exhaust Modifications- Original

Transmission Modifications- Original limited slip differential and reduction boxes

Suspension Modifications- Original

Brake Modifications- Hope they will always work when I need them

Wheels and Tires- Vredestein off road tires

Exterior/Body Modifications- Original

Interior Modifications- Original

Audio/Video/I.C.E.- None (impossible to hear above engine and wind noise)



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For more photos of the car in this story, click on the link to our gallery at the right.


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