This is another one of those cars that's just impossible for me to get the year pinned down. The Thing was sold in the US for the 1973 and 1974 model years only, so it's almost certainly a '73 or '74 (though someone could have imported an earlier one from Mexico or Europe). So, VW experts, here's your chance to shine! What year is this Thing?

I know of several Things in Alameda (including one that's been lowered so much that it has about 1/4" of ground clearance), but this was one was the first I've been able to catch in good position for photographing.

It lives just down the block from the Olds Jetstar, in an industrial neighborhood next to the Estuary waterfront.

As most of you know, the Thing was based on the Kübelwagen of World War II fame, with essentially the same running gear as the Beetle under the skin.

I was in 2nd grade when the Things started appearing on East Bay streets, and I recall we all thought they were pretty cool. Something about the shape of the Thing just looks like a kid designed it.


Check out that Teutono-industro businesslike interior.

This Thing is in pretty good shape; there's some of the usual surface rust on the body, but it looks like it's never been hit hard and all the pieces are still there.

Super Beetle marker lights weren't just for the Zimmer Golden Spirit!

That angular hood gave the Thing more storage space than the Beetle, so in a way it was more practical. The problem with the Thing is that a vehicle uncomfortably similar to one that was driven by some serious baddies back in the day carries some negative-image baggage (though the main reason it was discontinued in the US market was its inability to pass safety and emissions tests).

Now, for our poll! I've photographed a half-dozen or so air-cooled Beetles in Alameda, and there are plenty more to be found on the streets of this town. However, I haven't run any of them as a DOTS car yet because the old Beetle seems so, well, common. The '66 and earlier Beetles are hip, (especially the early split-window and small-window ones) but how about the later 67-78 ones? Let's put it to a vote; if enough of you show love for the Type 1, I'll even do a week of nothing but Beetles on DOTS!

Gawker Media polls require Javascript; if you're viewing this in an RSS reader, click through to view in your Javascript-enabled web browser.