In the 1982 horror-fest, The Thing, an alien monster absorbs and mimics all that comes within its tentacled path. The film's conclusion is left open-ended, but Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe VW may prove to be a satisfying finale.
Not only could today's Bronco-framed, chevy-powered, Jeep four-wheel-driven VW Thing be an apropos protagonist for John Carpenter's grand guignol blood dripper, but you could easily picture the lead character - Kurt Russel's Jack-swigging helicopter pilot - driving something like this once he got off the claustrophobic, monster-plagued ice cube of Antarctica- the film's setting.
Another of Russel's hard-ass characters was the Chevy-driving, foxy lady-killing psychopath in Tarantino's Death Proof. In that flick, Russel had a specially constructed Nova that was intended to let him survive a crash, but not his terrified passengers. Volkswagen's Type 181, known as the Thing in the U.S., would have required even more extensive modifications to achieve that role, as its basic design of four-door convertible, Schwinn coaster brakes and insufficient power to get out of its own way has made this Thing famous as both a death trap (so sayeth Ralph Nader) and, on the Simpsons, as the vehicle of choice for Marge's chain-smoking sisters Patty and Selma, who don't seem to have much to live for anyway.
This Thing has been modded, not so much to improve its safety, but to obtain the attributes of the vehicles from which it has gained its new parts, just like the movie Thing. A 1975 Ford Bronco frame underpins what was once a Karmann Ghia floorpan, and instead of VW's 40-horse flat four out back, there's an SBC up front, backed up by some sort of auto-box. Power goes to both axles through a '92 Jeep Cherokee transfer case, and 373 front/370 rear final drives. In order to keep you above both gator and aggressive urban windshield washer, the Bronco frame has been treated to a 4-inch lift, and 15-inch waffle stomper tires.
The seller says the whole Thing has only 8-miles since it was finished by V8 Vee-Dub expert Slick James, and that it will will blow you away in person. As an example of unique automobilia that may be so, you'd be hard pressed to find another 4-door drop top off-road vehicle, and espcially one that looks - at least in the confines of a Craigslist ad - to be as well sorted out. What are the downsides? Well, with only 8-miles on it, it's questionable that it's all sorted out. There's still the issue of the Thing's rollover survivability, only NOW WITH MORE RIDE HEIGHT! and then there's the price.
Anybody's completed custom is likely going to appeal to the builder more so than to a potential buyer, hence the nature of it being a custom. That means the investment in the modification is not going to be recouped in the sale, and it's tough to determine a fair price as there's nothing else against which to compare the value. With that being said, this seller is asking $15,000 for this monster movie Thing, and it's assured that you'd be hard pressed to replicate it for that even if holed up in a remote lab battered by an Antarctic storm, and had nothing else on your plate. But do you think it's worth that kind of box office? Or, do you think this VW would just absorb your wallet, and then leave you wondering if it's the real Thing?
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