How soon did you make up your mind about yesterday's contender? Datsun?! But seriously, that be-turbo'd 1975 280Z could go down as the first ever 100% crack pipe vote in NPOCP history. It could, but that's unlikely as 76% of you went for the smooth rich taste of nice price. There's no denying that car has the sexual magnetism that the makers of Axe would have you believe could be yours with only a few squirts of their body wash- whatever that is. Sleek, loud and quick, driving that Z would act as a bold external representation of your barely containable animal sexuality. But what if you were looking for something a little more pedestrian, without actually becoming a pedestrian? Well, turns out that you can still show off your Thing.
Here's a jaunty VW Type 181 in a shade of green that makes you wish the license plate was "CRAYOLA". This is a 1974 Thing, which was the last year VW brought the the beetle-based four doors into the U.S.. Seems a fellow by the name of Ralph Nader got his thing in a bunch over just how dangerous the VW Thing was and managed to whine the Feds into changing the 181's vehicle designation from multi-purpose vehicle to passenger car. That meant it would now have to pass all the U.S. automobile safety standards, which it wouldn't because. . . well, just look at it.
Actually, let's go ahead and look at it, because who doesn't like looking at a nice, brawny thing, even one that's green? The car comes with a salvage title, but don't let your interest peter out because of that- it's due to some shenanigans with a charity donation and tax write-offs or something. When the scrap yard that eventually took possession of the 181 got it, the Thing was impotent, its tires were flaccid. Realizing the rarity of a hard top-equipped 181, they decided to blow fresh life into it, and the seller claims that over $6,500 was invested in making it roadworthy again. Part of that work was apparently involved in replacing the stock motor with a 2,200-cc pancake and what look like Delortto down draughts. Those extra ccs will mean that the Thing is actually able to pull out in time when traffic is thick, and the refreshed brakes and suspension will ensure that, while your Thing will be stiff, you shouldn't get jackhammered in the seat.
Other than that, there's not much to say about the Thing. The thin hardtop - which appears to be ribbed -is more for protection from pigeons than rollovers, and those side curtains won't do much to keep your Thing from getting wet when in a penetrating rain.
But so what? What are your other options for a factory four-door convertible? A Lincoln Continental you say? Yeah right, ever hear of a guy named Kennedy? I don't think so. Also, Ralph Nader was just being a nervous nancy when he banished the 181 from our shores, Wouldn't you like to buy this car, track him down, and shove your Thing in his face, just to show him? Also, imagine how much fun it would be to go to your garage, pull your Thing out, and just go to town. It's important to keep your Thing clean so hosing it down on occasion would be a good idea, and you'd probably want to wax your Thing pretty often too.
So, it all comes down to price, as it does everyday around here, and the cost to wrap your hands around this Thing is $8,600. Now, before you come too soon to a conclusion about that price, keep in mind that there were only about 25,000 Things sold here in the U.S. during its two-year stint. That means there may be some stiff competition for the few that are for sale.
Now, I know it's hard, but it's time for you to choose- would you pay $8,600 to shove a Thing in your garage? Or, does that price make this a Thing you wouldn't touch a ten-foot pole?
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