View original topic: off road vw things/ pros and cons Page: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
pdm Sat Jul 14, 2007 4:30 pm

i have been thinking about put a car together for the dirt and street.i need a 4 seat car and was wondering if a thing would be the way to go.i dont see or hear to much about them.are they to heavy are parts to hard to get..... any input would help,thanks

Motochris Sat Jul 14, 2007 4:42 pm

I LOVE a nice offroaded Thing. They're just too dang much money.

baja5 Sat Jul 14, 2007 4:44 pm

pdm Sat Jul 14, 2007 5:12 pm

nice car baja5 got some info on it?

baja1967 Sat Jul 14, 2007 8:21 pm!!

Blu Bug Sat Jul 14, 2007 8:30 pm

Imagine being out in the desert on a cold January morning and having a gas heater in the car to keep you warm......nice!

baja5 Sat Jul 14, 2007 8:37 pm

pdm wrote: nice car baja5 got some info on it?

All i know is that it was in Thingdriver's gallery and that it was in Hot VW's a couple months ago.Nice car HUH??

rickosuave1987 Sat Jul 14, 2007 8:44 pm

I think Things are great cars to make a desert runner out of. But a lot of VW enthusiasts wont be as happy about it since they are somewhat rare.

But since I am not one of those I say go for it.

A pro is that they are already IRS so it is easy to go off road. They also have a better stock ball joint front end than the beetles.

I got to ride in MATTT's off road Thing in Ocotillo Wells. It was a blast. He has built a very nice car. He is around in the Thing and OffRoad forums every now and then. Maybe he will chime in here.

suntour Sat Jul 14, 2007 10:07 pm

It depends on how you’re going to build it.

Bone stock is kind of expensive since Thing only parts are getting uncommon. However, most mechanical parts can be swapped with Bug stuff. Just getting one up and running is pretty cheap.

If you’re looking for a stock-ish setup then find a nice rust free straight body. It will be cheaper in the long run. (Body panels are extremely expensive and rare. Try finding a NOS inner passenger rocker panel or a passenger front quarter panel.)

If you’re going for an all-out off road build it will be just as expensive as a similar build Baja. Try to find a basket case Thing to start the build with. That way you’re not killing a nice example of a stock Thing and no one will care what you do with it.

I am working on a build-your-own Thing sort of like the yellow one posted above.
I started with body parts from 4 different Things that I am patching together on a cro-moly chassis.

Baja4 Sun Jul 15, 2007 8:06 am

In my opinion the body style of the THINGS just beg to be tricked out to offroad. Cars are heavier, but if your not going racing having the four seats for family or friends is worth it. Side note. Suntour, please start a thread on your build so we all can watch. Your THING looks like it will be a great car.

pdm Sun Jul 15, 2007 10:56 am

suntour--your thing looks like it off to a great start! what are you going to use for the power plant? did you extend the front end? who's grey thing is in the back round?

Go-SpeedRacer Sun Jul 15, 2007 1:06 pm

I am also building a Off-Road Thing, and there are definatly some challenges, but you are right, the Thing is a one of a kind, 4 seater, off-road / on-road ride. The transition from Ball Joint to Link Pin is a little expensive, that is what I am working on now. I am using a Suby engine in mine to make sure it has plenty of power to push it around.

I will tell you though I have had some complaints from the purist who think it is pure blasphemy to dare even think of fooling with a Things stock design. As with anything is this world, all it takes is money, and how trick all just depends on how much you want to spend.

Here are a couple of other examples of off-road Things:


suntour Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:28 am

Dave’s Thing (top picture) is a full cage on a Thing pan. It has a type I power plant, tubed front end with king and link with power steering and 3x3 rear arms. (I think it is 3x3) He has since sold this car. I did see if quite some time ago at Baja Motorsports having the rear end worked on since he sold it.

Bruce’s car was featured in Hot VW’s. (second one down) 100% tube chassis with king and link front and dual pivot rear end. I saw this one the other day at the Balls Out 250 in the parking lot by the start line. I believe this is the origins of the pre-runner front fenders that you see quite often now. His are made from steel instead of the common fiberglass knock offs.

Mattt’s (Third down) is a nicely done example of mild modifications. (hopefully he will chime in on this post about his car.) When this picture was taken I believe (don’t quote me on this) it had 1776 with a Bus transmission mounted with the 10 degree setup. The body has a 3” lift and a nice roll bar build by Baja Motorsports. I think the front end is more or less stock with weld in adjusters. I am not sure what he is running for rear arms. He has since changed this car around and I don’t know what he has done with it. This is an extremely nice example of what you can do for off-road mods without breaking the bank.

The fourth one I think is kind of weird. I am not too fond of the fender design but with an a-arm front end and dual pivot rear with a water cooled in-line engine, I am sure it works extremely well off-road.

This is one of my favorite examples. 100% tube chassis. Coil-over front and back with King and Link front and dual pivot rear arms. A Type IV engine with a Bus Auto-transmission. (not to found of the auto.) It is also stretched 6”.

There are many more examples in the Gallery of modified Things. There was a decent turn out at the 2007 Classis that I am sure are posted there.

suntour Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:57 am

pdm wrote: what are you going to use for the power plant? did you extend the front end? who's grey thing is in the back round?

The power plant was just finished last week at Outback. It is a 2.5 SOHC N/A Subaru. I am still waiting on the 091 transmission from Lorenzo at WR Trans. (hopefully by Friday of this week.)

The front end was pushed out 2” and the rear was pushed forward too. The idea is to run 2” longer front arms and 3x3 dual pivot rears but keep them centered in the wheel wells. The engine cradle was also lowered a bit to accommodate the deeper oil pan of the Subaru engine. A.J. at Baja Motorsports built the cage for me and will be doing the custom suspension, etc.

I have a thread in the Thing area about this build but I have not updated it in a long time. The only real progress that has happened in a month is I bought one tire and had it mounted on a rim so I have something to test the fit in the wheel wells. I don’t really consider that something very significant.

And the grey Thing in the background is my old rust bucket. There isn’t much left of that car now. It was one of the four Things that I scrounged body parts off of and is what the new car will be titled from.

james ford1 Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:14 pm

the yellow thing is mine I built it I,am not good a posting pics but any info you want I will be happy to give you Thanks you like it .Jim Ford

james ford1 Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:15 pm

the yellow thing is mine I built it I,am not good a posting pics but any info you want I will be happy to give you Thanks you like it .Jim Ford

Durf Mon Jul 16, 2007 1:02 pm


If I remember correctly, didn't you build a red manx as well? If so, did you ever sell it? Very nice car too.


james ford1 Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:04 pm

yes the red manx was mine also .sold it to a guy in so cal that was a good car. just time to build somthing new. retired traveling and working in the shop just what I hoped it would be

Go-SpeedRacer Mon Jul 16, 2007 4:12 pm

james, can I just send my Thing to you with all the parts I have, and a bag full of cash, and you just call me when it is ready to pick up. :lol:

Both your red manx and your Thing are sweet. That manx was nice, and I wish I had more pictures of your Thing, because that looks like one hell of a front suspension, love to see the rear set up as well.

Nice work!

pdm Mon Jul 16, 2007 4:48 pm

wow, thanks for all the replys,its great to see and hear about everybody's thing projects i did not think that there where that many out there

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