View original topic: It's a Thing come true! Page: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8  Next
sjhotz Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:05 pm

My dream has finally come true after 24 years of searching. I wanted it to be my first car (Dad laughed out loud), and I never gave up....

I have been searching with little success, lots of rust buckets, lost of welding nightmares, all with very high prices (admittedly they are rare), always bad timing financially or personally.

Recently I have been on the hunt and found a promising 73 that would need rust work, weld work, an engine, possibly a transmission, and some title finagling (yes i said that was promising, the hunting has been slim for me). I went to my mechanic to discuss the upcoming project and he stops me mid description to show me this beauty...

Its been buried in his garage for over ten years, and he recently did a mass cleanup so I never even knew it was there! Its amazing to think all these years she has just been waiting for this moment to peek out at me, when he was ready to sell (at a steal I might add) and I was ready to buy!

She has minimal rust (surface only on bottom of pan, and the 2 rear view mirror points, easily repaired), no accidents with a nice straight body.

I'm still shaking! Simply can't wait to get behind wheel. I'll post more pics as I restore her and vids when possible.

Long Live The Dream,
Long Live The Thing!

carterzest Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:13 am

congrats 8) Cannot wait to follow along on your progress!

Bugs4Life Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:40 am

Very Nice! Congrats! The VW Gods have been looking out for you!

Van-go108 Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:46 am

Did you buy that from a pilot? (actually spelled Pile-it) It's was probably lost in there and forgotten.

vws-microcars4jim Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:01 am

Yeah, why did they pile stuff on that nice hardtop? Looks a bit warped, is that from stuff still up there or is it permanently bent?

Nice find BTW, have fun!

BNMike Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:59 pm


It took me 34 years to get a replacement for my first one :lol: Have fun with it.


77whatsit Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:47 pm

Congratulations! Isn't it great when love finds you?!

sjhotz Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:02 pm

Went bye the mechanic today (luckily he was there cleaning house) and did some more snooping, the Hard Top isn't bowed from weight of the box (it's mostly empty, a few belts and a few filters) it's fractured along the second rib back. Not really stressed about this, appears to be a poorly fitting aftermarket el cheapo version. I plan on scrapping it, getting either the 5 or 7 point roll bar from The Thing Shop, and I already have a decent used soft top (just needs a new rear window, its clouded but otherwise OK).

Interior is better than I thought, heater hoses and channels look ok, black auto carpet over a layer of green felt on pans, some surface rust but no flaking, and metal sounds good (POR 15 and wire brushes are in my future 8)). Front & rear seat pads look to be in excellent condition (black). Roll bar mounts are solid (no rust). Wiring looks pretty stock both in engine compartment and under dash area.

All stock handles and black plastic covers are good. Glove area rust free, (has mesh carpet lining, thinking about adding locking cover). Front windshield latches are in good condition, although there is small evidence of surface rust near lower corners on both sides of windshield. Hood is so solid I am stunned! You can actually stand on that Thing! Ok ok, I wasn't jumping up and down, but still, not even a flex? Wow! Trunk area has original liner and spare tire mount (as mentioned before, getting new fuel lines and gas tank, opting for larger if that's possible). My mechanic is gonna set me up with a stock VW tool kit (the fold up one). I'll add more of my own tools once i pick her up of course.

What I love the most is I can find very little evidence of hacking/modification at any pont at all. In fact I cannot find any cuts or drilled holes even!

I picked up the reg info today and am hitting the DMV tomorrow, (11 years on non-op, lein sale to mechanic, whee this will be fun, good ole CA DMV), gonna go for vanity plates too!

I'll keep updating you guys as things progress!

Semper_Dad Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:20 pm

Sounds like a good find.

Mine came with the glove door and I like it a lot. Good semi secure place to put the registration and stuff that accumulates. I wouldn't put anything "hard" in the door pockets.

Repair the old mirror mounts on the body by welding the holes up and going with the hinge mirror mounts. Much better design.

Mine also had automotive carpet but I'm removing it and opting for rubber mats and duckboards. Just make better sense up here in the Pacific Northwest. Easier to keep an eye on pan rust and clean as well.

sjhotz Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:42 pm

Hey gang, need some opinions, was talking to my mechanic about some modifications on the car, and i mentioned my concern about stopping power on LA freeways and possible disc brakes up front.

What he wants to do is use drums from a super beetle which have larger and wider pads. He has the same setup on his Thing, and just did it on another one for another customer, and he has given me a nice set of 4 pattern alloy wheels to match the super beetle hubs which I just need to go get blasted and polished. And supposedly its much easier to find the pads.

My only concern is he mentioned that I would widen my wheel base by about 1/4 inch on each side. I was'nt quite sure what he meant (does it need a spacer or something due to different drums so they wont rub?, etc...), i mentioned my worries about offset. he assured me it would be stable at high speed and aid in cornering both on and off road.

Any insight or opinions from my Guru's O' Thing?

vws-microcars4jim Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:20 pm

What kind of powerplant are you planning on running?

Stock drum brakes that are properly adjusted work fine for me in heavy traffic. I have a nearly-stock motor and I occasionally hit the highway. I'm running the original brake shoes on my Thing with new wheel cylinders, master and flexible hoses.

In the pics it looks like your Thing has brakes parts already on it, it would seem easier and cheaper to fix whats your mechanic trying to make some money off you?

sjhotz Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:53 pm

Were building a 1776 with a 34 pict 3. gonna have the compression lowered a bit too to account for crappy CA gas.

The parts are mine for the taking, he has been working on my VW's for over 30 years and he gave me a nice set of 4 lug 14 inch alloy rims (both brake sets and rims were taking up space at the shop for too long). It's a modification he has made on quite a few Things and is a cost savings vs front Discs. I have seen prices from $200 to $800 on various kits and assume you get what you pay for. On that note, has anyone found a kit that will allow me to keep the stock 14 inch wheels?

sjhotz Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:59 pm

Wow looks like im spending $1k to keep 14 inch stock wheels and have front disc brakes. Think im gonna let my mechanic make his proposed changes and use the Super Beetle brakes with the 4 lug alloy wheels. That way i can upgrade to the less expensive SoCal Imports 4 lug kit later on when the budget allows.

[email protected] Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:57 am

Body great, more pictures, looks like a slight fender bender right front.
other than that looks good,

I would stay stock on all brakes wheels, save your money..
including stock engine. imho

EODinert Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:14 am

Sweet! I love it when a Volkswagen finds me.

sjhotz Wed Sep 22, 2010 10:08 pm

Rear Brakes Done! CV Joints & Front Brakes later this week, next week engine! Progress is a wonderful....wait for it....Thing! 8P

Semper_Dad Wed Sep 22, 2010 10:22 pm

It's much better to upload picture to Samba and then post. Only problem is Samba doesn't have a bulk upload option.

sjhotz Wed Sep 22, 2010 10:24 pm

Ya they also have a 600kb cap, so I just use Picasa, can you guys see the new pics?

Semper_Dad Wed Sep 22, 2010 10:26 pm

Yep, I can see them now

sjhotz Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:06 pm

So im debating putting in a FI 2l Pancake engine & matching Trans from a running 76 Bus I have into the Thing.

The engine and trans are in good shape recently rebuilt, and the FI system is solid, has all pieces, and passes CA smog (body is a junk salvage and another story).

My question is since I have the stock FI setup working so well and a matching trans, can i put them in my Thing?

From what I understand the issues are:
1) Space to the rear, engine and trans are roughly an inch longer than stock so butt up against bumper?
2) Problems fitting FI heads in the engine compartment (really don't want to cut any tin).
3) Problems with air intake unit fitting in engine compartment.
4) Proper Cooling due to bad fitting and modified tin?

Am I missing anything else obvious? Am I asking for trouble and better off enjoying a solid 1776 with a 34 pict 3?

Any and all advice is welcome and sought after!

Thanks all,

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