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Pros and cons of having one?
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ozzmonaut
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:48 pm    Post subject: Pros and cons of having one? Reply with quote

I have owned plenty of old vw's. But never a Thing. I am looking at one that is a great price, but does not run. Doesn't look like it will take much to make it run, so I'm not too worried on that. I'm wondering what I should expect as far as speed and ride quality, compared to a Type I or II. I have never driven or rode in a Thing, so have no basis of comparison. My understanding is that they are either underpowered or the trans is not geared correctly for highway driving. I don't expect a speed demon, but I do intend to make it an almost daily driver, to take some of the strain off of my 69 bus. It is an extremely solid car and in excellent condition, and other than making it fire, it appears to need nothing. Compression is good, and nothing is missing from any part of the car. I just don't want to get it and find out that it is impractical for my needs. What do I need to know about these that might differ from other VW's? Thanks
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YDBD
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of having one? Reply with quote

Pros:
Extremely unique, fun to drive- top down, doors off, windshield down
Rugged and tough, designed for mild off road. Geared for dirt roads, front end is built higher and stronger.
Running gear parts are pretty easy to come by, body parts a bit more pricey.

Cons: Heavy and yes slower due to the same motor in a T1 and lower gear ratio IRS. (models may vary) But you can swap out the IRS for something with a better ratio or go with a bigger motor. But you would be driving something like a garage door down the freeway...so the aerodynamics are...

Drove mine from Germany to Ancona Italy, ferried to Cesme, Turkey...from there drove to Adana, Turkey was an epic drive of over 1000 miles on the Autobahn and Autostrada and then Turkish highways--only had to change the fan belt...

and then had it shipped from Iskenderun Turkey to Okinawa, Japan...sold it there...years ago...
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Captain Spalding
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 1:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of having one? Reply with quote

The charisma of the Thing is obvious, and people will ascribe its coolness to you by association. So you must be prepared to be treated as being more cool than you actually are. While I am being a little bit tongue-in-cheek, what I'm saying is true!

Here are a couple of actual caveats:

Noise: at the end of a long drive it will make you feel a little more fatigued than would be the case in a quieter car. My car has never had a stock motor or exhaust since I owned it, so perhaps that is less a factor in a stock car. But still, there is no soundproofing.

Security: owing to the lack of side windows the Thing is less secure than other convertibles. Sometimes I will stress about it, and I am careful about where I park it. That sometimes means paid rather than free parking, or a longer walk from a better parking spot. Trunk space is limited, and you will find yourself worrying about leaving packages and bags in your car while shopping. But you can manage that by being a little strategic, saving your largest purchases for last, etc.

The top is properly raised and lowered by two people. It can be done solo, but you risk bending the top frame if it gets away from you. It takes a few minutes.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 3:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of having one? Reply with quote

Pretty questionable heat, so not ideal for winter use. On my first '73 with a gas heater, I added Beetle heat boxes and dumped that heat into the back pretty much doubling the heat to the cab. Still on the chilly side when the temps dropped below 20°F. The defrost is about a poor as they come but can be improved on with just labor.

My present Thing has a wide geared tranny that gives it a pretty low first and lets it do highway speeds more easily than the original drive train did. My engine seems to be peppier than the original engine was as well, maybe a bit hotter cam, don't know.
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[email protected]
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of having one? Reply with quote

After countless Beetles, a Camper, in 2010 we bought our Thing, it looked like fun. Well, it turns out it is great fun. Be prepared to spend a few minutes everywhere you go talking to people, and listening to their childhood stories of uncle Bryce who had one, lots of really Cool stories. There is no insulation in these Things, so they are loud, especially on a long highway drive with the windows removed, 4 hrs. is our limit. Along the way you get lots of thumbs up from passing drivers, and many people taking pictures with their phones. I recently added the starting cog with crank handle, so I was questioned to no end this past weekend out at Volksfest in Columbus, ohio about that. It is a natural draw for people, young kids don't know what it is, and once you tell them, they will immediately Google,"VW Thing", to see that you are correct. At any VW show, I encourage people to sit in mine and have their picture taken, especially if they are young and cute.
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74 Thing
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of having one? Reply with quote

Pros-lots of fun, lots of thumbs up and conversations with people at the gas station and walking up to you, top down enjoying the sun.

Cons-body parts are tough to come by and expensive as I am finding out now, it is cold and noisy and some water will always get in when it rains, it does not have the creature comforts of a new car and while that is alright for me my gf will like it for a while then ask when are you getting a newer vehicle, how I can explain it to most people it is as close to riding a motorcycle but in a four door vehicle and it is wear and tear on your body so if you travel 200 miles for a trip if will feel like 3-400 miles.

I still love it though, and when it is tuned just perfect, and the top is down and it is clean and you go for a drive in the sun it cannot be beat...for me at least.

Enjoy it!
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ALANSD
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of having one? Reply with quote

I truly enjoy driving the Thing especially in nice weather, but I have even gotten a kick out of it in the rain. Only a bikini top on mine.
Longer rides are fun , but I don't like driving it on the highway much. Only if I have to and for short distances.
It's not very practical but is a whole lot of fun...
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cecil
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of having one? Reply with quote

In addition to all of the above, I have gained a lot of good friends that I wouldn’t have had I not owned a Thing. Not only those that live nearby but those that are 1000’s of miles away that I may never meet in person. Wasn’t quite like this when we had our ’61 Vette.
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doublecanister
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of having one? Reply with quote

cecil wrote:
In addition to all of the above, I have gained a lot of good friends that I wouldn’t have had I not owned a Thing. Not only those that live nearby but those that are 1000’s of miles away that I may never meet in person. Wasn’t quite like this when we had our ’61 Vette.


I agree with Cecil, I've met some very cool folks with the THING than I ever did with the 66 Mustang.

That "mines faster than yours" crap gets old, especially at the weekend cruse in's.

Things get a completely different response, from just about everybody.

Pro's n' con's.
It's a "to each his own" thing here.

Mine used to tire me out from driving it until I found out I had no front sway bar, then I added a rear sway bar, it's never been this comfortable to drive as it is now.
Noise, once I added the oil bath air filter, changed to quiet ride tires, big difference, much more quiet, (no yelling to your passengers now).

My gripes I have now, is No A/C and my radio needs some help, cant hear it like I like it with the engine noise. I'm not so keen on the humidity anymore.
This year's been pretty brutal with weather/heat/humidity.

Cats: they love the THING, to be in it, under it, on it, etc. Cant keep the top down and park in the garage, it'd be purring in a matter of minutes!

Long distance driving: I'm not sold on that yet, I've only driven it on 1 out of state trip (VA to DE) going over the bay bridge we had a line of cars behind me and I was 'givin it all she got" to crest the bridge,
the Monster Mile was the most fun I've had since Bardstown, but seen some cool attractions at the KUBELTREFFEN shows [Ft Knox-Patton Museum and Wright-Patterson AFB plane displays].
But, All that aside, I've done more with the THING than I've done with any other vehicle I've ever owned.
I would have NEVER driven to Branson MO, except for a THING show.
Man what a trip. 17hrs straight going out!

You only live once, so go ahead and try one out, you may get more enjoyment than you can handle, you will learn more than you want about engines and tune ups, but you'll enjoy it too! Shocked

Good luck with your decision,
T
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ozzmonaut
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of having one? Reply with quote

I don't mind not having the creature comforts. And I don't need it to make me look cool. I have a bus for that! Rolling Eyes But water always getting in might bug me a bit. Also, the fact that it might not do well on the highway could be problematic. It wouldn't be on the highway daily, but it would have to go there from time to time. I was actually looking for a single-cab, when I came across this Thing. It is just so clean and seems like it will run, maybe with just some ignition work. But I'm still thinking about it. With the gas heater, I figured the heat/defrost would work great. I hate hearing that they don't heat well. This one is priced right, I think. But a vehicle is useless to me if it doesn't do what I need it to do. I am very utilitarian toward my vehicles, and this one would not be for show. It will need to get me around and possibly pull a small trailer locally. I'm wondering if a beetle might suit my needs better, or just hold out for a SC. I have found all of my VW's to handle snow well, and Things look like they would do even better. Anybody have some winter driving experience with one?
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ozzmonaut
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of having one? Reply with quote

Hey Doublecanister. Thanks for chiming in. I used to live in Richmond. And I'm from Louisa. I owned some VW's up there too.
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Zylinderkopf
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 9:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of having one? Reply with quote

Captain Spalding wrote:
The charisma of the Thing is obvious, and people will ascribe its coolness to you by association. So you must be prepared to be treated as being more cool than you actually are...


Well said Captain Spalding!




...so...is no one going to mention the chick magnet factor ?
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ALANSD
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:52 am    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of having one? Reply with quote

yes the cool factor. I own a 78 911sc and get folks all the time wanting to know about it. A young guy came up at the food store the other day and asked politely if he could take pictures of it...

The Thing gets as many thumbs ups and smiles as I could want.
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Captain Spalding
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:13 am    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of having one? Reply with quote

ozzmonaut wrote:
… water always getting in might bug me a bit. … Also, the fact that it might not do well on the highway could be problematic. It wouldn't be on the highway daily, but it would have to go there from time to time. … With the gas heater, I figured the heat/defrost would work great.

These issues can vary on a car-by-car basis, and what might be deficient performance for some might be perfectly adequate for others.

Having side curtains that don't seal perfectly is part of the adventure for me, but it's a matter of degree. The angle at which the windshield sets can vary from car to car (there are a couple of factors that contribute to that) and it will affect how much water gets in while driving in the wet. Have a look at the gap between the side curtains and the windshield and top. Mine seal pretty well at the top and rear of the side curtains, with a quarter inch gap at the top of the side curtain where it meets the windshield. Others will have a perfect fit or a much larger gap. And it will mean the difference between a few drips and a typhoon.

As for highway driving - again, it's a matter of your expectations, and variations in performance on a car-by-car basis. Many folks here will tell you they limp along on the highway at 55mph, while others will say they cruise happily at 70. I've heard the same complaint in every quarter of the ACVW world.

Now, about the heater. I can't speak for everyone, but my gas heater is awesome. I can make toast with it if I want. It can be a little chilly in the back seat at the worst of times. I have a 12v electric blanket for those occasions, and it keeps the rear seat passengers nice and warm.

The defroster is bad all the way around. Fortunately the windshield is flat and lends it self well to the rapid deployment of a squeegee. Very Happy

Perhaps you could make an arrangementl with the owner that the deal is only final subject to a test drive. From your description it sound like it would take only a small investment of time and treasure to get it to a point where you could give it a proper test drive. If that is true, it might be worth it for a Thing that is clean, straight, and reasonably rust free.

Look, the Thing is not for everyone. But if you can look past the idiosyncrasies of a bus, you will love a Thing.
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doublecanister
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:02 am    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of having one? Reply with quote

ozzmonaut wrote:
Hey Doublecanister. Thanks for chiming in. I used to live in Richmond. And I'm from Louisa. I owned some VW's up there too.


Very Happy Small world bro!


Pm'd you too.

T
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of having one? Reply with quote

Having owned my Thing for 34 years, I will be the first to say all pros no cons!
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cecil
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:31 am    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of having one? Reply with quote

In addition......I have been roasted in a Tahoe snow storm because the thermostat was stuck on hi. No problem there.
Was at a Christmas car show at John Force's facility, 999 trailer queens and me. I would guess more pictures were taken of my Thing than any other car.
The car has a cool factor.
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Captain Spalding
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:50 am    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of having one? Reply with quote

cecil wrote:
In addition......I have been roasted in a Tahoe snow storm because the thermostat was stuck on hi. No problem there.
Was at a Christmas car show at John Force's facility, 999 trailer queens and me. I would guess more pictures were taken of my Thing than any other car.
The car has a cool factor.

Your awesome nose art may have had something to do with it!
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KAmes
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of having one? Reply with quote

I've driven mine long distance on the interstate, certainly not the fastest car but no big deal. Mine's happiest around 60 mph or so, mostly stock motor, so that's how fast I go. As reliable as any type 1, and it's true, everyone looks!
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