Journal: Volkswagen Started a Good "Thing"

Volkswagen Started a Good “Thing”

By Petrolicious Productions
February 26, 2014
6 comments

Whether you think the VW Thing, or Type 181 as it was known in Germany, was an expensive joke (they cost nearly as much as a Chevrolet Camaro at the time) or a fun, bohemian runabout there’s no arguing with their wonderful brochure art. The VW stands in sharp, metallic contrast to the hand-drawn sketches that compose the vast majority of lifestyle imagery that VW was attempting to connect to the Thing.

Volkswagen was trying to promote the Thing as a Swiss Army knife of automobiles–a go anywhere, do anything car designed to handle an active, youthful life, “Good for fun and good for work. Good for the city and good for the country.” The advertisements also quote fuel economy stats and ease of off-roading. In some ways, however there is a bit of irony to the ads as the rest of the industry was moving away from hand-drawn visuals in favor of photography.

The irony exists in the fact that VW was trying to sell it as a modern, do-anything car, but displaying it in a traditional method. Perhaps they were trying to match the Thing’s visual simplicity? Regardless, the confusing message coupled with the price and increasingly strict American safety standards led to the Thing’s demise only two years after it’s introduction. At least we can still enjoy these wonderful brochures! 

Image Sources: old-brochures.myshopify.com

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Gonzalo
Gonzalo
8 years ago

Beautiful!
In south america is called “VW Pingo”.
Gonzalo

Gary Groce
Gary Groce
8 years ago

The Junker JU-52 of cars.

Ryan Campbell
Ryan Campbell
8 years ago

It reminds me of the Kubelwagen!

Lars Banka
Lars Banka
8 years ago
Reply to  Ryan Campbell

In fact it was the new way Kübelwagen.
In Germany the main-buyer for the VW 181 was the public authority: army, fireservice and “Technisches Hilfswerk (THW)”, an back-up organisation for heavyduty tasks like flood, snowstorms or big fire-incidents. Only a few VW 181 saw civil service.
During the 1990s you could buy ex-army Kübels at every corner for a few bucks and these cars often were in pretty poor conditions. You were a winner if you could get a THW-version. These were well maintaned seldom used standby-cars.
But today even the army-crates achieve high prices. Funny how things develop.
Me, I dream of a Kübel too. I love the minimalistic design. Perhaps, one day … 🙂

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle
8 years ago

I have always liked the VW thing im not really sure why though :D. I guess it starts with the design of the car which looks like a VW crossed with a dumpster ( no offense to thing lovers out there) I just always thought it was a weird interesting vehicle. It had VW ruggedness and reliability matched to a four wheel independent with a four door convertible body style. Its just crazy enough to work 😀

Yoav Gilad
Yoav Gilad
8 years ago
Reply to  Dustin Rittle

Pretty funny (and true)!