ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The VW "Thing"

Updated on June 14, 2015
Grifts profile image

Devin enjoys history, gardening, cooking, and blacksmithing in his spare time.

Why I love the Volkswagen Thing

The Volkswagen Thing, or type 181, is a thing of beauty. Anyone who says otherwise clearly needs to have their eyes checked or perhaps a professional help.

Yes, the Volkswagen Thing, boxy panels and everything. I love it.

The Thing has its roots in World War II, as a military transport vehicle (the beetle was also designed around this time) in Germany. Known as the Kubelwagen and later Schwimmwagen. They were hardy, strong vehicles, fit for off road, but with limited towing capabilities, and an anemic engine.

Kubelwagen
Kubelwagen

Germany's Things

The Kubelwagen was a superb transport vehicle, and had 4 comfortable bucket seets. The Independent rear suspension was maintained a much better ride compared to America's Jeep of World War II. Returning GIs helped popularize Volkswagen after having used them overseas in Europe after World War II.

Despite glowing reports from from GIs on the comfort of the Type 82 (Kubelwagen) compared to the Jeep, and a report that it was simpler, easier to make and to maintain, and faster, the US handbook on German Military Forces is quoted to have stated that "The Volkswagen, the German equivalent of the U.S. "Jeep", is inferior in every way except in the comfort of its seating accommodations." I suspect this was a political statement at heart.

One of the Kubelwagen's (and all VWs of the day) strengths was their air-cooled engine. If a jeep took a shot to the radiator, it was going to overheat and be useless. Radiators are big, and easy to break. An air-cooled VW had no radiator, so a very significant weak point was eliminated.

Source: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/04/vw-kubelw...

Photo: Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-301-1960-24 / Genzler / CC-BY-SA

Is the Thing waterproof?

Does it float?

Nope, not in the slightest. I think this misconception gets support for two reasons.

First, the old Volkswagen Beetles floated...for a while, but would sink eventually.

Second, the Schwimmwagen. The Schwimmwagen was an amphibious car developed by the German's during World War II as well. It was built similarly to the Kubelwagen, but had a screw propeller that could be lowered into the water to cross bodies of water.

Source: http://www.chacha.com/question/is-the-volkswagen-t...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_Schwimmwag...

Photo: Jason Vogel

One Sweet Ride

I love the history of this vehicle, and how utilitarian it looks. Almost spartan, aside from the comfy seats. The air-cooled engine is a mainstay of older Porsches, and is another interesting part of it. No radiator at all! Cool.

I think it would be a lot of fun to take a Thing and dress it up like a kubelwagen, or even find an old kubelwagen or schwimmwagen (amphibious car!) and restore it.

Can you imagine driving up to your local boat dock and just driving right down the ramp. The looks on everyone's face would be priceless!

Any "Thing" to say?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Grifts profile imageAUTHOR

      Devin Gustus 

      5 years ago

      @Erin Mellor: I think a Schwimmwagen would be so much fun to use

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 

      5 years ago from Europe

      I'm adding a Schwimmwagen to my Christmas list, I *need* one now.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)