The Volkswagen Thing or Volkswagen 181, was introduced in 1969. It featured a Volkswagen engine, powertrain and seats in a frame without a front grille. The vehicle had square fenders, a small bumper, a manual transmission and two-wheel drive. It was a four-door convertible designed for off-road use.
The vehicle was known as the Volkswagen Thing in the United States, the Volkswagen Safari in Mexico and the Trekker in the United Kingdom. Its design was partially based on Volkswagen’s Type 1 Beetle and was a continuation of the company’s “bucket car” used by the German military during World War ll. Sales of the Thing to civilians in the United States began in 1972. It was dropped from the American lineup in 1975, because it failed to meet the stricter safety standards of a passenger vehicle.