1974 Volkswagen 181 Thing

Acapulco Edition
Sale Price
21 October 2022
Sold Date
Lot Number
Older restoration
Auction House
Chassis no. 1842543039. White and blue with white and blue vinyl surrey top over white and blue vinyl. 1585/46hp, 4-speed, hub caps, whitewalls.

Evaluation: Genuine Acapulco Thing. Restored, but probably before air-cooled VWs we’re worth much. The paint looks a little thick and is coming off around some of the hinges. The tires are dirty. Clean restored chassis and engine.

Bottom Line: VW Things are always distinctive, and often painted in yellow or bright orange to catch your attention even more easily. However, the Acapulco Edition, originally conceived for resorts in Mexico and sold in small numbers (about 400) for 1973-74, is even more eye-catching thanks to its two-tone colors and surrey top. It is also the rarest and most valuable production variant of the Type 181. It’s not a monumental premium like, say, a Fiat Jolly compared to a regular old Fiat 600, but it’s there.

Barrett-Jackson sold this one for a then-generous $27,500 in Las Vegas four years ago and it is in essentially the same condition today, having put just 69 miles on its odometer since. All things air-cooled Volkswagen have gotten more expensive since then, so this price is not a shock even if it is on the high side.

by Andrew Newton
29 October 2022
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Condition definitions
Condition #1: Concours
Condition #1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best vehicle, in the right colors, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours. Perfectly clean, the vehicle has been groomed down to the tire treads. Painted and chromed surfaces are mirror-like. Dust and dirt are banned, and materials used are correct and superbly fitted. The one word description for #1 vehicles is “concours.“
Condition #2: Excellent
#2 vehicles could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 vehicles that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws, but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and finishes will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine. The vehicle will drive as a new vehicle of its era would. The one word description for #2 vehicles is “excellent.“
Condition #3: Good
#3 vehicles could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 vehicle, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior where applicable. #3 vehicles drive and run well, but might have some incorrect parts. These vehicles are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. “Good” is the one word description of a #3 vehicle.
Condition #4: Fair
#4 vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. “Fair” is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.
Condition #5: Poor
Running, but battered, incomplete, and perhaps rusty.
Condition #6: Parts car
Parts car.
Hagerty only assigns condition ratings to vehicles we can inspect in person or, for online listings, via high-quality photography.