The Volkswagen Type 181 was born out of the incompetence of the Governments of West Germany, France and Italy to bring the Europa Jeep project to fruition. While the German military were waiting for this all wheel drive wonder mobile in 1968 the German Government approached Volkswagen to come with an interim vehicle which became the Type 181 seen today.
The Type 181 is based on a Karmann Ghia floor pan, a little wider than that used for the Beetle, and had running gear from the Volkswagen Type 2 which included reduction gears for the driven rear wheels that helped raise the ride height of the Type 181 to give it some off road capability.
Military Type 181’s were adopted my several NATO forces apart from Germany once the Europa Jeep project was abandoned in 1979.
Civilian versions of the Type 181 were first seen in Europe, Kurierwagen, and Mexico, Safari,in 1971 with US versions, Thing, appearing the following year. In 1975 Trekker versions of the Type 181 were sold in the UK but they were not popular and soon withdrawn from the UK market.
90,883 Type 181’s were built in Wolfsburg 1968–1974, Hannover,1974–1983, Puebla, Mexico 1970-1980, and Jakarta, Indonesia 1973 – 1980.
Note the Hannover built 1976 example seen in today’s photographs features a Porsche steering wheel and Porsche alloy wheels.
Thanks for joining me on this “Safari, Trekker, Kurierwagen, Thing” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !