The Volkswagen Type 181 is a convertible car with four doors and two-wheel drive. It was made by Volkswagen from 1968 to 1983. The car was originally created for the West German Army, but it was also sold to civilians under different names, such as Kurierwagen in West Germany, Trekker in the United Kingdom, Thing in the United States (1973-74), Safari in South America and Mexico, and Pescaccia in Italy. The car was no longer sold to civilians after the model year of 1980.
The car had four doors that could be taken off and switched around, and the windshield could be flattened. The roof could also be removed for open-air driving. Inside, the seats were covered in vinyl and there were drain holes and rubber mats. You could choose to add a fiberglass hardtop or a heater that goes in the trunk.
The Volkswagen 181 was originally intended to be a temporary solution until the Europa Jeep was completed. However, over 50,000 Type 181s were eventually delivered to NATO forces between 1968 and 1979. The Europa Jeep project was ultimately unsuccessful and abandoned in 1979. The West German government then added the new front-engined Type 183 Iltis to its supply of 181s. Read more
Although the West German government switched to the Type 183, the civilian 181 continued to be sold in Europe and Mexico until 1980. NATO and other organizations also bought military-spec Type 181 units until 1983 as they found them reliable and cost-effective for purchase and maintenance.
The military version of the VW 181 uses reduction boxes known as portal axles to achieve a higher ride height and lower gearing. If it does not have reduction boxes, it has a transmission similar to the Beetle but with different gears and stronger CV axles. The VW 181 shares many mechanical parts with other VW models. Military versions may have optional dual oil bath air cleaners and low noise ignition systems for radio communication.
The petrol engine is mounted at the rear and has four cylinders.