Volkswagen has made some interesting vehicles during its history and one of those that were able to capture our imagination and polarize us was the Thing. This vehicle has been kind of a strange looking military styled boxy truck that looks like it should be tough and have a lot of power. Unfortunately, this was never the case with the VW Thing, but it still has a way of showing up in a few different places that you might not expect. This vehicle is one that some people still love to drive which brings us to what we’re talking about today.
The original power plant for the VW Thing is a 1.6-liter air-cooled flat four-cylinder engine that made a whopping 46 horsepower. This may have been enough for this vehicle when it was originally put on the market, but today you need more horsepower to get around and have a lot of fun. The team at Icon 4×4, which is a southern California shop that creates custom cars was commissioned to take a VW Thing to the next level and this team did not disappoint at all when it comes to what they added to this car.
In place of the older powertrain that was simply underpowered and without energy, a new AM Racing electric motor was put in place which now makes 180 horsepower and 180 lb.-ft. of torque right off the line. This is certainly a huge upgrade over what this vehicle had under the hood in the past to make sure the Thing can have the power that the owner will want to enjoy on the road. The fact this is an EV model will certainly even make the CARB authorities happy to see tuners using models that don’t have any emissions outputs.
While adding the EV motor to this vehicle means there is more weight added to the vehicle which needed to be adjusted for. The team made the adjustments by adding fully adjustable coil overs and a set of Wilwood disc brakes that are large and able to give this vehicle the stopping power needed. With these additions this Thing is ready to hit the road and offer up the performance that you see in the video below where you’ll see this impressive vehicle performing some outrageous burnouts on the blacktop before heading out on the road for some additional fun.
Of course, the upgrades to the powertrain and control elements aren’t all that was updated for this VW Thing. The interior was improved with all new upholstery, a circular electric dashboard screen; some wood panel flooring that makes this a unique vehicle. This cool vehicle is now even more fun than it ever was because of these upgrades. If you see this VW Thing driving down the road, you’re going to stop and stare, which makes this an investment into the love of a classic and somewhat iconic build that was one of the most interesting vehicles ever built by Volkswagen.