The Volkswagen Type 181 was originally manufactured for the West German Army, but also sold to the public from 1968 to 1983. It was meant to be a small off-road military vehicle but its “uniqueness” created enthusiasts that cherish this car to this day. Known by many names, the Type 181 referred to the left-hand-drive version whereas the Type 182 referred to the right-hand-drive version that was produced for United Kingdom consumers — known as the “Trekker”. People in the United States refer to this vehicle as “The Thing” whereas it was sold as the “Safari” in Mexico versus it carrying the “Camat” moniker in Indonesia.
In 2009, Hot Wheels finally produced the Type 181 as it was included in their 2009 New Models series. This low-stance, roof-up convertible had a removable top whereas Matchbox’s casting had the folded-back roof and sat a little higher. Much to my surprise, the Hot Wheels VW Type 181 never really garnered the attention other VW castings had. Maybe this is because of the top being up, but none-the-less, its kind of weird considering its a Jun Imai designed casting and that its a VW — Jun’s designs have been increasingly popular as of late and VWs have always been popular.
Regardless, this initial #First Edition of the Hot Wheels Volkswagen Type 181 came in three colors: matte beige, orange & blue. Its recent inclusion in the brand-new 2016 Volkswagen 5-Pack means its still being produced today. The good news is that its not a popular or hard to find casting at all so you should have no problem tracking down all versions of it.