Electric Volkswagen Thing Springs To Life
The latest Icon Derelict combines a classic VW and modern EV into a perfect package.
Icon and its founder Jonathan Ward regularly create amazing machines like thoroughly restored and upgraded Toyota FJ40 Land Cruisers. For the latest in its line of one-off restomods called Derelicts, the team creates its first electric vehicle and uses a wonderfully quirky 1973 Volkswagen Thing as the basis of the project.
The Derelict Thing, which Ward’s crew dub the Wild Thing, uses an AM Racing electric motor that produces 180 horsepower (134 kilowatts) and 210 pound-feet (285 Newton-meters) of torque, according to the YouTube description. However, Ward says it has 180 lb-ft (244 Nm) in the video. The packaging is absolutely stunning. The components take up just a little room in the Thing’s rear engine bay, and Icon makes all the parts look like they are supposed to be there from the factory. Forty kilowatt hours of batteries take up the luggage space under the hood. Wilwood brakes, adjustable coilovers, and sway bars improve the road manners, too.
The original Thing in the United States had a 1.6-liter flat four-cylinder with just 46 horsepower. Icon’s upgraded powertrain transforms the little car’s performance. As Ward shows, it can even drift now.
Inside, Icon keeps the Thing’s utilitarian look but adds some modern conveniences. A new, digital display echoes the classic analog gauges but includes info about the battery’s state of charge. The stereo also gets a major upgrade from an array of speakers in the front and back.
This Thing looks like a blast to drive. In a perfect world, we would take off the hardtop, lower the windshield, and cruise around in this quirky ride all summer. Icon’s client should have a lot of fun with it, too.