This 181 is not just any Thing. It is a factory
FEUERWEHR Fire Brigade Type-181, totally original and preserved as new. It was
produced on July 9, 1979 and sold in December of 1979 as a 1980 model year to
the township of Cuxhaven
for use in their Volunteer Fire Department. The VIN is 189 2140 399 which puts
it 60th to the last VW 181 ever produced which was VIN 189 2140 459. This time
capsule was decommissioned in April of 06 and has only had one private owner
since its 26-year duty in Germany (that's me).
is currently located in the Los Angeles area and was legally imported and has
a current California Pink Slip and registration in my name. Exterior: The paint
(factory color: Fireman Red) is all original and in very nice condition, with
only slight chips and blemishes. No damage, no repainting, no accidents, no rust
this 181 was decommissioned, the decals were removed as well as all other parts
that they deemed necessary to the operation of the fire department that they could
use over again. I have photos of the decals prior to their removal, so I recreated
the font and size and placement of all of the lettering. In fact, when I first
got the machine, one could tell where the decals used to be based on the differential
in paint patina.
the decals were off, I color sanded and polished, glazed and hand waxed the paint
finish and the color is very rich and deep. I then de-waxed the areas for the
decal installation and then hand waxed the whole machine again. The rubber, chrome
and brightwork are exceptionally well preserved.
emergency lights are original Volkswagen parts and were installed at the factory
on this vehicle. Other exterior VW options are the brush guards, emergency horns
mounted on the front bumper, back up lights mounted on the rear bumper, and locking
gas cap. Interior: Once again, all paint, upholstery, rubber seals, etc is all
original and unrestored. I removed what I could to facilitate cleaning and I polished
all of the surfaces and then carefully reassembled everything. There are no tears
in the seats, but there is one part of the piping on the bottom cushion of the
drivers seat that should be restitched.
seats were fitted with factory VW seatbelts. The convertible top is not torn and
the vinyl is extremely nice, with one stitched seam on a non-critical area that
needs to be re- stitched. The plastic window side curtains are all original and
in very nice condition with their original storage bag. On the floor is a full
set of duck boards from Larry D. Under the dash is the original Telefunken Police
radio with handset. Mechanical: The original motor is another testament to this
time machine. It is completely original down to all of the assembly paint marks
and decals and stampings. Every single little part is as new.
removed and rebuilt the carburetor and installed all new ignition parts and adjusted
the valves, timing, point gap, idle, etc. It runs fantastic with no issues. The
4 speed synchromesh transmission shifts up and down with no issues or noises.
I had the brakes professionally rebuilt with new Ate cylinders, new liners and
all parts and bearings cleaned and regreased. The steering is perfect and overall
the vehicle is a pleasure to drive in all conditions. With the top and windows
in place, the engine heater will keep you warm and cozy inside and the ride is
surprisingly quiet with no rattles or buffeting whatsoever.
just installed (4) 14" tires and i selected a snow tire to give an aggressive
look, yet they are quiet on the freeway. Documentation: Original driving and service
manuals in original sleeve, orig. cardex listing M-Code options, original registration
from Cuxhaven, all import documents, and a Log Book from the Fire House that documents
every mile through its total service. Accessories & Goodies: Eberspacher gasoline
heater, Embossed Leather key pouch, matching the origination dealer badge on the
engine lid, original ignition, door, glove box & gas cap keys, (2) collapsible
road hazard signs, small Gloria fire extinguisher, large fire extinguisher, axe,
large flashlight, first aid kit, hand held Hella emergency light, side curtain
storage bag, convertible top hinge plastic covers with straps, windshield frame
vinyl cover, German emergency worker helmet, type-181 spare tire gas can and tool
roll. I have had such a great time taking this to local car shows and to the VW
rotating blue light and eeeeeee-errrrrrrrr horns make everyone smile.
In my world-wide search I have found only (3) 181s in Fire Brigade form,
2 are in Europe (an all red one and an all orange one) and one in Arizona.
one is the most complete and well preserved. It is museum quality and belongs
in a collection along side other Things, Acapulcos, and Trekkers. This could
be the rarest 181 in existence considering the lowest production numbers of all
styles of 181s, most well preserved, and built so close to the end of the
10-year run of 181s. ~Dave