Thing Show and Swap 2002

Do Your Thing 2002

By Rich Kimball

For six years now, Greg and Arda Melikyan of German Motor Works, have been hosting an annual meeting of Type 181 enthusiasts at their shop in Garden Grove, California. Thing owners from Vegas, Phoenix, and all over California bring their Things to compete for sixteen special awards posted by the folks at German Motor Works. This year, using all the available asphalt , and lining all the nearby streets, were about two hundred of these jeep-type vehicles, which were only imported to the United States for two years, 1973 and 1974.


Darrel Baker, of San Clemente took home the Best of Show award with his 1973 Safari (another Thing term). Mr. Baker’s car graced the pages of this publication past January. Darrell’s car also got trophies for Best Custom and Best Interior. Another multi-category winner and former feature car was Brent Kooiman, of Huntington Beach, whose ’73 Thing was voted Most Outrageous, and took home two additional awards for Best Off-Road and Best Paint.

This year, the theme of the show was patriotism, and red, white and blue appeared somewhere on most of the vehicles present. The award for Best Patriotic Theme went to Denise Smith, of nearby Mission Viejo. Her very nice 1974 Acapulco also won the category for those special blue and white surey-topped models. Even event emcee, Dyno Don, was dressed-up as Uncle Same, which alone was worth the price of admission … had there been one. But the Thing meet was free, and there was no charge to enjoy the festivities. That doesn’t mean some money didn’t change hands. It you wanted a Thing, this was the place to look for it, and we’re sure several of them went home with new owners.

After the awards, about sixty of the participants went on a cruise to the beach. They looked pretty cool, headed south on Pacific Coast Highway. This year, if you want to do your thing at the Thing Meet, mark your calendars for May 18th.

Type 181s gather for a day of camaraderie and fun

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