The PT Cruiser started the whole retro-car trend. It's gone now, but should they ever do a retro version of that retro car, let's hope they use today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe custom V8 as the template.
Aesop once said familiarity breeds contempt, and that couldn't be more true than with Chrysler's attempts over the years to provide America with basic transportation. Whether it was the Omni/Horizon clones, the Shadow/Sundance twins or the all pretense of brand separation disregarding Neon, the cars have been initially praised and successful, only to be later derided and scorned as critics and owners got to know their quirks and foibles.
The Neon-based PT Cruiser proved no exception- receiving accolades upon its debut for its standout styling and roomy cabin, but eventually having its poor driving dynamics and crude overall character sully its reputation. While PT Cruiser clubs continue to thrive, filling Applebee's parking lots and giving AARP members something to do, few lamented its passing from production last month.
During its 10-year lifespan, Chrysler sold more than 1.3 million of the retro hatches in markets across the globe. All of those were transverse engine, front wheel drive, and most came with an automatic transmission. That's layout is pretty much SOP for all modern economy cars - which the PT was underneath - but that wasn't exactly in keeping with the ‘30s retro rod look that originally caught everyone's eye. That's not to say that with so many sold over the years, someone, somewhere, hasn't tried to extend the Hot Rod looks to the drivetrain - adding a V8 and rear wheel drive - and in fact that's exactly what someone has done to this 2003 PT Cruiser.
Sadly, under hood it does not sport a Hemi, nor any form of Mopar madness, but its 355-cid Chevy ought to have enough shove to make you forget that indignity. The SBC powering the PT rests in what is claimed to be a custom-built tube frame chassis, and is mated to a 5-speed manual of indeterminate origin. The seller does let on where the rear end came from, noting that it's a Ford 9" and the FoMoCo fun continues up front with a Mustang II front suspension - a common underpinning for hot rods and Cobra kits.
It'd be nice to see it run, and listen to how throaty an exhaust they were able to fit underneath there, but unfortunately all I could dig up is an old walk around of the car while it sits there rocking an idle lumpier than junior high cafeteria gravy. At any rate, have a listen:
Underneath the PT it may be a mish-mash of brands, but the interior keeps much of its retro Chrysler plastic intact. Auto Meter gauges do replace the stock units, but they slyly sit in the original eye sockets. Between the seats a Hurst T-handle helps you with the shifting and keeping the testosterone pumping. Jumping outside, you'll find custom Foose wheels and a billet grille tarting things up, while the lack of flames, fade paint, or stick-on portholes keeps the douche to a minimum.
Another minimum is the $12,500 that it would take for someone to cruise in this PT. The seller is willing to entertain trades in the hotrod, Suburban, or crew cab neighborhood, but as we only deal in cold, hard cash here, we'll stick to the twelve five. For that, you could snap up this PT Cruiser that has seen a magical transformation, from wannabe to potentially wanna-have. But should you?
Is that a fair price for a cinderella PT Cruiser that's attending the ball wearing not a glass slipper, but probably glasspacks? Or, at the stroke of twelve-five, would this PT turn into a pumpkin?
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