The first thing that comes to mind regarding this month’s car is God Bless America. Even the greatest countries in the world can be automotively challenged and the USA is no exception. No one in my generation will ever forget the 70’s automotive faux pas known as the AMC Pacer, AMC Gremlin and of course the explosive Ford Pinto. These cars are burned into our memories like Jimi Hendrix’s purple haze. So what does America do for an encore? It produces the Chrysler PT Cruiser.
The PT Cruiser was designed and built by the now defunct company Daimler-Chrysler (don’t panic, Chrysler and Mercedes are still building cars just not together) and built in Mexico. The name ‘PT’ stands for ‘Personal Transportation’. However, the PT could also stand for Plymouth Truck but Daimler was not going to build any car with the name Plymouth on it. PT also stands for Panel Truck which lends itself to the question is this thing a car or a truck? Well according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) it is a truck. It was also designed for young males as a demographic but sold more to women. So what we have here is a car with a severe identity crisis. It was conceived in America with a little German bloodline and born in Mexico and is man’s truck that is really a women’s car that isn’t a Plymouth! Doomed from the beginning. The good new is that the car really captured the ‘Retro’ style that is quite popular these days (I credit VW and the New Beetle for that) and they sold over 1 million units. It also won North America Car of The Year in 2001 which is a lofty title.
This Personal Transporter captured here at our Famous Rogue Valley Mall is trimmed out in the ‘Touring Edition’ which is one of many trim levels the PT comes in. It has a 2.4l engine that boast 150hp that pushes this car, uh, I mean truck to freeways speeds in no time at all! If you need more zip there is a turbo charged version and if you like a little wind in your hair they make a convertible. The only catch is you better hurry because as of 2009 production of the PT Cruiser will stop. So, move over Pinto the PT is taking over your wall of shame. Happy Motoring!