Ah, everyone’s favorite car to hate on, the Chrysler PT Cruiser began production on this day in 2000 for the 2001 model year. While some may refer to it as the PT Loser, it’s hard to denounce the facts. When the car first went on sale, demand often outpaced supply. It also won the 2001 North American Car of the Year Award. So, hate all you want, but with a design inspired by old school hot rods and panel vans from the 1930s and 1940s, it stood out in a crowd of generic-looking cars. Of course, around the same time the PT Cruiser hit the market, as did a variety of other retro rides.
Neoclassic Cars of the 1990s and 2000s
For one, we have the Plymouth Prowler, a car that looks like a hot rod and sounds like a V6 blender. But hey, at least it’s sleek and low-slung, perfect for catching the eye of everyone on the road. The new VW Beetle, also known as the ‘Slug Bug,’ was reintroduced in 1998. While it lacked much of the character of its namesake, it still managed to draw a crowd, especially from those who love to punch their friends when they spot one.
Another call back came in the form of the Chevrolet SSR, also known as the ‘Super Slow Retract.’ This pickup truck featured a retractable hardtop that gave it a split personality. It may have been slow, but at least it looked cool, right? Or did it? Then of course there was the new Mini Cooper that returned to the market in the same era. It’s like a clown car, but for the fashionable and cool, with modern features and improved performance. We can’t forget the Chevy HHR either, the PT Cruiser competitor that arrived a little too late to make any impact, except perhaps as an eyesore in the neighbor’s driveway. All that said, some of these cars are rising in value and could be a wise investment. Check out our list of modern classic cars that are still a great buy.
Overall, these retro cars were a mix of innovation and nostalgia. While they might not have pleased everyone, they still managed to turn heads and catch the eye. The PT Cruiser was no exception. Let’s take a closer look at the history of the PT Cruiser.
Chrysler PT Cruiser History & Specs
The Chrysler PT Cruiser first appeared as a concept car at the 1997 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It featured a design by Bryan Nesbitt, who later became the head of design for General Motors. The concept car was so well-received that Chrysler decided to put it into production for the 2001 model year. Over its production run, which ended during the 2010 model year, the PT Cruiser could be had in a variety of trims. This included the base model, Touring, Limited, and GT. A convertible option even hit the market, giving buyers a hair-whipping opportunity like none other.
Under the hood of the base model sits a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine that produces 150 horsepower and 165 lb-ft of torque. The Touring trim added a few more features, such as 16-inch wheels and a power driver’s seat. The Limited trim had even more luxury features, including leather seats, a sunroof, and chrome accents. Finally, the GT trim added performance via a turbocharged version of the 2.4-liter engine that produced 230 horsepower and 245 lb-ft of torque. (If anyone has a turbo, manual transmission PT Cruiser for sale, email me!)
In addition to the different trims, the PT Cruiser also came in several special editions, including the Dream Cruiser, the Woodie, and the Flames. These special editions added unique styling elements to the car, such as faux woodgrain paneling or painted flames on the hood. Overall, the PT Cruiser was a popular car during its production run, with over 1.3 million units sold. Its unique styling and affordable price made it a hot choice for buyers looking for something different.