Goodbye to the Cruiser

The days of the Chrysler PT Cruiser — the only car I’ve ever owned that I actually loved — are numbered. Before this model year, Chrysler killed the most powerful model — the PT Turbo — and now it says it’s going to yank the convertible. With the Cruiser based on ‘retro’ styling — making it hard to update — and taking into account the fact that the first one rolled off the line in 2000, it’s easy to see that it has little time left.

That’s too bad. I was one of those freaks who bought the ’01 model all the way back in 2000, paying full list and waiting six weeks for one. It was the perfect vehicle — it wasn’t too big, it was incredibly handy and I liked the way it looked.

I customized it a bit and drove it nearly 70,000 miles before trading it in 2004. I caved into my wife’s wishes on that trade, buying a crossover with a hot engine so she could enjoy herself for the 500 miles a year she actually drives the vehicle, and now I just own a piece of transportation again instead of something I love. I had been hoping that the Cruiser’s PT model, with its big turbo, would placate my wife when we go car shopping in about a year — but Chrysler yanked that version and now the Cruiser is an unlikely replacement.

Even if you hated it, you had to admit that the Cruiser was different than the generic clone-mobiles that clog the highways. I still miss mine.


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