Some call it ugly, others…also call it ugly. A brave design that paid off.
Arguably one of the most polarising designs for a mass-produced car in recent memory.
Best known to be slow, unreliable, poorly built, awful to drive and most obviously, kind of ugly (depending on who you ask). The Chrysler PT Cruiser certainly isn’t famous for the right reasons but hey, at least it’s famous for something!
Everyone and their aunt is familiar with this car thanks to its completely unforgettable styling. The silhouette of this thing is perhaps as iconic as some of the most legendary of cars; the Mustang, Porsche 911, Ferrari F40, Lamborghini Countach, Rolls Royce Phantom. One may forget the details of what a Toyota Yaris from 2006 or a Fiat Punto from 2009 looks like but the same cannot be said about the PT Cruiser.
For better or for worse, this odd-looking hatchback has made its mark in automotive history. Despite my harsh words about the PT Cruiser, the car was actually a success, selling over 1.35 million models worldwide with 300,000 of those being sold outside of the US. In fact, after the US, the UK was actually the second biggest market for the PT and the car became Chrysler’s most profitable product in the company’s history.
In the early 2000s, there was a bit of a retro boom in the automotive industry. The Jaguar S-Type, Mini Cooper, Ford GT, VW Beetle, Mazda MX-5 were all either renewed with styling that still looked retro or was sold through the noughties whilst keeping old-looking styling. In comes the PT Cruiser, appealing perfectly to consumers that wanted nothing more than a retro-styled car. In terms of achieving the retro look and offering it at an affordable price, the PT beat the competition with ease.
Along with its quirky exterior, the car had several wonderfully weird features. The rear seats could be removed, essentially allowing owners to use it as a van. There was an option for the passenger seat to be able to fold flat to form a table, allowing for long cargo to be laid down the 8ft length of the cabin. The window controls are mounted at the top of the centre console. The boot shelf could be set at two different levels (like a fridge shelf) and also be propped outwards to be used as a table. So just in case the aesthetic wasn’t quirky enough, there were plenty more unique things about it to be discovered as an owner.
And for those that think this car is odd, wait until you see the convertible model! Oh my, talk about how to make a bad thing worse!
There has been talk of the Chrysler PT Cruiser becoming a future classic but here we are 20 years later and prices haven’t seen a rise yet. If you’re into unique cars that defy the norm and dare to go against the grain, you can pick one of these up in good nick for a couple of grand!
Let us know your thoughts on the PT, in the comments below.
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