Click on a link below to view a PDF file of selected pages from the respective sales brochure. Brochures are copyrighted by Chrysler Corporation. These are large files. Therefore a high-speed Internet connection is recommended to view them. Below these links we have compiled a history of the PT Cruiser. If you have any other PT sales brochures not listed below, please consider letting us scan them and add them to our collection.
2009 PT Cruiser Sales Brochure 52MB file
2008 PT Cruiser Sales Brochure 26MB file
2008 PT Cruiser Accessories Brochure 17MB file
2007 PT Cruiser Sales Brochure 14MB file
2007 Accessories 2MB file
2006 PT Cruiser Convertible Sales Brochure 23 MB file
2005 PT Cruiser Small Brochure 8MB file
2004 PT Cruiser Sales Brochure 14MB file
An unofficial history of Chrysler's PT Cruiser. This history was assembled from information gathered from other PT Cruiser related websites, published books, press releases and Chrysler sales brochures. While all this information is publicly available, we have not seen it put together in one place, and felt such a document would be of interest to PT Cruiser fans. If you have additional documentation that would add more details to this history, please contact one of the Club Officers to allow us access to it. DISCLAIMER: We make no warranty as to the accuracy of any information contained within this history. Much of the information contained herein was obtained from Chrysler sales literature and details could vary between the literature and the production vehicles so we know there are inaccuracies.
END OF PRODUCTION - The final PT Cruiser rolled off the assembly line on July 9, 2010, according to an Associated Press and other media, articles. Some highlights from the articles noted the PT's largest sales year was 2001 with 145,000 sold. Sales for 2009 were just 18,000, with about half that for 2010. The writers felt Chrysler failed to invest in the car to keep it fresh and expand its appeal as time went on, feeling that had Chrysler invested in a major restyling, there could have been a positive payback. Another factor noted was the Cruiser was designed for distinctly American tastes, but automakers now build cars that have global appeal simply for reasons of cost. Another factor is that when the Cruiser began the 2.4L engine was used in several Chrysler Corp. cars. By the PT's last years it was the only Chrysler Corp. car using that engine. Today's auto manufacturers do not do that. Parts they use, have to be applied to multiple vehicles to spread development and manufacturing costs across more vehicles. It did not help that during most of the Cruiser's lifetime, Chrysler was starved for resources by Daimler AG who owned Chrysler from 1998 to 2007. We Cruiser fans can speculate all we want as to what could have or should have been done, but we must deal with the reality that it is now gone. The writers felt the Cruiser will never become a collector because so many cars were sold. We don't fully agree with that. See elsewhere on this page, near the bottom, for our speculation on the subject of collectability. We believe it possible certain models may become "Classic." If you agree, get yours now and keep it protected for the future. It has been reported in the automotive press that PT production passed one-million units in 2006, with the final tally at the end of production in July 2010 at 1.35 million units. Not bad for a car that Chrysler never dreamed they would sell that many units of. Perhaps if they had done better market research, especially among actual buyers during its production years, they may have learned some things that could have been done to "freshen" up the design making it a better seller in it late years. We'll never know now.
CRUISER MYSTIQUE - What is the appeal of the PT Cruiser? It was one of the most eagerly anticipated cars in U.S. history and when finally released, a person often had to go on a waiting list to get one, and then often had to pay substantially more than MSRP, at least at some of the less scrupulous dealers. What was the appeal? How to define the car? An article from the Spring 2002 issue of Cruiser magazine by Alan Paradise, gave some insight. In part it said, "The automotive industry has put many labels on the vehicle. Some say it's a truck, others a car, still many think it's an SUV. To me, it's a modern-day rod. A vehicle capable of allowing owners to transform them into anything they desire. It's a vehicle of ultimate self-expression. Not too old, not too new. Neither staunch nor over-the-edge. A design that looks as at home on gold Daytons as it does with a battle wing and road-race valance. The PT Cruiser is one of those rare, comes around once in a blue-moon vehicles." Maybe that is a significant part of the appeal. You can leave it straight and use it only for it's functionality, or mold it into something that expresses yourself, or anything in between. Certainly many owners have customized their cars ranging from a little decoration to wild customs and everything in between. Check out some of the Cruiser club web sites we have linked to on this web site and look at the photos of the member cars. You will see an array of cars very unlike most any other car model, classic or later model.
BRIEF HISTORY - The Chrysler PT Cruiser went on sale in March of 2000 as a 2001 model. At its introduction it was one of the most innovative vehicles brought to market in that era, and, to a great degree, in American automotive history. It was an instant success. As it turned out, even though Chrysler hoped for it to be successful, demand was more than expected, and initial production quantities did not meet the demand, resulting in some early buyers paying over the sticker price, or going on a waiting list, to get their car. Cruiser sales continued to increase for awhile, then began dropping off until for the 2008 model year, when less than 50,000 cars were sold. It is reported that vehicle deliveries peaked in 2001 with over 144,000 cars sold. By the 2007 model introduction, over one-million Cruisers had been sold. As of this time in 2009, total sales are reported to be some 1.3 million cars. Declining sales, and other factors, resulted in Chrysler's decision announced January 2009, to stop manufacturing the PT Cruiser at the end of the 2009 model production run. In July 2009 Chrysler announced there would be a 2010 PT with production to begin in November 2009. It was also announced that production would finally cease in late 2010 to retool the factory for a new small car.
The PT Cruiser was inspired by the 1930's era of high curvaceous cars with bold radiator grilles and mixed in the forward leaning stance of hot rods. The PT Cruiser has developed a loyal following among it's fans. Many of those fans have joined PT Cruiser clubs all over the world and consistently enjoy showing them and "cruising" in their Cruisers. The PT is one of the most customized autos in history, from mild add-on items to radical exterior and interior changes. One aspect of showing the car is unique to the Cruiser; that being the trunk display. Many owners get very creative with their trunk displays, with most displays featuring the personal interests of the owner, as the displays are not required to have anything to do with the PT Cruiser per se. Non-PT show cars may have elaborately finished trunks but any contents are usually directly related to the vehicle, such as tools, etc.
The PT Cruiser provides functional practicality to its owners, as there are many PT owners who are not "fans" in the sense of belonging to a club such as ours, doing shows and the many other activities PT owner/fans do. Their cars serve as useful performers for them. For its owner/fans, it is a fun vehicle as well as a very practical vehicle. For many of our club members, their PT's are their "daily drivers."
DESIGN and DEVELOPMENT - Click the link at left to go to this section that discusses some of the ideas behind the development of the PT Cruiser.
CONVERTIBLE DEVELOPMENT - a discussion of the development of the convertible.
CONCEPT ONLY CARS - Click the link at left to go to this section discussing concept cars that never became production vehicles.
COLLECTABILITY - Will the PT become a collector car. See what we speculate.
REAR BADGING - A discussion of the badging changes on the rear of the car over its years.
Click the links below to go to the particular production car commentary.
2001 Sedan - Trim levels were Base and Limited. The Limited was actually an options package for the Base model. The Base model could also be upgraded with the Touring Group Package, or the Luxury Touring Group Package. The Luxury Touring Group Package was included in the Limited. Exterior colors available were Aquamarine Metallic Clear Coat, Black Clear Coat, Bright Silver Metallic Clear Coat, Deep Cranberry Pearl Coat, Inferno Red Tinted Pearl Coat, Patriot Blue Pearl Coat, Shale Green Metallic Clear Coat, Stone White Clear Coat, and Taupe Frost Metallic Clear Coat. Standard wheels for the Base were 15-inch steel with bolt on wheel covers. For the Touring, 16-inch painted aluminum wheels. For the Limited, and optional on the Touring, 16-inch chrome plated aluminum wheels. Photo-1, Photo-2.
2002 Sedan - Trim levels were Base, Touring and Limited. Unlike 2001 in which the Touring and Limited trims were equipment group add-ons to the Base model, the 2002 trim levels were marketed as actual models. Deleted exterior colors were Aquamarine and Shale Greens. Added colors were Light Almond Pearl Metallic Clear Coat and Steel Blue Pearl Coat. The other 2001 colors were carried over. A new exterior option was flames. The flames were graphic overlays applied to the hood, front fenders and front doors. The flames were available in four choices, Fading Orange-to-Red flames with Inferno Tinted Pearl Coat, Fading Blue-to-Cranberry flames with Deep Cranberry Pearl Coat, Fading Dark Silver-to-Bright Silver flames with Bright Silver Metallic, Fading Deep Magenta-to-Black flames highlighted by a blue border. Other changes were the addition of the front passenger under seat storage bin and inboard armrests. Other interior items were refined depending on the model. Also added was the rear seat back release handles accessible from the trunk for safety reasons should someone get locked in the trunk. Wheel choices per model were the same as 2001. Flame Photo-1.
2003 Sedan - Models remained Base, Touring, and Limited. (Newly added was the PT Turbo model we have detailed elsewhere in this history, under Special Models.) One exterior color was deleted, Taupe Frost Metallic Clear Coat. Added exterior colors were Electric Blue Pearl Coat and Onyx Green Pearl Coat. The other 2002 colors were carried over. A new interior color of Dark Slate Gray was available in addition to the Taupe/Pearl Beige. New 15-inch bolt-on wheel covers had bright lug nut caps. Accent color body side moldings were standard, as was the fold-flat front passenger seat. The 2002 model's heated fold-away mirrors were replaced with fixed non-heated ones. The bumpers were now body-colored on all but the Base model. Deleted were the fold forward front seat headrests and the passenger front door key lock.
2004 Sedan - Models were Base, Touring, Limited and GT. Exterior colors deleted were Deep Cranberry Pearl Coat, Steel Blue Pearl Coat, and Stone White Clear Coat. Added colors were Deep Plum Pearl Coat, Bright Seamist Green Metallic Clear Coat, Cool Vanilla Clear Coat, Midnight Blue and Graphite Metallic. The other 2003 colors were carried over. We also believe this year began the body colored bumpers on the base models as well as the other models. A new engine was available on the Touring and Limited models. It was a 180 hp turbocharged model available only with automatic transmission. Cruisers with this engine had "2.4L Turbo" badge on the lift gate, large diameter chrome exhaust tip, and 16-inch chrome clad aluminum wheels. These 180hp turbo models had the standard 120mph speedometer. Other changes were the optional availability of the rear spoiler on all models except the GT, it being standard on the GT. All models had the optional availability of Sirius satellite radio, and for all models but Base, the U-Connect Bluetooth hands-free cellular phone interface. The Chrome Accents optional package was expanded with bright pedals. chrome door lock buttons and Satin Silver steering wheel spokes. The Sentry Key engine immobilizer was made standard on all models. Base, Touring and Limited models optionally could have ABS front disc/rear drum brakes. Touring and Limited models with the 180hp turbo optionally could have the four-wheel ABS disc brakes and traction control that was standard on the GT. The GT now had as standard equipment, the 140 MPH speedometer, leather seats, two-way power driver's seat, power moon-roof, leather wrapped steering wheel with bright silver spokes, bright pedals, chrome door lock knobs, and a "2.4L High Output Turbo" badge on the lift-gate to signify the 220 HP turbocharged engine. The manual transaxle was standard across the lineup, with the four-speed automatic optionally available on all but the GT, as the four-speed Auto-Stick was the only automatic available on the GT. Following the introduction of the Dream Cruiser Series 3 mid-model year, two-tone exterior color schemes of Black over Bright Silver, Inferno Red, Electric Blue, Seamist Green, and Light almond were offered for the Touring and Limited models. The power door lock and power window operating buttons were no longer lighted.
2005 Sedan - Models were Base, Touring, Limited G and K Packages, and GT. Exterior colors deleted were Bright Seamist Green, Light Almond Pearl Metallic, and Graphite Metallic. An added color was Linen Gold Pearl Coat. The other 2004 colors were carried over. In addition, two-tone combinations of Black over Bright Silver, Electric Blue, Inferno Red or Linen Gold were offered for the Touring, Limited and GT sedans. Other changes were minimal, consisting mostly of minor changes to the options packages. Changes were made to the Touring Edition's standard and optional equipment packages, and the addition of a second Limited Edition "G" CPOS (Customer Preferred Ordering System) package that enhanced the existing Touring "F" CPOS package. As an example for the Touring model, the touring suspension was changed to normal duty, cruise control, sunscreen glass, light group, and a new Moon Roof Group became optional. Fog lamps, security alarm, and the moon roof by itself (not part of a package), were not available. These equipment changes seemed to be intended to lower car prices, being in line with the across-the-board lowering of the base prices for all models by removing what had been standard equipment. For example, the base price of the GT was about $4,000 less than the 2004 model. The tailgate latch was changed to non-moving a one-piece design. Cars with remote keyless entry now had a pressure switch on the underside of the Chrysler badge on the lift-gate to release the latch. Cars without RKE used a key to open the lift-gate. Touring and Limited models could have ABS ($595). The Limited with the 180hp turbo engine ($2,000) could have four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and traction control ($825). MSRP's were Base ($13,405), Touring ($15,405), Limited ($17,315, and GT ($22,905). The Auto-Stick on the GT added ($440). The powered moon-roof on the Limited added ($750) and on the Touring added ($1,100). Heated front seats on the Limited and GT added ($250). Side impact airbags for Base and Touring added ($390). The GPS navigation radio for the Limited and GT added ($1,100). The "woody" option was available on the Limited for ($895). The rear spoiler for Touring and Limited was ($150).
2006 Sedan - Models were Base, Touring, Limited G and K
Packages, and GT. This year provided the first (and only) significant redesign
of the exterior and interior in the PT's entire history. The main exterior change was the redesign
of the front lower fascia. Positive changes were the bumper was more integrated into
the body, and the front license plate holder was improved. Other changes could
be judged positive or negative, depending on personal opinion. Everything below
the front bumper was changed. The previous lower part of the grille was gone, replaced
with an open slot extending across the front of the car and containing what
looked to be an expanded metal screen. Fog lights, not available on Base or
Touring models, went from rectangular to round. Headlights were changed to a
"scalloped" design. The grille was changed to a more horizontal bar style and
the Chrysler wing badge was enlarged. Chrome accents were included on the
grille. All models but the GT added a small strip spoiler to the rear lift gate,
the GT having the full spoiler.
Exterior colors deleted were Midnight Blue and Dark Plum. New colors were Marine
Blue Pearl and Magnesium Pearl. The other 2005 colors were carried over.
Interior color changes were the replacement of Dark Slate Gray and Taupe Light
pearl with pastel Slate Gray and Pastel Pebble Beige. Base and Touring model
seats had cloth fabric. The Limited had fabric with leather or suede accents,
and the GT had leather seats. The instrument panel had larger gauges (a
significant improvement in readability but at the expense of a raised dashboard
surface) with white
lighting, new air vents, and an analog clock. The former center console and seat
mounted arm rests were replaced with a storage bin with a sliding center armrest
that covered a two-tier storage bin. The dash center stack was revised putting
the radio above the ventilation controls (an improvement). A Satin Silver center
dash bezel was on all models
with the GT having a unique technical pattern. Glove box capacity was increased
and a passenger grab bar was added. The Limited and GT now had a six-way power
seat. The Limited's "K" option was upgraded to include the 180hp turbocharged
engine, fog lamps, automatic transmission, leather seats, four-wheel disc brakes,
traction control, and much of the chrome accents group. The design of the
courtesy/map lights was changed. Power speed sensitive door locks and a power
accessory delay were standard. The key now had an integral Fob for remote entry. A
new option was a Boston AcousticsÃ‚Â® six-speaker sound system with subwoofer. An
audio input jack was added to all radios and the CD players could play MP3 CD's.
Available on all models except Base was the Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC).
This included the compass and temperature displays, audio information, distance
to empty gas tank and elapsed travel time. The EVIC was moved from the overhead
console into the instrument cluster. The two-tone and woody options were
dropped. rear speakers were moved to the doors and speaker count was reduced to
four from six.
The Signature and Street Cruiser series were again available. These models are detailed elsewhere in this document. The GT's High Output turbo engine was increased to 230 hp.
2007 Sedan - Models were Base (D trim), Touring (F trim), Limited (G and K trims), and GT (R trim). Added exterior colors were Pastel Yellow Clear Coat, Tangerine Pearl Coat and Opal Pearl Coat. Five colors were carried over; Marine Blue Pearl Coat, Inferno Red Crystal Pearl Coat, Bright Silver Metallic Clear Coat and Cool Vanilla Clear Coat. A non-publicized change was the removal of the Sentry System sensors in the key locks. Previously, one could unlock the lift-gate or driver door with the key as the locks contained the RFID sensors for the Sentry System. This change meant the only way now to unlock the car without setting off the alarm was with the Remote Keyless Entry device. Limited models had "YES Essentials" stain resistant fabric seats that were optional on the Touring model. The rear multi-position shelf was not included on the Base models. The six-way power driver's seat was standard on all but the Base models. Remote Keyless Entry was standard on all models. The chrome accent group was optional for the Limited and GT. The "PT Cruiser" badging on the front doors was removed and one put on the lower left of the hatch. The model designation, except for the base model, was now on the lower right of the hatch.
2008 Sedan - The Base model was changed to LX (D trim), with Touring (F trim), and Limited (K trim) the other choices. The GT was dropped for 2008, as well as the 230hp High Output turbocharged engine. Exterior colors were Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl, Cool Vanilla, Melbourne Green, Bright Silver Metallic, Inferno Red Crystal Pearl, Deep Water Blue Pearl, Silver Steel Metallic, Surf Blue Pearl, and Stone White. For the most part, the items included in each trim level remained the same as the previous year. With the GT gone, the Limited now had standard leather seats and the 180hp turbocharged engine with the four-speed automatic. The LX was only available with the 150hp engine with five-speed manual transaxle, and the Touring was standard with the 150hp engine and four-speed automatic transaxle, with the 180hp turbocharged engine with four-speed automatic optional. The four-speed automatic transaxle was standard on the Limited along with the 180hp turbocharged engine. The Auto-Stick transaxle was not available. Many other formerly optional items became standard on the Limited. The Tire Pressure Monitoring System was now standard on all models due to Federal requirements. The left side of the rear hatch said "PT Cruiser." The "Edition" wording was deleted from the model designation and was on the right lower hatch. The turbo model also said "1.8T" below the model designation on the right side. The chrome trim on the grille was gone from all models but the Limited.
2009 Sedan - Models were LX, Touring, and Limited. Exterior colors remained the same as for 2008. Engine/transmission choices remained as for 2008. All other trims, options and features remained mostly the same as for 2008, with some minor changes in combinations. Air conditioning was standard on all models. Clearly, Chrysler was not making any further meaningful investment in the PT Cruiser. Now the right side of the deck lid said "PT Cruiser." The model designation, except for the LX, was on the left side of the deck lid.
2010 Sedan - First discontinued, then reinstated, the 2010 Cruiser was a reality. It was known as the PT Cruiser Classic, and came in that one model only. It is nothing more than the 2009 model carried over, but with some differences in equipment regrouping. That is to say that many former options, or equipment included in the former Touring and Limited trim levels, were now standard equipment included in the base price of $18,995 MSRP including freight. Many previous years' equipment options were not available. Exterior colors were Bright Silver Metallic, Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl Coat, Deep Water Blue Pearl Coat, Inferno Red Crystal Pearl Coat, Silver Steel metallic Clear Coat, and Stone White Clear Coat. The standard interior was Pastel Slate Grey cloth. Standard equipment listed was the 150 HP engine with four-speed automatic transaxle, 16x6 Aluminum wheels, AM-FM-CD, four-wheel disc ABS brakes, traction control, power mirrors, A/C, power windows, EVIC, fog lamps, chrome bodyside molding, and speed control.
Listed options available were Premium Cloth interior and Premium Leather-Trimmed Bucket Seats, (both seat choices requires the the convenience group listed below), engine block heater ($35), power moonroof ($795), two-toned paint, and a Convenience Group ($395) that included fold flat front passenger seatback, heated front seats, driver adjustable lumbar support and driver's six-way power seat. We also believe SIRIUS Satellite radio was an available option. A mid-year option addition was the Couture Edition ($1,000); see details under our Special Trims/Models section below.) It is noteworthy what is missing from the equipment lists, such as Satellite radio, manual transaxle, other advanced audio choices, and the turbocharged engine. Given the fact that in January 2009 Chrysler announced the PT would be dropped at the end of 2009 production run, then it being reinstated in July 2009 by the new Fiat management after the bankruptcy, its easily understandable that the 2010 model was a production "placeholder" until the Toluca factory could be retooled for the new smaller cars planned. Production was planned to cease in late 2010 and that will truly be the end of the PT Cruiser, making it a 10 year run which is not bad in the automotive world.
REAR BADGING: The badging on the rear of the cars varied over the years. We will refine this topic as we obtain more details.
For 2001-2006 the Base models had no rear badging. The upscale trim models had the edition badge on the lower left liftgate as in "Touring Edition" or "Limited Edition." The 2003 GT had "GT" on the left side and "2.4 L TURBO" on the right side as there was no 180 H.P turbo until 2004. The 2002-2005 Dream Cruisers had special Dream Cruiser Edition badges on the lower left liftgate. 2004-2005 models with the 180 H.P. turbo had "2.4L TURBO" on the lower right liftgate, and the GT had "GT" and "2.4 L TURBO HIGH OUTPUT" badges on the lower left and right respectively. The 2006 Route 66 special edition had a "Route 66" badge on the lower left liftgate. It was not available with a turbo so did not need any turbo badging.
For 2007, "PT Cruiser" was on the lower left side of the rear liftgate. Beginning in 2007, the "PT Cruiser" on the front doors was removed. For 2007, the edition designation moved to the lower right side of the rear liftgate and shown in one line, ex: "Touring." The 180 H.P. turbo models had "1.8T" badging on the liftgate after the edition, ex: Touring 2.4T.". The GT had "GT 2.4T" on the lower right liftgate. The Pacific Coast Highway" special edition had a special badge on the lower left liftgate. It was not available with a turbo so did not need any turbo badging.
For 2008, the same badging patterns as for 2007 were used. The turbo models had an extra badge. As now only the 180 H.P. turbo was available, "2.4T" was a second line under the edition name. The high output turbo was gone by 2008 so no special badging for it was needed. The "Sunset Boulevard" special edition had a special badge on the lower left liftgate. It was not available with a turbo so did not need any turbo badging.
For 2009, there were really no changes from 2008. The 2009 DC5 had a special "Dream Cruiser 5" badge on the lower left liftgate. The DC5 was available with a 180 H.P. turbo but we do not know if any turbo badging was applied.
For 2010, there was only one model, the "PT Classic." It carried no special badging having only "PT Cruiser on the lower left liftgate. There were no turbo models.
CONVERTIBLE DEVELOPMENT - Shown as a concept car in April 2001, and announced in March 2002 to go into production the first Quarter of 2004 as a 2005 model. It was not just a sedan with the top chopped off. Rather, while it was the same as the sedan from the front bumper to the firewall, from there on back it was an all new design, specifically built as a convertible. Special attention was given in the design to provide structural integrity. Other design elements were included to minimize vibration and road noise. Minor changes were made to the power train and it's mounting to reduce interior noise. Even the distinctive sports bar spanning the passenger compartment was designed to make the airflow more smoothly over the passenger compartment with the top down, making it quieter for the passengers. Extensive wind tunnel tests were performed to prove and refine the design. Another unique feature was "smart glass." This was a system that lowered all four windows about 1 and 1/2 inches when the control for the top movement was operated to it's first detent. Operating the control to the 2nd detent would lower all four windows fully. Also, when either door was opened with the top up, the door glass automatically lowered about 1/2 inch to prevent the glass from hanging up on the top weather seals. Most owners report the convertible is one of the quietist cars they have owned, convertible or otherwise, even with the top down. It featured nearly 10 inches more rear seat leg room than its class competitors. Concept Photo-1.
The convertible top system included a six-point top attachment system and a floating bow top retention system. Mechanical components of the top system included: forged main control link and rails, a stamped top header and main pivot bracket, a high-pressure hydraulic pump and motor, four high-strength steel roof bows on the frame, forged rails, a high-strength steel floating bow, glass stabilizing wide tension belts, a sound-dampening pump cover and a two-piece stamped header. Soft top system components included: a three-layer premium cloth top, a fully serviceable glass heated backlight, a full headliner, adjustable tension straps, a single center-mounted top release handle and side-glass weather stripping. The convertible's top assembly fit flush with the windshield header for a clean appearance and low wind noise. The top included a full premium cloth headliner and insulating pad that isolated the cabin from road noise and harsh outside temperatures. The three-layer, premium material was available in Black or Taupe, and provided strength and durability to the top without sacrificing a soft-touch feel. A scratch-resistant, heated glass backlight was urethane bonded in place. This standard feature eliminated the need to disassemble the entire top when servicing the backlight, which had the potential to introduce NVH issues after repair on competitive products. The system's extruded high-strength steel roof bows and rails maintained roof integrity when raising or lowering the top. The rear bow "floated," which created a compact, clean top-down look. The entire mechanism (including the hydraulics, insulated headliner, weather stripping and latches) was installed in a single manufacturing operation using only six fasteners. Both the floating bow and six-point attachment system were U.S. industry "firsts." A high pressure, thermally protected electric pump mounted in the center of the quickly actuated the top. Anti-chaffing hydraulic lines connected the pump to the cylinders that raised and lowered the top. Both the pump and hydraulic lines were secured in the bottom of the convertible top well. A noise dampening cover was positioned above the pump to minimize any noise that may be produced during top operation. Operating the top was by operating a single D-ring release handle at the center of the windshield/top header that released the two latches located at the front corners of the top. Latches at each corner of the A-pillar secured the top when up. The power top switch was conveniently located in the accessory switch bank in the instrument panel center stack area. The boot was designed specifically for easy installation and stowing. The boot's soft center section allowed the arms to nest together for a "tucked in" design that reduced installation time and effort. One person could easily install the boot with a couple of snaps when the top was retracted. The boot was color-coordinated to match the interior/exterior packaging, while its semi-rigid self-supporting arms gave a distinctive appearance to the vehicle when in place. When removed, the boot could be stored in the trunk. The trunk had a new paddle-type pull cup integral with the winged badge on the deck lid. It replicated the hallmark winged Chrysler badge handle of the sedan, but purposely excluded the integrated mechanical release to assure a completely secure trunk area. The deck lid's new articulating, four-link design opened up and out for rear compartment access. A parallel link hinge and gas props eased deck lid operation.
2005 Convertible - Models were Base, Touring, and GT. Standard equipment included a power convertible top, sport bar with integrated dome lamps, solar tinted Smart Glass, glass rear window with electric defroster, cloth seats, 50/50 fold and tumble rear seats, pass-through cargo area, power outside mirrors, touring tuned suspension and body color fascias and body side moldings. The Standard and Touring models came with the 150hp engine with five-speed manual transaxle. The Touring model could optionally have the 180hp turbocharged engine ($2,105) with four-speed automatic transaxle. Also added to the Touring model was the convertible top boot cover, the cover being an optional for added cost on the Standard model. The Touring model included 16-inch painted cast aluminum wheels, speed control, security alarm, fog lights, and AM/FM/CD. The GT's standard equipment included all Touring items plus the 220hp turbocharged engine, performance suspension with ABS four-wheel disc brakes, traction control, 17-inch painted cast aluminum wheels, chrome exhaust tip, leather seats, driver two-way power seat, side air bags, and AM/FM/CD and Cassette, and front and side air bags. The four-speed Auto-Stick was optional on the GT as were chrome five-spoke 17-inch wheels. A feature believed unique to the convertible was in the event of airbag deployment, the dome lights turned on and the doors unlocked. A remote power deck lid release was standard. The switch was mounted in the lockable glove box and was further secured by removing the power, accomplished by setting the Vehicle Theft Security System (VTSS) using either the key Fob, the exterior door key cylinder or the interior door lock switch. The VTSS, which was standard equipment on all Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertibles, also emitted both audible and visible signals if unauthorized entry into the vehicle was attempted. A Remote Keyless Entry (RKE) feature on convertibles used a rolling code to prevent pirating of the vehicle unlock signal. RKE included a panic alarm and provided central locking and unlocking of all openings with the key. Finally, a Sentry Key Immobilizer System on convertibles deterred vehicle theft by immobilizing the engine if an attempt was made to start the car without a properly programmed key. According to the Chrysler sales literature, the exterior colors were Black, Bright Silver Metallic, Cool Vanilla, Dark Plum Pearl, Electric Blue Pearl, Midnight Blue Pearl, Inferno Red Pearl, and Linen Gold Metallic. Base and Touring model seats were Dark Slate Gray Fresno Cloth. Optional for the Touring Edition was Light Pearl Beige Leather. The GT had leather seats in two choices; Dark Slate Gray with Medium Gray accents, or Light Pearl Beige with Dark Taupe accents. The convertible top colors were Black or Taupe. The GT convertible curb weight was 3485 pounds. Product reviews stated the GT could do 0-60MPH in seven seconds and that it could do the 1/4 mile in 15.4 seconds at 92MPH. MSRP's were Base ($19,405), Touring ($23,075, and GT ($27,380). NOTE- Even though Graphite Metallic is not listed as being available for a 2005 convertible exterior color, we do know that some 2005 convertibles were painted in this color. We have personally seen several, and have seen others pictured in Internet used car ads. Perhaps this was an error in the sales brochure as the color was listed for the 2005 sedans. GT-1, GT-2, GT-3, GT-4, GT-5, GT-6, GT-7, GT-8, GT-9, Touring-1, Touring-2, Touring-3, Touring-4, Touring-5, Touring-6, Touring-7, Touring-8.
2006 Convertible - Models were Base D and E Packages, Touring, and GT. The Base D package had the 150hp engine with five-speed manual transaxle. The Base E package had the 150hp engine with four-speed automatic transaxle. The Touring had the 180hp turbocharged engine with four-speed automatic transaxle. The GT had the 230hp turbocharged engine with the five-speed manual transaxle standard and the four-speed Auto-Stick transaxle optional. Four-wheel disc ABS brakes were standard on the GT and optional on Touring. The suspension was "touring" on all models but GT and "sport" on the GT. Traction control was standard on the GT. The top boot cover was standard on Touring and GT and not listed as available for Base models. Chrome grille accents were standard on all models. Fog lamps were standard on Touring and GT and not available on Base models. Wheels were 15" steel with wheel covers on Base D models, 16" painted aluminum on Base E and Touring, 16" chrome optional on Touring, and and 17" chrome-clad aluminum on GT. A/C was standard on all models. Bright pedals and lock knobs were on the GT. Heated seats were optional on the Touring and GT but only with leather seats, which were optional on Touring and standard on GT. The six-way power driver seats was optional on Touring and standard on GT. The Boston Acoustics 368 watt audio system was optional on Touring and GT. All models had six speakers. All the exterior and interior updates for the 2006 Sedans were also applied to the convertible.
2007 Convertible - Models remained Base D and E, Touring, and GT. Three new exterior colors were Tangerine Pearl, Opal Metallic, and Pastel Yellow. The Touring model had available the YES EssentialsÃ‚Â® seat fabric available in Pastel Pebble Beige and Pastel Slate Gray. Top colors were Pebble Beige or Black. Everything else of any significance remained the same as for 2006. The top boot covers were standard on the Touring and GT, but not listed as available on the Base model. The EVIC was standard on Touring and GT, but not available on Base models. Satellite radio was not available on convertibles. RKE was standard on all models. One item of interest we found was a report of the demographics for convertibles as a market segment. It reported as follows: Gender - 62% female/ 38% male, median age 55, median income $78,000, 72% married, and 30% college graduates.
2008 Convertible - Models were reduced to just the PT Convertible. The 27F package had the 150hp engine with five-speed manual transaxle, the 28F package had the 150hp engine with four-speed automatic transaxle, and the 2CF package had the 180hp turbocharged engine with four-speed automatic transaxle. The 230hp engine had been dropped from production with the discontinuance of the GT for 2008. The Touring suspension was standard. Four-wheel disc ABS brakes were included with the optional turbo engine. The boot cover was an extra-cost option. No chrome accents on the grille. Body color bodyside moldings, not chrome. Standard wheels were 16" aluminum painted with 16" chrome five-spoke optional, or 17" fifteen spoke chrome optional. Leather seats were optional as were heated seats. Satellite radio was not available but the 368 watt Boston Acoustics six-speaker system was. UconnectÃ‚Â® hands-free was not available. The six-way power driver's seat was standard. Convertible production ceased unannounced in December 2007, a non-glorious end to a unique car model.
2002 Dream Cruiser Series 1 (DCS1) - Available beginning February 2002, the DCS1 was the first of what would prove to be many specially equipped production models. They were equipped in one configuration, with the only option available being a four-speed automatic transaxle, and were a limited production run. This first year was limited to 7,500 cars produced for the North American market, with additional production for other world markets. The car was painted Inca Gold Metallic, an evolution of the color shown on the Pronto Cruiser concept car in 1998. The grille, bumpers, and body side moldings and wheel center caps were painted to match the body. Special Inca Gold trim was used on the interior as well. On the dash was a special plaque marking the car as a Dream Cruiser Series 1, including the production run number from 1 - 7500. On the lift-gate was a chrome badge signifying this was a DCS1. The DCS1 was well equipped including four-wheel disc brakes, traction control, heated front seats, AM/FM/CD radio with Cassette. MSRP was $23,995 with the automatic transaxle. Photo-1, Photo-2, Photo-3, Photo-4.
2002 Woody - Available in November 2001, this was not a specific production run, but rather an available option for any of the three trim levels. It harkened back to Chrysler's Town and Country series wagons and convertibles from 1941-1950, which used actual wood for the decoration. This time the Woody decoration consisted of a linear medium oak vinyl graphic applied to the doors, quarter panels and lift-gate with light ash surround molding. MSRP was $895. Photo-1, Photo-2, Photo-3, Photo-4.
2003 PT Turbo - Developed from the "GT Cruiser" concept car shown in November 1999, and officially announced March 2002 as a 2003 model, this was the answer to many PT fans desire for more power. It was rated at 215 horsepower. The engine had the basics of the standard engine, but had changes made in design to produce and withstand 200 plus horsepower. Significant changes were an aluminum block with cast-iron cylinder liners, redesigned cylinder heads and crankshaft, all-new pistons and forged connecting rods. Oil and water cooling capacities were increased. Racing style oil squirt lubricating mechanisms cooled the pistons. Precision calibration of the wastegate and integrated turbo/exhaust manifold, and special acoustic dampeners in the manifold to silence the turbo whine were implemented. The standard transaxle was a heavy-duty five-speed Getrag manual. For North America, the Chrysler four-speed automatic with Auto-Stick was soon available. All Turbos had a specially tuned suspension, large diameter chrome exhaust tip, four-wheel disc ABS brakes, 17-inch silver painted cast aluminum wheels and Goodyear Eagle all season performance tires. Due to the suspension differences, the GT rode one-inch lower than the other models. The Turbo's front fascia had an enlarged lower opening allowing more airflow to the turbo intercooler. The body side molding color matched the body color. On the left side of the lift-gate was a "GT" badge. On the right side was a "2.4L Turbo" badge. The seats were finished in Dark Slate Gray Fresno cloth unique to the Turbo model. The dash panel had unique accents, silver-faced gauges, a 140 mph speedometer, and a Satin Silver shift knob. "GT" was embroidered into the floor mats. An optional CPOS "R" (Customer Preferred ordering System) package added leather trimmed performance seats with perforated leather inserts, leather wrapped steering wheel, side air bags, driver power seat, power moon roof, AM/FM/CD/Cassette, and 17-inch chrome aluminum wheels.
Chrysler chose to load the GT Cruiser with many options as standard equipment contributing to it's list price of over $22.000, which some folks felt limited it's sales volume. For those who bought it, they really were happy to have the extra power the PT had been missing. Beginning with the 2004 model year, rather than being a unique model, the GT became the top trim level of the PT line, but still carried nearly every available option in the catalog and was expensive. My new 2004 GT was list priced at over $28,000. Better news for many folks was the 2004 introduction of the 180hp turbocharged engine, available in the Touring and Limited models which still provided the more robust performance of a turbocharged engine (not as much performance as the GT but adequate), at a lower vehicle cost. Still, overall sales of turbocharged engines remained a small segment of total PT sales.
Those of us that have turbocharged engines would not give them up, however. The 180hp turbocharged engine makes a very nice power package for the car. It provides plenty of power using Regular grade fuel for those times it's needed such as freeway on ramps and climbing mountain grades at freeway speeds, while still being a "civilized" driving experience. With the automatic transaxles it will usually pull such hills in overdrive without downshifting. The standard 150hp engine will usually downshift to pull a grade of any significance. The 220hp turbocharged engine is in it's own performance class, compared to the other two engines as it REALLY pulls hills and gets on the freeway. One could almost call it an "uncivilized" bad boy, or the PT Cruiser "Big Block." It does prefer Premium fuel, however, and does perform better using it.
2003 Chrome Accents Package - Available for the Touring and Limited models, and contained the following: Body color monotone grille with chrome horizontal bars, monotone body color front fascia with horizontal chrome bars on the lower opening, full surround chrome molding on the entire circumference of the body, lower chrome body side molding, chrome plated fuel door, 16-inch chrome clad wheels, bright exhaust tip, brushed silver front door scuff plates engraved with bright "PT Cruiser" lettering, chrome shift bezel on automatic transaxle models, chrome shift lever with satin silver knob, chrome door locks and handles, and leather wrapped steering wheel.
2003 Dream Cruiser Series 2 (DCS2) - Production began in January 2003 and was again limited to 7,500 units. The only color was Tangerine Pearl Coat. It had chrome body side moldings, body color rear spoiler, 17-inch chrome spoke wheels, and the "Dream Cruiser Series 2" badge on the lift-gate. Again, a unique plaque on the dash listed the unit's production number. The interior was Dark Slate in combination with Tangerine colored door bolsters, passenger airbag door and cluster bezel. Included were Tangerine colored floor mats with a Dream Cruiser logo. Also included were a power moon roof, heated front seats, Sirius satellite radio, performance tuned suspension, four-wheel ABS disc brakes, and traction control. Again, the only available option was a four-speed Auto-Stick transaxle. The DCS2's had the 215 hp High-Output turbocharged engine. Photo-1, Photo-2.
004 Dream Cruiser Series 3 (DCS3) - Production was limited to 1,300 units. VIN numbers were reserved in a continuous sequence to enhance the model's collectability. The engine was the 220hp High Output Turbo. Equipment included was four-wheel ABS brakes, traction control, moon roof, rear spoiler, and AM/FM six-disc CD changer radio with Sirius satellite radio. Again, the only option was the four-speed Auto-Stick. The exterior color was an exclusive Midnight Blue and Bright Silver two-tone with blue tinted glass. The DCS3 also had chrome horizontal front grille accents, bright body side moldings, the "Dream Cruiser Series 3" lift-gate badge, and 17-inch chrome plated cast aluminum wheels. This was the only PT model ever produced with factory dual-exhaust. It was not true dual exhaust from the manifold back, rather the exhaust was split past the Catalytic converter into two discharge pipes with chrome tips. Photo-1, Photo-2, Photo-3.
2004 Platinum Series - Introduced after the DCS3, this model was part of the entire Platinum Limited Edition Series that included six different Chrysler vehicles. This Cruiser was powered by the 180hp turbo engine with automatic transaxle. Included were AM/FM six disc CD changer with Sirius satellite radio, unique two-tone leather seats with power seat height adjuster, bright pedals, leather wrapped steering wheel with Satin Silver spokes, chrome door lock knobs, front door sill scuff plates with bright winged Chrysler logo, chrome shifter bezel and Satin Silver shift knob. The exterior had special Platinum Series badging, chrome clad wheels, chrome body side moldings and chrome exhaust tip.
2005 Dream Cruiser Series 4 (DCS4) - This was the first (and only) Dream Cruiser that was a convertible. It was Lava Red with a matching Maroon top, chrome grille accents, 17-inch 15-spoke Satin Silver painted wheels. The lift-gate had the DCS4 badge having Deep Lava accents. Light Pearl Beige leather seats had lava red accents. The instrument panel had Deep Lava Red accents. It was available with the five-speed Getrag manual transaxle, or four-speed Auto-Stick. Also included was the new for-2005 bright accents on the pedals, chrome door lock knobs, leather-wrapped steering wheel with satin silver spokes and Home-Link universal garage door opener, along with power windows, locks and mirrors, remote keyless entry, solar-tinted "Smart" glass, compass/temperature display rearview mirror, two-way driver power seat with manual lumbar adjuster, fog lamps, theft alarm, Sentry Key theft-deterrent system, rear glass window with electric defroster, air conditioning, rear 50/50 split fold and tumble seats, a pass-through cargo area, a sport-tuned suspension with ABS four-wheel disc brakes and low-speed traction control, and driver and passenger side air bags. It had the 220hp turbocharged engine, heated front seats, AM/FM 6 disc CD changer, and the Boston AcousticsÃ‚Â® 368 watt Infinity premium sound system with speed dependent bass boost. This audio system was also made optional for the Touring and GT convertibles. MSRP was ($30,085) with the five-speed manual and ($30,700) with the Auto-Stick. Production was capped at 1,500 units. Photo-1, Photo-2, Photo-3, Photo-4, Photo-5, Photo-6, Photo-7, Photo-8, Photo-9, Photo-10, Photo-11, Photo-12.
2005 Signature Series - Introduced in October 2004, it included a navigation system as part of the radio, Walter P. Chrysler signature badges, Sirius satellite radio, Chrome Package, Dark Taupe/Light Pearl leather-trimmed seats, front airbags, two-way driver power seat, 16-inch chrome clad wheels, Home-Link universal garage door opener transceiver, AM/FM/CD radio with six speakers, and leather wrapped steering wheel. It was available in all the 2005 exterior color choices.
2006 Signature Series - The 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser Touring Signature Series Package added 16-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels with 16-inch all-season touring tires, a chrome exhaust tip and W. P. Chrysler signature badges. Additional features included premium cloth sport seats with a six-way power driver seat, driver manual lumbar adjuster, front seat-mounted side air bags, leather-wrapped steering wheel with satin silver spokes, sunscreen glass, a touring suspension, chrome cupholder rings, chrome automatic shifter bezel, speed control and SIRIUS satellite radio. Exterior colors Marine Blue Pearl Coat, Magnesium Pearl Coat, Electric Blue Pearl Coat, Linen Gold Pearl Coat, Inferno Red Crystal Pearl Coat, Bright Silver Metallic Clear Coat, Black and Cool Vanilla Clear Coat were all available on Chrysler PT Cruiser Touring vehicles with the Signature Series Package. Badge Photo-1.
2006 Street Cruiser Route 66 Edition - Available with manual or automatic transaxle, equipped with sport suspension and four-wheel ABS disc brakes and traction control, it was powered with the standard 150hp engine. The Solar Yellow color was exclusive to this model and included the yellow color on the grille and brake calipers, but it is reported that the car was available inblack as well. Exterior features included sunscreen glass, rear spoiler, 17-inch chrome plated five-spoke wheels, a Street Cruiser badge on the lift-gate, and Route 66 badges on the front doors. The instrument cluster and passenger airbag door were Solar Yellow. Seats were Pastel Slate Gray cloth. A leather wrapped Satin Silver spoked steering wheel, six-way power driver's seat, side airbags, remote keyless entry, Sentry Key engine immobilizer, speed sensitive power door locks, and AM/FM six-disc CD changer radio were included. It has been reported on the Internet that there were 1,443 of these cars built for North America, and that the cars built for world markets were available in black as well as yellow, but we have not verified either of these statements. Photo-1, Photo-2.
2007 Street Cruiser Pacific Coast Highway Edition - Named after the Pacific Coast Highway that features some spectacular Pacific Ocean views, is one of the longest highways in America, This edition, based on the Touring model, was painted Ocean Blue. Bright accents included chrome grille, door handles, body-side moldings, and bright exhaust tip. Special badging was on the lift-gate and front doors. Wheels were 17-inch platinum clad 15-spoke models. The interior was Slate Gray/Pastel Slate Gray, with Medium Slate Gray cloth seats with Ocean Blue inserts. Driver seat was six-way power. The instrument cluster featured a Satin Silver cluster bezel with an Ocean Blue overlay. A leather-wrapped steering wheel with Satin Silver accented spokes, and various bright-work interior accents were included. The AM/FM/CD/MP3 radio was complimented with SIRIUS satellite radio. The car also included the usual list of power and comfort equipment included on the Special Editions, including remote keyless entry and Sentry Key engine immobilizer. Power was the 150hp standard engine available with either the five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. MSRP was $21,570 with the automatic transaxle. Photo-1, Photo-2, Photo-3, Photo-4.
2008 Street Cruiser Sunset Boulevard Edition - Based on the PT Cruiser LX, this Edition was powered by the 150 hp engine, and available with either a five-speed manual transaxle or a four-speed automatic. Additional standard equipment included power windows with auto-down function on both front windows, AM/FM stereo with single-disc CD player, MP3 play capability and auxiliary audio input jack, compass and temperature display, power accessory delay, rear-window wiper/washer, manually adjustable front seats, front dome lamp, cargo compartment lamp, four premium speakers, 12-volt center instrument panel power outlet and a tilt steering column. Standard exterior equipment includes body-color front and rear fascias, Chrysler winged badge on the hood and lift-gate, bright door handles, halogen quad headlamps and a body-color strip spoiler on the lift-gate. Power rack-and-pinion steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes and Tire Pressure Monitoring System also were standard. The interior featured fabric covered Pastel Pebble Beige sport contour buc ket seats. This vehicle also included front-seat-mounted side air bags, enhanced accident response system, new advanced driver and front-passenger multi-stage front air bags with the Occupant Classification system, Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) child-seat anchor system, brake/park interlock, lap and shoulder seat belts in all positions, rear door child protection locks, remote keyless entry with illuminated entry, Sentry Key engine immobilizer and speed-sensitive power locks. Available options included air conditioning, anti-lock four-wheel disc brakes, low-speed traction control, engine block heater, SIRIUS satellite radio, and Sound Group I (which included SIRIUS satellite radio and 368-watt Boston Acoustics audio Group with six speakers and subwoofer). The Chrysler PT Cruiser Sunset Boulevard Edition was painted "Sunset Crystal" and had bright chrome accents. Additional special equipment included 16-inch chrome-clad nine-spoke wheels with all-season touring tires, a power moon roof and deep-tint sunscreen glass. Bright-work accents included chrome body-side moldings and chrome lock knobs. A unique "Street Cruiser" badge, complete with Sunset Crystal accents, was featured on the rear lift-gate and complemented by "Sunset Boulevard" Edition badges. Unique interior features included bright sill scuff pads, bright accent ring cup holders and chrome PRNDL bezel on vehicles equipped with an automatic transaxle. Cluster bezels and the passenger air bag door were Sunset Crystal to match the exterior body color. This model was limited to 500 production units. Photo-1, Photo-2, Photo-3, Photo-4, Photo-5, Photo-6, Photo-7, Photo-8.
2009 Dream Cruiser 5th Edition (DCS5) - Announced in late summer 2008, this edition had a Black Crystal Pearl painted roof and upper body over a Midnight White Pearl painted lower body. The upper and lower grilles were unique as they were milled from billet aluminum. The car was equipped with 17-inch wheels and body chrome accents, special door badging, fog lamps, DCS5 tailgate badge, leather wrapped steering wheel with bright silver accents, premium floor mats, power door locks, remote keyless entry, ABS four-wheel disc brakes and traction control. The interior had black colored seat fabric with silver accents. Other equipment included power windows, AM/FM/CD/MP3, SIRIUS satellite radio, cruise control and A/C. The air vents and gauges had chrome rings. Other available options included a 368 watt Boston AcousticsÃ‚Â® sound system and power sunroof. Two engine choices were available; the standard 150hp version or the 180hp turbocharged version. Chrysler said it would build only 1,750 units. Photo-1, Photo-2, Photo-3, Photo-4.
2010 Couture Edition - A mid-year addition, this was an option package ($1,000). It featured two-toned paint of Bright Silver Metallic below the beltline and Brilliant Black above and 16-inch polished aluminum wheels. On the black next to the beltline was a red pinstripe. The dash bezels were black. The leather-trimmed seat color choices were Dark Slate Gray or Radar Red. Other items were a black shift knob, embroidered front floor mats, heated front seats, fold-flat front passenger seat and 6-way power drivers seat. Its interesting that given Chrysler's financial condition in 2010, and the planned cessation of PT production in 2010, that they would create anything special. It is reported that production was limited to 500 units. Perhaps there were still some true PT fans within Chrysler at that late date. Photo-1, Photo-2.
Midnight Edition. We've found no documentation of this special edition thus far, but this writer knows it exists. I saw it in the dealer's showroom when new and now see it regularly on the street as the owner appears to drive a commuting route similar to mine. It is black in color. It is a Limited with turbo. I think it has some special interior colors. It has "Midnight Edition" badging on the rear and front doors. I know it has a two piece smoked moonroof. I don't believe the back half opens but it does extend well into the rear passenger compartment. The front half of the window roof window opens. I do not know the year for sure but I believe it is a 2008 model. I'm always searching for information on it but it must have been a very limited production model.
DESIGN and DEVELOPMENT - The PT Cruiser was designed to be marketed worldwide, and therefore, had differences based on the Countries they were marketed to. For this discussion we will only discuss the PT Cruiser as marketed in North America.
Various accounts have been voiced as to the design origins of the PT Cruiser. One of the most plausible is that is was developed from the 1997 Plymouth Pronto ( Photo-1, Photo-2 ), concept car. Some have theorized that it was based on mechanicals from the Plymouth Neon. This idea has been denied by Chrysler. While some manufacturing processes were common to both, they were quite different vehicles. The Pronto design was further modified in to the Pronto Cruiser concept car designed by lead designer Bryan Nesbitt. ( Photo-1, Photo-2, Photo-3 ). It seems a shame some of the details of this concept car, such as the low ground clearance, more fully integrated roll pans, the two-doors, did not survive. It would have made for a really cool car, but realistically, would not have been a big seller for practical reasons. The concept was refined numerous times until the final production design was developed.
There has been conjecture as to why the PT ultimately carried the Chrysler, rather than the Plymouth brand. The most plausible reason is that by the time PT production was authorized, the decision had already made to drop the Plymouth brand from Chrysler Corporation's product line. Also perhaps to get a smaller car on to the Chrysler Dealer lots.
Some key elements of the Pronto that became an important part of the PT were a high roofline, forward windshield position, and a minimal front and rear overhang. This design also raised the roof to the rear; the resulting roof slant along with a high beltline gave the PT a "hot rod" posture. These features were significant contributors to the PT's very spacious interior, even more so for a vehicle with its small outer dimensions. The seats were built to position the occupants higher off the floor for easier entry and exit. The rear seats were positioned even higher using a concept called theater seating that allowed rear seat occupants better forward visibility. Interior space was a key requirement in the PT's design. A not-commonly used type of rear suspension was used specifically to increase the available interior space between the rear wheels.
The rear seat backs formed the barrier between the trunk and cabin. The rear seat backs fold flat, both rear seats will tumble forward, or can be removed completely making a continuous space from the front seat backs to the trunk lid. On certain models, the front passenger seat back will fold flat extending the space to the dashboard, nearly eight feet. Considering the possible configurations of the seats, some 25 configurations in all, it gave owners the ability to transform a five-passenger vehicle into a light truck. In fact, the official NHTSA classification for the PT was a light-duty truck. The doors were made to open wider than comparable cars making vehicle entry/exit, and rear seat removal easier.
Cruisers for North American markets were manufactured at Toluca, Mexico. This modern factory was already producing the Chrysler Sebring Convertible, and Dodge Stratus sedans. The problem was the Cruiser production had to be done in addition to these cars on the same assembly lines. The plan was to increase PT production as production of the other cars declined. Targeted full production was 180,000 PT's annually. The Toluca plant implemented procedures to ensure the quality of the PT. Some of the techniques were measuring body dimensional accuracy of eight production bodies daily at 2000 points; additional welding robots, ultrasonic weld and sealing audits daily; body, paint, and assembly audits daily; full electrical and mechanical audits; full water test; and100% road tests on the proving grounds.
For North America, the engine was a 150 horsepower 2.4 liter DOHC 4-cylinder, 16-valve engine, also used in the Chrysler Cirrus, Dodge Stratus, and Plymouth Breeze. The engine's peak torque was reached at 4000 RPM. Transaxle choices were a five-speed manual, or four-speed automatic as both had also been used in other Chrysler Corporation vehicles. The engine used sequential multi-port electronic fuel injection and counter-rotating balancing shafts. It met the Ultra-Low Vehicle Emission standards in force in several States. Over the life of the PT, four engines were used, depending on the model. Always the base level engine was the 150hp non-turbocharged engine delivering 165 foot pounds of torque at 4,000 RPM. Next was the 215hp turbocharged engine used on the 2003 GT. Horsepower for the GT was subsequently boosted to 220hp for 2004, and to 230hp in 2006. Introduced for 2004 was the 180 horsepower turbocharged engine, producing 210 foot pounds of torque beginning at 2800 RPM holding steady to 4000 RPM. The 220 horsepower High-Output turbocharged engine introduced in the 2004 GT, produced 245 foot pounds of torque at 2400-4500 RPM The 230 horsepower High-Output turbocharged engine, introduced in 2006, produced 245 foot pounds of torque from 2400-4500 RPM, but for 2007 was listed at 245 foot pounds from 2800-4500 RPM.
This section contains info on other concept models developed by Chrysler, but to our knowledge, never produced for sale. It's too bad some of these were not produced as some were really cool and we think would have sold well.
CALIFORNIA CRUISER: This concept was designed as an all-around versatile vehicle with two large doors, an innovative rear hatch and multi-functional interior. The Chrysler California Cruiser was intended to amplify what owners love about their PT Cruiser. The concept had ample space for four people and their travel needs, yet could be transformed into a hotel room for two. The car was shown at auto shows, including August 2002 at the Pebble Beach Concours Elegance. We really think this model would have sold well, especially in California, as it hearkened back to the various "surf" wagons from the 60's. Photo-1, Photo-2, Photo-3, Photo-4, Photo-5, Photo-6, Photo-7, Photo-8, Photo-9.
GT CONCEPT - This one may or may not belong in this section, as the GT Cruiser was actually produced beginning in 2003 as the PT Cruiser GT, and beginning for the 2004 model year, was added to the line as the top trim level. However, it did not include some of the cool styling this concept model showed, such as the fully integrated front and rear fascias, shortened front grille, flared fender wells and dual pipes. Photo-1, Photo-2.
COLLECTABILITY - Will the PT become a Collector car as time passes? No one knows for sure of course, but there are reasons to believe it is possible. One - the PT from it's very beginning developed a loyal fan base that has grown and continues today. Two - The aftermarket industry has well supported the PT with a vast array of items to specialize your PT, from some simple decorations to major customizing, inside an out. Three - again, the aftermarket has provided many performance options for the PT. Four - it has always been a unique car and historically, that can be a significant factor in making a future Collector car. Five - the significant base of loyal fans, most of whom belong to PT Cruiser Clubs such as ours. If the PT should become collectable, as with all collectible cars, certain models will be more collectable than others. If we may speculate, we think something like as follows will be the general factors. As with all cars, the options each particular car is equipped with, and its condition, will affect its desirability as compared to an otherwise equal model.
First - we think the 2001-2005 models will be more desirable than 2006 and after. The reason is the revised look of the PT beginning in 2006, that was not well received by PT fans, and we feel diminished much of the "panache" that the original design gave the car. Also, there is no doubt much of the reason for the 2006 redesign was to cut cost and that cost cutting is reflected in the 2006 and later cars. However, a factor to consider is there are less of the 2006 and later models available due to declining sales volume each year. But also keep in mind, as each year passes the available pool of the older models will shrink making fewer available and therefore more collectable.
Second - we think the higher trim levels, Touring, Limited and GT, will be more collectable than the Base models because that has been the historical pattern for collectable cars and there are less of the higher trim levels available because fewer were sold.
Third - we think the convertibles and special models will be the more collectable, again because of fewer sold. The convertibles were only produced in 2005-2008 models, and only for a few months of the 2008 model. We believe the 2007 and 2008 convertibles would be quite limited in quantity. The 2006/2007 GT convertibles would be the most rare for those years. The special models, Dream Cruisers and the Street and Signature Series, had unique models each year and were produced in very limited quantities. Also, certain of these special models were very nicely equipped making them equivalent to the higher trim levels.
Fourth - we think the turbo models will be more collectable due to better performance, due to fewer available and historically, the more powerful model cars are the more collectable. The 2003 GT will be very desirable because it was the first turbo PT, and it had high horsepower compared to the standard engine. All GT's will be more desirable because of the higher powered turbos, the trim level, and again, fewer cars available. The big turbo was only produced for 2003-2007, available only in the GT and certain special models.
How would we rank the models for desirability? We show our speculation ranking below, with reasons, but remember, it is only speculation. It will be interesting to see how the actual history compares as it develops.
1st - 2005 Dream Cruiser 4 - The only convertible Dream Cruiser, 220hp turbo, unique colors, inside, outside and top, well equipped, limited run of 1,700 cars.
2nd - 2005 GT convertible - First convertible, only year of convertible in the "classic" PT body, 220hp turbo, fewer produced.
3rd - 2004 Dream Cruiser 3 - Special two-tone paint, 220hp turbo, only model with factory dual-pipes, limited run of 1,300 cars.
4th - 2003 GT - Original turbo, 215hp, fewer purchased.
5th - 2006-2007 GT convertible - Convertible, 230hp turbo, fewer purchased each year as sales volume declined.
6th - 2002 and 2003 Dream Cruisers 1 and 2 - First special models, special paint and interiors, well equipped, limited runs of 7,500 cars.
7th - 2005 180hp turbo convertible - "Classic" body, convertible, turbo, fewer purchased.lign="center" style="text-align: left">
9th - 2009 Dream Cruiser 5 - Because it is likely the final Dream Cruiser, special grille and paint scheme, limited run of 1,750 cars.
10th - 2004-2005 180hp sedan - "Classic" body, turbo, Touring and Limited trim levels, fewer purchased.
11th - 2006-2009 180hp sedan - Turbo, Touring and Limited trim levels, fewer purchased.
13th - Street Cruisers - Special models but most not turbo, limited runs.
14th - Signature Series - Really nothing special about these, mostly some stick-on badging and selected equipment, limited runs.
15th - Any "Woody" trimmed models - Historically, vinyl woody appliquÃƒÂ©s often actually devalue the vehicle, very condition dependant.
16th - All base model sedans - The most common models, the most sales volume.
When will the various models become collectable? We have no crystal ball but historically, this has occurred when a particular model becomes not readily available in the market at large, and has some demand. It seems almost as if there comes a moment when a car will transition, in the public's perception, from just a used car to something more desirable. Also remember, each model will reach a point which will be the best point of age, mileage, condition, and price. This is the point at which you can still find a particular model in the marketplace, which does not need extensive and expensive repairs. Beyond that point an available car is not a good buy as it will take too much money to make the car right. The exception to that statement is of course, when a certain model is rarely available no matter the condition, and its the model you want. You may buy the car for a low price but expect to spend major money to make the car right. That is a personal choice one has to make at that moment. We suggest a better approach is to follow the market closely and try to buy your car at that point that is the proper balance between purchase price and condition. As of this writing in mid-2010, we feel that any pre-2006 model is at, or perhaps past, that buy-in point. For example, for a 2005 model, 75,000 miles would be considered normal mileage. Most cars you find will have even greater mileage on them. If not already done, you can expect numerous significant repairs need be performed. For a 2001 model, 130,000 miles would be considered normal. The condition of each car is totally dependent on how it has been taken care of and the sad fact is that most folks in the public at large do not take good care of their cars. I would sum up that if you are considering a particular model to collect, the sooner you find it and buy it, the more units will be available to choose from and the condition will be better. The more selective your choice, the less available it will be.
For example, I particularly wanted a 2005 GT red convertible with the Taupe interior. In nine months of watching the local and greater Northwest market, I found one and it was sold by the time I found it. In that same period I found no other GT convertibles in the local market, but in 2009 found two, two hundred miles away but neither was red. They both had been purchased at auction in Portland and were Chrysler lease returns. The black one had only 26,000 miles but needed significant detailing. The other was Graphite Metallic with 39,000 miles. Both were low mileage for their age. I bought the Graphite one because I don't want a back car. It was in excellent condition needing only some minor cleaning. I considered a rare find.
In April 2010 I found my red GT. It came from a California auction. I bought it for a good price but have had to invest considerable money in repairs to make it right. It had 73,000 miles on it but as is typical with this many miles, some repairs and maintenance had not been done as they should have been. I now have more money invested in the car than it is worth in the market. Do I feel bad about that fact? No. As I noted above, it took me nearly two years to find my red GT with the Taupe interior, which tells me they are already rare. That is the moment one has to make that personal decision; do I just want a car or do I want something particularly special to me? If you want something special, you better grab it when you can, but expect to pay the costs to make the car right. I periodically check the market as a curiosity to see what is available at what price.
In April 2011 I found a Gold Linen 2005 GT convertible via the Internet, located 200 miles away. It looked good in the photos but has 114,000 miles. The used auto market says a six year old car should have 72,000-90,000 miles on it, so 114,000 is an over mileage vehicle. I believe, however, this is typical of what you will find in the market and the problem will only get worse with each passing year. Any car with 114,000 miles will need numerous mechanical repairs if they have not already been done, and unless the car has had very good care, will need significant repairs and cleaning to the interior. As each year passes, the available pool of desirable Cruisers diminishes and those available will need more money and work invested. At some point the vehicle conditions will dictate a restoration rather than repairs.