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PT Cruisers - share the good and bad


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Following the chat on here about Cruisers, I thought I'd start a thread. I borrowed one from a mate for a few days in 2005. His was a Y plate, so 2001ish I guess. Apart from a squeaky pulley somewhere, it was actually ok to drive. Bright, spacious and pleasant enough cabin. The petrol lump seemed lively enough and it wasn't too bad on fuel. To this day, I don't dislike them. The shape of them is a refreshing change. I drove a base-spec Skoda Labia around the same time and it was a steaming pile of shite in every way in contrast to the Cruiser. 

I saw this yesterday in the local B&Q car park. I'm happy to admit it's gopping. 

In stark contrast, I spotted this van conversion on the blue years ago, liked it then and still like it now. The shape works really well as a signwritten van with a decent,original looking paintjob. I'd lose the red paint on the wheels, but the rest just works. 

Feel free to share the love (or not). 

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Yes it does. 

And it so looks like it has a live axle rear-end and Chrysler’s 3.3litre pushrod V6 / 3 speed Torqueflite.

Which would have made a much shiter car.

Tragic that most of them are M*rc*d*s Diesel powered. (Transverse four cylinder) 🤮

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There was a convertible. Looks horrible.

They're not joyous to work on, the gearchange is awful, they're underpowered and under-cylindered. The interior is a bit meh. The steering lock is hilariously poor. The suspension is pretty awful. 

But I think I still like them overall. Wouldn't own one mind you.

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We have one at the college for the students to use. It’s shit. 2.0 pez so slow as a week on remand.

cramped inside , poor quality switches and fixtures. It’s awkward to work on too. Gear linkage is crap and I’ve had VW buses. Wouldn’t.

might turn it into a van though. Be an interesting project but don’t want to drive it when done. 

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We had a red one (petrol, manual) from early 2005 to March 2006 when we traded it in for a brand new Suzuki.  I liked the PT, as did MrsR, but because of the shape she found it hard to park.  She's not as tall, slim and elegant as I am (or used to be, lol).  I would definitely do it again now they're at Shite prices, but I would want a petrol automatic.  I'd love to have one with the Voyager V6!

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Red - aka Inferno Pearl - is absolutely the right colour for them too.  Whoever approved issuing them in black or silver, his grandparents should have been drowned at birth.

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Mrs 83C had a brace of them, an early 2.4 petrol ‘Limited’ with all the bells and whistles which was comfy and drove ok, and a later 2.2 diesel which was ok on fuel.

Pros - as a family car not bad at all. Fairly well thought out, plenty of space. Different - not some bland euro box, which is always good. 

Cons - Chrysler never did a fast one, nor a really economical one. I’d buy a properly fast PTSD Cruiser just for laughs. The interior - childproof but has all the tactile qualities of a melted welly. Switchgear is ‘meh’. Steering has little in the way of feel, and I’ve driven better manual gearboxes in buses and coaches. 

Cons (special additional section) - some of the owners. Magpie owners who really will stick any old random chrome shite onto their car, pretending it’s some ubercool custom hotrod straight from California. Seriously, you’re commuting on the A38 in Birmingham, not driving Highway One through Big Sur. Just stop it. And who can forget this ‘gem’ of a modification?

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Yes, the airbag claymore.

Overall though I do quite like them, mainly because they’re not some boring bland as shit box on wheels (even if they nick all the running gear from boring shite), and I’m glad I experienced a couple of them. I’d even run one as a snotter.

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1 hour ago, dollywobbler said:

There was a convertible. Looks horrible.

They're not joyous to work on, the gearchange is awful, they're underpowered and under-cylindered. The interior is a bit meh. The steering lock is hilariously poor. The suspension is pretty awful. 

But I think I still like them overall. Wouldn't own one mind you.

The one you had was the dark interior, which as far as i can see, is far nicer and higher quality than the light (maybe earlier model?) interior.

I sat in an earlier one and it's comfortably the worst thing i think i've ever sat in. It would be an insult to every wheelie bin manufacturer in the world if i compared it to a bin. Everything was hard, scratchy and thin to the point that if the plastic they used was 1mm thicker, it'd still be 2mm too thin.

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They're an oddball. Almost all "retro" cars look like an older model from that manufacturer, Beetle, Mini, Fiat 500, Charger, Mustang etc. But the Cruiser is just a 40s/50s-ish looking thing that doesn't evoke memories of anything in particular. They do seem to attract the kind of owner that likes to stick cheap crap all over them too.

Not driven any but we used to get them in when I worked for Merc/Chrysler, only car I know of with both CD and cassette capability in the radio

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I have other pics including another van conversion (which I like) but I can't find them

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For 2 weeks in July 2009 I had a rental one, from Chicago airport. 

Drove to Dayton for a wedding with my wife and kids. 

It was cream. Had a big petrol engine  but a mirror finish on the dash, which made the sun blindingly dangerous. 

On the way to Manchester Airport, our 4 suitcases fitted in the boot of a nk3 Astra. We struggled to make them fit in the truck of the shit box. 

The American men I met apologised for this example of American manufacturing, stating that it in no way was an example of what the car industry was capable of. 

The woman thought it was cute. 

 

 

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A few years back my boss bought an 03 diesel for someone else to use on a banger rally,  he was going to use an x300 Jag but became convinced that the Jag was haunted so used the PT Cruiser instead.

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We used it as a general runabout before and after the rally which was a bit embarrassing but a lot of fun.  The 2.2 diesel is reasonably quick and handled better than you'd expect.  Main complaint was the terrible steering lock which we got around by excessive use of the handbrake.  We probably stone chipped quite a few other vehicles in the yard when it was here.

He had it painted satin black which was a big improvement on silver and it ended up doing the rounds on here when it started to get a bit less reliable.

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many years ago, I went to view one, unfortunately it was a shittily shit crash repaired heap and not the 1 careful owner, low mileage love machine promised by the seller, it was so shit I didn't want to risk a test drive for fear of it exploding like a clown car. 

Ended up with a Rover 214 convertible. Lovely until i had a head on with a Volvo estate. 

Volvo 1 - Rover 0 

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11 hours ago, eddyramrod said:

We had a red one (petrol, manual) from early 2005 to March 2006 when we traded it in for a brand new Suzuki.  I liked the PT, as did MrsR, but because of the shape she found it hard to park.  She's not as tall, slim and elegant as I am (or used to be, lol).  I would definitely do it again now they're at Shite prices, but I would want a petrol automatic.  I'd love to have one with the Voyager V6!

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Red - aka Inferno Pearl - is absolutely the right colour for them too.  Whoever approved issuing them in black or silver, his grandparents should have been drowned at birth.

That was the same sort of time I borrowed the PT from my mate. Funnily enough, his was a lovely metallic red which I'll guess was also inferno pearl. 

Looking at the comments above I was starting to question whether my memories were somewhat rose-tinted.  Then I reflected on the rental 2005 Skoda FLABia base model which I had to endure for a couple of days at a similar time. If I'd had the option, I'd have driven the Skoda straight to the local scrappy as soon as I'd finished with it, and then asked to film it as it was being crushed. I'd then have happily driven away in the PT Cruiser.

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Somehow, I have a feeling that only those who never owned it like the car.

I like its looks, but after all I read about the heap, I definitely would not want to own it. Mk1 Multipla, on the other hand...

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I think that @doobietoo is the resident expert on them - he has at least 2, one of which I drove for a bit at a Solent Shiters Auction visit several years back. I didn't have to make any 3 point turns so couldn't comment on the steering lock, but it seemed OK. It had a misfire below 3000rpm which was down to knackered spark plugs (apparently at least one, and possibly all 4 are bastards to change on the 2.0 petrol?) and was later remedied. 

I was caught out by needing to depress the clutch pedal to start the engine, and have memories of a eye-searingly bright digital clock which looks really out of place.

Apparently they have a really active 'scene' - there is at least 2 owners clubs around here for them specifically, and they seem to be allowed in to play with the american car clubs too, so you mix with cars like Eddy's Cadillac and things.

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I always liked the look of them - they just stood out. 

I'm glad I got a go on one, a 2.2 CRD Limited which had everything, even a sunroof which was an expensive option. Got it from Tom, formerly of this parish, for £300 I think. Ran it for a year, but when I got the Rover 620 it had to go (in those days it was one in, one out....halcyon days).

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Bags of room (I ran mine with the back seats folded up most of the time - very handy for tip runs), comfortable, good seating position, plenty of poke (Tom was sure this one had been re-mapped - it certainly flew along). 

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Yes it had the turning circle of the QE2, the gear lever was like using a piece of spaghetti and it was often pot luck which gear you got, but overall it was a good old thing.

I roffled it off on here, Billy won it then promptly offloaded it to Northern Monkey, whose missus got about 5 centimetres worth of driving out of it before the clutch gave out (absolutely no hint of this in my ownership, and I still feel pangs of guilt to this day). Pretty sure it got binned after that.

Box ticked. Will I have another ? Probably not.

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12 hours ago, catsinthewelder said:

A few years back my boss bought an 03 diesel for someone else to use on a banger rally,  he was going to use an x300 Jag but became convinced that the Jag was haunted so used the PT Cruiser instead.

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We used it as a general runabout before and after the rally which was a bit embarrassing but a lot of fun.  The 2.2 diesel is reasonably quick and handled better than you'd expect.  Main complaint was the terrible steering lock which we got around by excessive use of the handbrake.  We probably stone chipped quite a few other vehicles in the yard when it was here.

He had it painted satin black which was a big improvement on silver and it ended up doing the rounds on here when it started to get a bit less reliable.

Fuck yeah, I forgot it was used on that rally, Rich - thanks for the reminder !

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22 hours ago, Eyersey1234 said:

Must admit I quite like them. Ted Connolly (who wrote for Car Mechanics Magazine) had 3 in a row at one time 

I wouldn't be surprised if Dollywobblers current PT cruiser is ex Ted Connolly. Think there's a Kelsey connection there. 

Always enjoyed Ted's column (even if he did like his PT cruisers!)

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We had two. They honestly made for half decent family cars and I know my folks would love a cabriolet version in the future!

First one was a black 55 plate 2.4 Touring auto, bought in 2013 by my mother for about £1900 iirc as a replacement for the Corsa I got given when I passed my test about 3 weeks prior - my first time on the motorway was on the way to look at it, given how terrified she usually is in the passenger seat, that was a bit of a baptism of fire. Stayed standard at first but slowly got modified with lashings of chrome and some chrome vinyl decals as they got involved with the owners club and went to shows with it. I believe at one point it won an award for best decals or similar.  Surprisingly spacious, we managed to move a sofa to my student digs in it (albeit with creative use of an Ethernet cable to tie the boot shut!). Cambelt went on it when they were on holiday in Suffolk and recovering it back to Notts was entertaining - fortunately the 2.4 is a non-interference engine and it was soon back on its way. We got rid of it some time in 2017/2018 when it failed the MOT spectacularly, the entire passenger side sill was made of fresh air and it wasn't worth us repairing.

Second was a black 53 plate 2.0 Classic manual although someone had put the Limited chrome alloys on it. Bought from a local car dealer in 2015 I think, after the first one to replace the same Corsa, which my dad was using after changing to a job without a company car. This one stayed standard. I don't remember the ins and outs but we did end up replacing the ECU after it started playing up and at the same time managed to run it out of petrol. It got parked up after dad got a cheap Juke deal through work and was sold in 2018, I believe I've told the saga on here before about how it spectacularly failed the MOT for the people who bought it and got a no tax fine within 24 hours of purchase.

Of course, having 2 black PTs does lead to the usual comments about us looking like we owned a fleet of taxis or hearses, but most people who got in them liked them. I know a lot of the modded ones get some stick but through events I went to with the owners club there were a lot that were done tastefully. I'd agree about the comments around owners clubs, the one my folks were part of seemed very welcoming - we took part in a funeral procession for one of the members and they had PTs from across the country show up to that. There's one I remember very well from that day, in that nice purple they came in, very few mods apart from whitewalls, chrome hubcaps and I think matching purple steelies. If I could pick my ideal spec it would be a Limited or a GT in that colour.

I nearly bought one to replace the Corsa in 2014, but the one I test drove had issues that resulted in it locking itself parked in front of the forecourt with the engine running, I didn't like the manual box and didn't fancy changing to an auto. I didn't drive them much save for shunting cars around on the drive, but when I did, I found them very comfortable, it was like driving around in a big armchair, although the turning circle wasn't great. My dad used to say if you aim for a parking space you'll end up parked perfectly... in the one next to that one! If one came up for a few hundred quid near me, I'd honestly think about it, but from what I can tell, prices for decent examples are on the up.

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I like that they tried to make something a bit different, I don't like how it turned out... the standard one to me is just ugly

I remember walking past a convertible one every day for a week when I was in Tuscany for my cousin's wedding though, always parked up roof down, looked a lot better than the hard top version

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