Let’s face it, the Chrysler PT Cruiser was never a thing of joy and beauty from the outset. Spawned off the Dodge Neon platform, it was curious mishmash of retro cues designed to make it resemble a chariot from the Forties. It was basically an opportunistic attempt to cash in on the retro mania that made VW’s New Beetle such a hit… at least in the early days.
Another curious fact about the car is that its PT moniker was actually shorthand for “Plymouth Truck”, as that’s what it was originally intended to be marketed as. The company later opted to brand it as a Chrysler (as the Plymouth badge had been killed off by then), yet the name still stuck, with its makers now claiming PT stood for “Personal Transport”.
Despite being a dynamically average car (and that’s being extremely generous), the PT Cruiser still found favour via its offbeat styling and nostalgia factor, and this meant Chrysler was able to flog 1.35 million of them by the time production ended in 2010.
But undoubtedly the worst atrocity inflicted on hapless buyers was the PT Cruiser Convertible, which was an attempt to further bolster the vehicle’s sales figures by lopping the roof off. It probably wouldn’t have been such a mediocre offering if the execution had been sound, but unfortunately it wasn’t.
Removing the roof meant the already modest structural rigidity of the donor car was further diminished, so Chrysler had to add an unsightly roll hoop over the passenger cell to stiffen the thing up. The PR boffins claimed the roll bar helped airflow over the back seats, but it looked plain ugly and got in the way when getting in and out of the back seats.
It’s hardly a surprise the PT Cruiser Convertible didn’t set the sales charts on fire, and it was canned after a production run of just two years.
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