F I have liked to talk about made fun of him, such a Chrysler PT Cruiser is just not to be taken seriously. A car in the then fashionable retro style, a wannabe hot rod that looks as if it came from a comic. A cute car without any authority. Front-wheel drive, transverse engine and four-cylinder, so technically the complete antithesis to the dull gibbering heroes of the cult film 'American Graffiti' by George Lucas. Women found it chic, just as they like a Range Rover Evoque today. Both, PT Cruiser and Evoque, can even be improved in their questionable aesthetics, as a lifestyle further overused convertible.
The PT Cruiser is at the very back
The PT Cruiser appears in the middle of the phase of oblivion suddenly reappeared in my consciousness: bright red, far back in front of a rusty fence, where the gravel becomes coarser and withered leaves curl in the wind. I am on a long-awaited foray through the car parks of the south, in the glove compartment of my cashmere beige BMW 520i there is an envelope with EUR 317 play money. My dear colleagues collected it for my 60th birthday. I promised that I would use it to fulfill a 'totally extraordinary' wish, namely an unreasonable car. The money remained untouched for two months, now it has to go, 317 euros are not much even for a used car.
I put 83 euros on it, makes 400 euros
So I'll add 83 euros out of my own pocket, for 400 I think there is already something very neat, not completely rusted through, not totally dented and ready to drive. Suddenly the PT Cruiser magically attracts me. It is the fascination of crossing borders that drives me to him. The dark blue Volvo V70 for 450 euros and the silver BMW 525 tds Touring E39 for 590 euros would actually be my preferred candidates, but they are so normal, so functional, so classic, so predictable. Why not the PT Cruiser, which suddenly doesn't seem as bizarre as it used to? It costs only 390 euros with a one-year MOT, has a great color, automatic, chrome-plated aluminum wheels and looks all around passable for its almost 240,000 km because it gnaws much less rust than on a C-Class from 2001. 'Man, you are now 60 ', I say to myself,' you can go overboard, amaze colleagues and friends and make fun of yourself. '
Key? Maintenance booklet? Ready to go?
So take a deep breath, determined to go to Office Container 18 with the envelope in your pocket. My typical litany of questions asked: 'Can I have the key, is the car really ready to drive, is there a maintenance booklet?' Then check the coolant level, check the engine oil and ATF level, start, let it run for a few minutes while standing, maneuver forwards and backwards, look through the on-board folder, everything makes a good impression. 'Bought!' I heard in the container. The dealer looks at me with wide eyes as he pulls the sales contract out of the drawer, while robotically speaking the words: 'Hobbyist car without guarantee, engine control lamp goes on every now and then, drive carefully.'
Unfortunately none Automatic steering wheel
Even on the first 20 kilometers, I feel more free than ever from the burden of all common sense and all conventions. For me, the Chrysler, criticized as oh so uncool, is like a toy that is great fun. I'm sitting high and well behind the big, steep steering wheel, the instrument panel is as playful as a jukebox, except for the tachometer it could have come from a 1940s US pickup. It is sufficient to engage here in the level speed level D and let it run. Unfortunately, the selector lever for the 'Ultradrive' four-speed automatic is, as usual, on the center console instead of on the steering wheel as it was then. Later I will read myself thoroughly into the new subject matter of the PT Cruiser. I learned that 'PT' stands for 'Personal Transportation', but also for 'Plymouth Truck', because it was to come onto the market in 1999 as Plymouth, analogous to the extreme fun mobile Prowler and its perky alligator snout on a light truck or pick-up remind. He is often teased on the Internet as a 'pity cruiser' because he, the technically often fragile, despite the loyal dog eye, gave the owners bad repair bills.
Unofficially, what me do not like to suffer at all, I have a pronounced van allergy. For me, the PT is simply a nostalgic sedan from the 30s or 40s, i.e. before the pontoon era, because of the nicely modeled fenders and the high humpback tail. He breathes the delicate touch of hot rod through the high, uncomfortable rear rigid axle with simulated hi-jackers.
Driving pleasure through illusion
I want more distance, the day is sunny, the sky is blue, the tank now full. I let myself go. Driving in the PT Cruiser is completely unspectacular, technically it has the compliant layout of an Opel Astra or Ford Mondeo. But the lovingly decorated ambience of the touring equipment always encourages a good mood, together with the high seating position, the large, thin steering wheel and my view through the narrow windshield on the long, round bonnet creates the illusion of sitting in a pick-up. On which the bales of straw are stacked behind my back.
The two-liter four-valve engine is good at power with 141 hp, it can turn up to a seemingly utopian 6,500 rpm, but it sounds grumpy. Sometimes it vibrates strangely at partial load, then the engine control lamp glows and it can be heard running on three cylinders. When accelerating harder and over 100 km /h, it behaves perfectly again. It hardly bothered me, the price puts almost everything into perspective. The PT Cruiser kindles exuberance and high spirits in me. On the way, I get sunglasses and a cowboy hat with a big bare sheriff's badge in a cheap department store. Because it is carnival time, it is not so noticeable. I would like to make the day in the PT Cruiser like my personal road movie in the vastness of the sparsely populated southeast Bavaria, it gives me freedom.
Another bargain: cowboy boots for 15 euros
I surf one with him A wave of carelessness and joie de vivre that I would probably never have experienced in the functional, technocratic BMW 525 tds, which is also called Touring. In Landshut I take a break, treat myself to a chicken burger in the old town and catch myself browsing for western boots in a second-hand shop. I even find some from the cult brand Sendra from Spain with nailed soles. They are light brown and rustic leather through and through, they won't fit me, I don't care, I buy them for 15 euros. Because they are worth 50, and they stylishly decorate my new life with the PT Cruiser.
It's hard to believe, even smiled atCars are fun. You should try them out before you gossip about them. Such a PT Cruiser is able to convince completely when I take off my sunglasses, of course, because it lacks perfectionism. However, he has unquestionably charisma that outweighs the impression of the caricature. I will gradually correct its visual and technical defects. The PT Cruiser will probably not become cult that quickly, it is still too deep in the downward spiral. But he has a chance to get out of there. I'm already looking forward to it the next time I press the button on his massive door handle. Because he has one thing ahead of all cheap cars before him: My wife likes it.
Buying advice: What to look out for with the Chrysler PT Cruiser
One thing is clear: a Chrysler PT Cruiser is neither an Audi A4 nor a BMW 520i. No, it is not characterized by their problem-freeness in old age. PT is messing around, even back then he colored the bars of the TÜV report red. The processing of the Mexican by choice from Toluca is not convincing, but the rust prevention was exemplary. Typical defects are electronic problems, rumbling front axles due to defective support joints, a spongy steering feel due to knocked out tie rod ends, high wear of the four disc brakes, problems with ignition coils and striking comfort extras. Engines and transmissions, regardless of whether they are CDI diesel, gasoline or turbo gasoline, switches or automatic systems, are good for high mileage. The spare parts situation is relaxed.