I lost interest when I found out how much trouble it would be to change a water pump. Was fun to0 drive but a bear to work on the motor.
We have had three in the family and one still with a 160,000 miles.Unfortunately family grew and that was the only reason for parting with the other two. The last one in the family will stay indefinitely. The five speed is a blast to drive and they handle well and if you have to haul they hold a Iot. I like how chrysler steps out of the boring camry box. It’s something few car companies dare to do these days. Other than maybe a challenger I have not seen another car that interests me since the Pt Cruiser. It was well thought out but as time went on they never changed to a more efficient drivetrain which should have been done over time. The other thing that plagued them was people making them a rolling circus with so much crap and pictures all over the car which really made them hard to take serious. Personalize it sure but have some taste and self control. They are still a great and fun car that is a great reminiscent shape of the past but way more comfortable than cars of the era it brings back. I also believe most if not all cars these days will last if maintained but so many people dont and blame the car. Hopefully a few survive and make it to shows and clubs hang in their. After all if the Pacer, vega, pinto can make a come back well why not the PT?
IMHO, all retro stinks. I hate all of them. Never thought a gearhead would buy one. Rode in a PT Cruiser rental once in Denver, ride at 45MPH scared me so much, I drove every day the rest of the week in a rental Grand Prix.
That seems a bit harsh. The Aztec is not the prettiest thing around, but the designers probably didn’t make the choice of what to send to production.
Daveno, absolutely correct!! Hands down the Pacer. End of discussion.
We bought a new Platinum Limited “turbo lite” in 2004. My wife really liked the look, and I liked the utility of it. We test drove three PT’s, the base model, the Platinum, then the GT. The performance of the base model was unimpressive, even to my wife. The GT, which had more than enough power to have fun, was hard to control in traffic if you mashed the throttle to move out of the way. The steering wheel would rip from my wife’s hands. I didn’t enjoy it either. Then came the Platinum, with it’s modest turbo upgrade with controllable boost, and we had a winner. The luxury of it pleased my wife, and it had all the bling she wanted. I enjoyed driving it, using the turbo for a more than occasional thrill for us. Once I learned about the lack of quality of the Mexico made components, I replaced the plug wires, brake components, and other items with high quality aftermarket stuff. I also removed the silencer in the I air cleaner so as to enjoy hearing the turbo spooling. The car was serviced in 3000 mile intervals rather than 5000 miles that was recommended.
In 2010, I was in a crippling motorcycle wreck with a negligent and runaway driver, and could no longer maintain the PT myself. While it was very reliable for us, I had to consistently replace bad cam sensors from every source. Nothing is more frustrating than driving 300 miles home in the middle of the night in limp-home mode which, if driven correctly, allowed maybe 45-50 mph on a 75mph highway. I must’ve replaced a dozen of them. I wised up enough after the second to keep a spare in the car so I can replace it on the side of the road. Why couldn’t we have better made electronics? Then at about the ten year mark, many components under the car began failing. Working from a wheelchair had its limitations, so big auto repairs had to be farmed out. When the water pump failed, I had to pay good money for someone else’s labor, which was discouraging. At the end, with the reliability declining at a rapid pace, we decided to sell it rather than continue paying someone to fix it. The engine & transmission were still in great condition, as was the interior and paint. It’s just that all the expendable and plastic-made components could go no further.
After driving the car for 10 years, we sold it to a centleman who had been scouring classifieds across the US looking for just that car. He said it was the nicest one he had looked at. It was replaced with a 2014 Audi A4.
I miss the car today and always wished it was more than a ten-year car.
This thing was so bad, that GM “loaned out” 7000 of them for GM Sales people to drive
and get them out on the street, cause they didn’t sell. All we need to say is “Braking Bad”.
Why do you think small-block motor kits are available for Jags?
My Barbara fell in love with the PT and begged me to buy her one. I finally caved in and traded her 1996 Neon for a silver PT Limited in 2003. She loved it and we took it on a few trips – but the MPG was horrible 25 on a trip and 18 around town. After Barbra passed I kept it and used it to haul stuff to my new home, one time I was able to get a 8ft stepladder inside with the passenger seat down. I had a 1993 Lexus LS and 2007 Camry Hybrid for my regular cars and sold them and traded the PT for a 2019 Kia Niro Hybrid and I really miss the folding passenger seat. I think that the PT would be a hot sales vehicle in today’s market place.
ranks right up there with the Pontiac Aztec, the chevy SSR pickup & chevy HHR, AMC Pacer & Gremlin and I could go on and on
I’m trying to forget my PT ownership. In a moment of temporary insanity I purchased a 2003 PT. Gutless, thirsty motor, diabolical electrics, shoddy paintwork and a drivers’ seat which felt more like a dining chair wrapped in cheap voleur. My conscience got the better of me when I was selling it to a prospective buyer. She was super-nice and so I felt compelled to let her know that the car had been personally cursed by Satan. She must’ve been a self-flagellator as bought it anyway.
I’ve owned over 100 cars and this one was the worst.
Good article and some interesting blowback from current and former owners. These are my favorite Hagerty topics.
Besides that, the Aztec would be a Pontiac.
Hasn’t the Nomad always been a Chevy?
I do like the looks of that Nomad concept…
Just bought one to tow behind my motor home. It’s in amazingly good shape and only cost me $2k. I was never a big fan of the retro styling, but had rented PT’s before and always found them to be a very practical car that’s fun to drive in very much the same low hp way the original VW Beetle was.
I just don’t get the earlier post that says it’s uncomfortable. There’s a fair amount of engine noise under acceleration, but comfort is not a factor at all. I think the seating position is great, and the body structure feels very solid.
Yes, these cars have some mechanical problems that gave them a bad reputation, but they’re mostly minor issues to a car geek like me. Cam and oxygen sensors act up, and the lower control arm bushings are only good for about 80k miles. My BMW 335i is the same way on this point, btw. Timing belts need to be replaced around 90k miles, by which time the cost of the job is close to the value of the car, which imho is why so many end up in junk yards.
I have five cars, including the BMW, a Focus ST and two classic cars, but I still get a surprising amount of enjoyment out of my little $2k PT.
After our beloved 2004 PT Cruiser Limited (purchased new) was crushed by a tree in a storm last year, we wanted a replacement. This time we decided to go with a 2005 convertible. The insurance settlement almost paid for the replacement we bought on eBay. The car had some minor problems brought about by incompetent service, which were easily fixed. This one is the GT with the High Output Turbo which is quite nice. It is our favorite car to drive today, 14 years after it was built.