Curbside Outtake: PT Cruiser – Woody And Conti Edition

PT Cruisers are one of the more polarizing vehicles—folks either love them or hate them. How about both, at the same time?

Yes, I have conflicted feelings about them, especially so when they’re sporting fake wood and a continental spare. Those are not generally accoutrements that I favor, but in the case of this PT Cruiser, I can feel my ironic and absurdist sides kicking in. I mean, if you’re going to have a PT, it might as well be a bit over the top, right?

The PT cruiser rather sucked me in when it first arrived. Obviously, the packaging was a huge factor, given what a nerd I am about tall and practical vehicles. The PT exposed a whole lot of folks to the benefit of not having to fold themselves down into a low car, as well as the obvious orthopedic benefits of sitting upright with the feet not stretched out ahead. And a genuinely usable rear seat in a very compact car.

And its retro styling grabbed me a bit too, because it was better than average. Not aping any specific car was undoubtedly a boon that way; anytime a retro sequel to a prior car is attempted, it almost invariably fails, at least for me. Did not like the New Beetle, and the Newer Beetle. Hated the neo T-bird.  Absolutely adore the Nissan Pao, which does not imitate any specific car.

The PT Cruiser pulled it off reasonably well, even if it did get old because of over-exposure. It was simply too popular for its own good. You see the same gimmick 43 times per day, and soon you’re hating on it. That’s what happened to me with it during its heyday.

But as they’re steadily disappearing, heading off to sit in rows in the junkyards of America, it’s allowing me to appreciate the enduring quality of its proportions and design. This was a good one. The Chevy HHR, not. Loathed that desperate attempt to imitate the PT Cruiser.

And the “wood” is working for me, if I rid myself of any preexisting bias. Which isn’t always easy. But I did it when Stephanie and I saw this a few months back, and I’m doing it now, so it wasn’t just a fluke then. It…works.

I may need a wee bit more time back here; I’ll get back to you in ten minutes. Or so.