The world has fallen out of love with the Chrysler PT Cruiser, the small truck (legally speaking, it was a truck by American government definition) that started with off-the-shelf Neon chassis components and added a retro-looking roomy body. In its heyday, though, the PT Cruiser looked cool and different, and sold very well for the better part of its 2000-2010 production run. Chrysler sold some special-edition PT Cruisers, most of which seem to have disappeared without a trace, but I managed to catch this discarded ’06 Route 66 Edition in a self-service wrecking yard in Charlotte, North Carolina.
PT Cruisers with manual transmission are surprisingly easy to find in junkyards (the manual was significantly cheaper than the automatic), but this is a luxurious two-pedal version.
This one had already been hit hard by parts shoppers, who took most of the front body components and a big chunk of the interior. Note the kicky yellow dash trim.
The PT Cruiser, being classified as a truck, didn’t have to pass the stricter emission-control and crash standards the US federal government applies to cars. That made it a good bargain when it came to capacity-per-dollar for buyers.
Eventually, though, the American public tired of the onslaught of faux-retro-styled PT Cruisers (and Chevy HHRs and Volkswagen New Beetles), and now the resulting low resale value of used PT Cruisers sends them to the wrecking yards in record numbers.