Lowlites, Splitties, Thous and Millions Lowlites, Splitties, Thous and Millions
Lowlites - Splitties - Thou's - Millions

Chrysler PT Cruiser

The New Morris Minor?

OK, I've gone and done it. I succumbed to the lure of practicality, reliability and a 60,000 mile/3 year warranty.

You see, I'm due to be a daddy in a couple of months (June 2001) and poor old 'Bessie', our '67 Minor Convertible, just isn't up to the task of carrying baby seats, pushchairs and dirty nappies. Plus the other mothers at the coffee mornings will smirk. I can see it now. As for 'Moose' the Trav', that's my commuter car. Keep your hands off it!

So, new car time it is. With a sense of impending doom, knowing that we were likely to end up with a Ford Mundane-o, or God forbid, a Fiat Multi-Plaque, we went downtown to look at new-car magazines. Trying to avoid the unpleasantness of new cars I guess, my wife got distracted by the baby and parenting magazines whilst I began my search for a new car by flicking through Street Machine magazine.

And as luck would have it, there, nestled in the pages of Street Machine, was the car we just had to have. I showed the picture to my wife, expecting an answer something along the lines of "Yeah, right - come on be sensible" when to my delight I heard instead "Oh that's AWESOME! Can I have one just like that?!". Notice the use of the word 'I' ...

The Chrysler PT Cruiser has been on the UK market since July 2000. It is sold out until at least July 2001. There's a 7 month waiting list. We bought one 3 days later.

A friend of mine put me on to someone who knows someone who knows a dealer who might have one. It was worth a phone call I suppose. They had a brand new, unregistered, cancelled order, turning up on the truck direct from Chrysler that afternoon. We said "Yes, please". It must have been the easiest sale they've ever made. Our brand new PT Cruiser was delivered on the back of a truck to our house on January 3, 2001.

So, here comes the point of this little story. After much comtemplation, and studying of details, I'm convinced that the reason I like the PT Cruiser so much is that it resembles the Morris Minor so much. Not one particular model of Minor, but elements from all of them.

The Evidence

The Front Wings
The way the headlights are built into the wings and the way the wings curve and blend into the front of the car are just like a Lowlite Minor. The way the bulging curve of the front wing flows back and down into the front doors is so familiar!

The Grill

The Sills
The subtle outward flare of the sills that hints at old-style running boards are a feature of both the PT Cruiser and the Minor.

The Roofline
The roof is long and flat and leads back to a steeply sloped rear end, just like a Minor Traveller.

The Rear Wings
Like the ones at the front, the rear wings are big and round and curvy. Even the tail lights are positioned in the same place.

The Seats
OK, so the rear seats in a Minor don't split 60/40 like they do in the PT Cruiser, but they still fold forward and allow the rear seats to be laid flat providing a huge luggage area. Just like the Cruiser. The versatility of both cars is great.

The Press Reports
The Chrysler dealer gave me a book of photocopied press reports about the PT Cruiser. It seems that I'm not the only one who thinks the Cruiser bears more than a passing resemblence to the Minor.

The Financial Mail on Sunday Motoring section (Aug 20, 2000) says that the PT Cruiser "has the charm of a modern-day Morris Minor Traveller".

The Observer Magazine (July 9, 2000) wonders "whether you love it's retro styling or think it looks like a Morris Minor on steroids".

In a similar vein, The Scotsman (April 21, 2000) also seems to think that the PT either "appears to be a ZZ Top dragster" or "a Morris Minor on steroids".

The Verdict

OK, so the PT Cruiser is a modern thin-tin box, the engine is the wrong way around, and it drives the wrong end of the car. It doesn't leak oil onto the driveway or water onto the driver's knees. I lifted the bonnet once and quickly vowed never to even attempt to change the sparkplugs myself. And It's not even British!

But it is sooooo cool to look at! It stands out from a crowd (only 2500 have been sold so far in the UK, and only another 6500 are due to arrive for 2001). It appeals to all sorts of people, from executives to school kids. It may not have that lovely musty upholstery smell that most Minors do, but give it time. It may just be the 'Minor' of the year 2050.