Peter Valdes-Dapena has penned a nice piece examining Chrysler's options for the next PT Cruiser. It's an interesting question, as Valde-Dapena notes, because no retro vehicle has ever been substantially redesigned. Like the recent refreshening of the Volkswagen New Beetle, Chrysler's redo of the PT Cruiser for 2006 amounted to minor visual tinkering. Reportedly, however, Chrysler is looking to have an answer ready for an end of the decade launch.

But what to do? The new Sebring offers a larger frame on which the next PT Cruiser could be built, along with the ability to accept a V6 engine. American tastes, however, are moving away from larger vehicles with less fuel efficient engines, which is one reason the current Cruiser with its fuel-efficient four cylinder is still selling well after six years on the market. Valdes-Dapena also suggests Chrysler could rebadge the similarly sized Dodge Caliber and skin it in a retro theme.

Regardless of what platform the next PT Cruiser employs, the real question is how will Chrysler update a look that's based on distinct visual cues from the past? The article picks the brain of David Zatz, the purveyor of (score one for the web journalists!), who offers the best quote of concern when he says, "Will they attack all the things people pick out as problems and sandpaper off all the edges until there's nothing?" We'll have to wait and see.

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