Junkyard Gem: 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser with 5-speed manual transmission

Believe it or not, some PT Cruiser buyers bought three-pedal version

Junked 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser
Junked 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser / Image Credit: Murilee Martin
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Before we get started on today's Junkyard Gem, let's talk about what I mean by the word "Gem" in this context, because I've been getting a lot of hate mail from readers foaming at the mouth with rage because I dared to refer to such cars as the Pontiac Sunfire or Subaru Tribeca by that name. When I say "Gem" I mean it in the historical sense, not because I think a particular vehicle is a generally superior machine. OK? Now we can talk about a real junkyard rarity: a PT Cruiser with a manual transmission.

Junked 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser

Chrysler sold PT Cruisers in Europe and Japan, where manual transmissions are preferred, and the 5-speed manual was the base transmission in the North American-market PT Cruiser all the way up until the 2009 model year. However, most American and Canadian PT Cruiser buyers proved willing to spend the extra money to get an automatic transmission, because... well, PT Cruiser.

Junked 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser

I found this car in a wrecking yard in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is such a hotbed of amateur racing and restoration of old British and Italian sports cars that perhaps residents have a slightly greater appreciation for three-pedal cars than Americans in general. With 150 horsepower moving 3,123 pounds— essentially a slightly bigger Neon — this car would have been more fun to drive than most minivans.

Junked 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser

Later on, Chrysler dropped Neon SRT4 drivetrains into PT Cruisers, creating the 215-horse GT Turbo PT Cruiser. We think a bustleback body kit would go well with one of those cars.

"Take it easy, Mr. Satan!"

Chrysler PT Cruiser Information

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