Junkyard Find: 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser GT Turbo

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
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junkyard find 2004 chrysler pt cruiser gt turbo

The quantity of Chrysler PT Cruiser s in the high-turnover self-service wrecking yards remained close to zero for the first decade after the car’s 2001 model year debut (while the Cruiser’s Neon cousins showed up in large quantities starting at about age five). For the first few years of our current decade, I’d see a sprinkling of discarded PT Cruisers… and then the floodgates burst in about 2014, with seemingly every U-Wrench-It yard in the country packed wall-to-wall with the things.

I have ignored them, but the minivan version of the SRT4 Neon seemed worth photographing.

Using the same running gear as the 2004 SRT4 Neon, the GT Turbo PT Cruiser packed an impressive 215-horsepower 2.4-liter turbocharged engine. Not many were sold, for obvious reasons.

I’m surprised some Neon “tuner” type (of which there are many in the San Francisco Bay Area) hadn’t yanked the engine and suspension goodies from this car for an easy bolt-in swap to a Plymouth Neon Expresso with rattle-can yellow spray-painted dash panels and “ILLEST” stickers on the quarter-panels. Perhaps that happened after I left this yard.

Yeah, it’s an automatic. Of course it’s an automatic (though a higher percentage of junkyard PT Cruisers have manual transmsissions than do junkyard Neons; perhaps the manual was $19 cheaper).

The special “2.4 Turbo” tachometer is cool-looking.

Speaking of the abundance of PT Cruisers in places like this, how about the one that was right next to the ’04 GT Turbo? I’m pretty sure this is a custom aftermarket paint job, but perhaps it’s a rare-but-not-so-valuable special edition.

The PT Cruiser Turbo was just the thing for those crazy youngsters and their flip phones.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Writer d'Elegance Brougham Landau.

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3 of 44 comments
  • HotPotato HotPotato on Sep 30, 2017

    I got to take a daylong test drive in a PT Cruiser GT. People forget, those things were FAST with the 2.4 turbo and manual transmission -- 0-60 in 6.something. The interior was also an upgrade from the standard PT, with model-specific perforated leather and a slightly nicer dash plastic. I remember having two quibbles with the car: the hilariously bad turning circle, made worse by the enormous wheels on the GT, and the massive cliff in ratios between first and second gear. First gear was all unintentinded wheelspin and instant redline, and second gear felt like third. Frustrating in traffic. That was on a first-year model though, I hear they revised it later (no idea if that's so).

    • Bluegoose Bluegoose on Oct 03, 2017

      I own a PT GT with 5 speed and the "Stage 1" upgrade package which adds about 20HP. It is very fast for its time period. It is a very underrated car in the performance department. The turning circle is horrendous and that is because of the 17 inch wheels that are on the car. The manual is a pretty stout Getrag transmission that was pulled from the Euro Diesel PT. I put a Hurst Shifter in it which shortened the throws. The car is an oddball that attracts outliers. However, I think the first 5 years were the best. The GT was only made 4 years.

  • Jansob Jansob on Feb 25, 2018

    I know two older ladies who bought these because of the looks. One still has hers, despite the awful paint and paper mache interior. She says the worst thing is that it's been mechanically quite reliable, so in her words, "they were perfectly capable of doing it right, but just didn't". The other got disgusted after a couple of years of interior bits turning to dust like a mummy in sunlight and bought a Scion XB, which has been awesome, and still looks great. She says the only thing she misses is the "cool retro styling" of the PT.

  • Wolfwagen I lived in Long Island and worked in Manhattan for several years. I had to drive as my job required me to also go to NJ, Westchester/Rockland Counties and Long Island, sometimes at a moment's notice. This applied to almost the entire office staff and our technicians. Congestion pricing is a tax if have to commute into the city. This is just going to raise costs on everything. The city is already starting to lose people including those that used to commute in including by train. Covid showed that you didn't need a floor (or several) to run your business. As NYC and NYS continue to raise taxes more people and businesses will flee. Hell even the NYSE was considering leaving.
  • Redapple2 No interest in HK products. Lexus/Toyota/Subaru/Honda are superior across most metrics. And have better resale.
  • Redapple2 Note to self. Seft, buy them already sorted.
  • ChristianWimmer A city which makes life for motorists hell is not worth living in. Here in eco-communist Europe the lefties are constantly talking about “improving our quality of life” - by getting rid of cars and making cities car-free. Sorry, but I despise public transportation and the weirdos you meet on it and prefer to take my car or my bicycle around the city. In the winter I only take my car.
  • Jwee What is wrong with taxing people twice? Gov't cost money, and it is the fairness of the taxation that matters most not the frequency of the toll booth. Personally, I rather they tax me less and the wealthy/corporations more, but someone has to pay. We used to tax the wealthy, but they have successfully lobbied so now we the people, pay interest to the wealthy on their low-taxed earnings, so that we can fund the government.