I’ve never liked Chrysler.
It’s no secret to regular readers that very few Chrysler vehicles have ever impressed me. My dislike began when my parents used a 1987 LeBaron to drive my brother and me to San Diego. My brother got locked in by a seat belt that wouldn’t unlatch, and then the engine exploded. Thankfully not on the same day.
I’ve kept a wary eye on Chrysler products ever since. When I wasn’t able to talk my sister-in-law out of a 1997 Sebring convertible, I managed to keep the “I told you so”s to a minimum when she’d finally had enough and took a major hit on its trade-in value.
That said, I’m relieved to see the company begin a bankruptcy process that I hope will inspire real change and begin a new era of quality cars.
I also want to take a moment and acknowledge some of the Chrysler vehicles that were actually pretty darned good, in spite of the spectacular failures that have seemed to define the company.
Chrysler’s entire minivan lineup can be summed up with the word “innovative.” From DVD systems to dual sliding doors to stow-n-go to swivel-n-go seating, Chrysler defined the minivan in the 1980s and then redefined it through the years.
I mention this car mostly because Chrysler has sold so many of them. From the day it was introduced in 2000, I’ve thought the PT Cruiser is one of the ugliest bodies to ever sit atop four tires. Since more than 1 million of my fellow Americans disagree and seem to adore their PT more than the kids they haul in it, I’m forced to acknowledge that it must be a dang good car.
This car has a 6.1-liter, 425-hp Hemi and brakes good enough to stop all 4,160 pounds of it in just 110 feet. That’s right up there with the mighty BMW M5.
Well done, Chrysler.
In Chrysler’s future, I hope to see more of the innovation, fun, and quality I know the company is capable of. Help from Fiat might be just what it’s needed.
What are some of your favorite Chrysler vehicles? Any you hope to never see again?