For the past ten years I have been driving a 2003 PT Cruiser – the Dream Cruiser Series 2. It has a turbo engine, is tangerine in colour and has very low mileage. I call my car Pete. Up until a week ago, PT Cruiser collectors would have said it was one of the more rare and valuable PT Cruisers in existence. According to a guy who has researched these cars, there were only 2200 made.
Several weeks ago ‘Pete’s engine light came on, so we took Pete to the local Chrysler Car Hospital. We expected some minor malfunction, an hour or so of labour, a few small parts and then Pete would be back on the road again.
This is a photo of Pete’s engine compartment. It is only slightly larger than the glove compartment of a big truck – at least, that is how The Car Guy describes the cramped quarters of the place where Pete’s stomach, heart, lungs and circulatory system are. Wedged somewhere under the upper bits is the Short Block. It contains the pistons, the crank shaft and the connecting rods.
To make a long story short, Pete’s ailment was not minor. Pete was going to need a Short Block transplant. The Car Guy questioned Pete’s surgeon about this diagnosis. Surely the condition could be cured by rebuilding the block. The surgeon looked at The Car Guy, as only a Young Car Guy can look at an Old Car Guy, and said, “No one rebuilds these things anymore.”
When The Car Guy explained the situation to me, I asked him if he could rebuild it. He told me he certainly could, but if I wanted to have Pete back on the road in less than a year or two, then the transplant was probably the best way to go. (The Car Guy and his dad are good mechanics, but they aren’t fast.)
A short block was ordered and Pete was pushed out into the parking lot behind the Car Hospital. On about the sixth day of Pete’s absence from the safety of our garage, large dark clouds rolled into town. They were packing pellets and weren’t afraid to use them. As I watched the hail beat down, I wondered about Pete. What were the chances that the hail was big enough and hard enough to beat holes into Pete’s tangerine skin?
Would the Fickle Finger of Fate (the Insurance Company) then decide that Pete, (with no engine block and a pock marked body), was a complete write off? Fortunately, the hail did no damage and I brought Pete home a few days ago. Pete’s Hospital stay cost about as much as what Pete would be worth if I sold him, which doesn’t make much sense, but that is how things are with used vehicles.
No, no, no. There’s no such thing as cheap and cheerful. It’s cheap and nasty & expensive and cheerful.
– Jeremy Clarkson –
I’d show you a photo of Pete’s engine now, but it really doesn’t look any different than it did before.