Vintage Valets were looking for a vehicle that had some vintage aesthetics, but might be cheaper and slightly more reliable than a classic. I say ‘slightly’ because of the journey we went on. The brief also included having the ability to carry valeting equipment – so a Nissan Figaro was out and so sadly was a Mitsuoka.
I have to say I have always liked a car that makes you smile. Whenever I have spotted a PT Cruiser it has done just that. I’m a sucker for a London Taxi and I love a Ford Pop – so the Cruiser ticked a lot of boxes for me. The brief was simply to source the car – no paintwork needed. But I couldn’t really leave it at that. The first Cruiser we bought, we nick-named ‘Dynamo’ on account of it’s ability to run without diesel. In our first week of ownership it died spectacularly on a busy road. I thought I had killed it, but it had run out of fuel and had been surviving on fumes for some time. The fuel gauge, continued to read as full, even when it was empty. The fuel tank recovered after a few refills and I merrily fixed up all the scratches and scrapes and sprayed the bottom half cream to give it a more vintage look. (I also went a bit mad with stick on chrome, which looked REALLY bad). About a week later the clutch went and a new one was going to cost more than the car was worth – so we scrapped it. So much for ‘more reliable’.
Then we found ‘Doris” for the price of a new clutch. We took the train right across the country to get her and although we haven’t exactly driven her very far, so far, so good. She certainly feels like an update to Dynamo, despite being slightly older. The turning circle is still the worst I have ever experienced (sorry PTC fans, you know it’s true). But I prefer the shape of the original PT Cruiser – especially the lights. Doris already had the red/cream two tone thing going on (the cream is a wrap), so I set about using each panel as a patina test piece. This clearly wasn’t required – but I just couldn’t help myself. When you have only paid £750 for a car, it’s rude not to test your guns on it.
I’d always enjoyed the rat rod look, and made myself smile as I repaired the rusty wheel arches, only to paint the rust back on with paint (see this video of me at work). Once I did one panel I found it hard to stop. I stayed away from additional chrome and fatigued the chrome that was there. I banged a few stickers on – and some tasty domed mirror wheel trims and here she is. The photos are below.
What I REALLY want to do it chose one patina style and rat rod a whole vehicle the same – not necessarily a PT Cruiser. If there are any volunteers with people who want a patina car out there, I would do it for paint cost only. Drop me a line!