Chrysler Panel Cruiser Concept Truck
12 January 2000Chrysler Panel Cruiser Concept Truck
Carrying Cargo Has Never Looked This Good DETROIT, Jan. 11 -- Whether it's a dog kennel, flats of flowers, a catered dinner for 100 guests or that antique armoire, the Chrysler Panel Cruiser concept can accommodate it within its modish exterior. Introduced today by DaimlerChrysler at the North American International Auto Show, this new interpretation of the PT Cruiser demonstrates functionality as well as unique styling, reflective of Chrysler heritage. "We set out to design a more cargovan-like vehicle based on the PT Cruiser, utilizing its abundant interior space while maintaining its clean, contemporary lines and youthful appearance," said Kenneth Carlson, Design Manager at DaimlerChrysler. "By replacing the rear doors and windows with panels and the rear seats with a wood floor, we've created a versatile rear cargo space that could be used as a light delivery truck or an individual lifestyle vehicle ... the possibilities are endless." At 168.8 inches (4288.5mm), the overall exterior length of the design study is equal to the size of a small car, providing nimble city handling and easy parking, yet its interior volume of 119.8 cubic feet (3.39 cu. meters) rivals that of a full-size sedan. The rear interior space features a full wood floor with bright skid strips and wood bars along the side quarter panels with cargo straps providing a multi-use cargo area. "We designed the interior to emphasize the volume available in the PT Cruiser," said Jeff Godshall, Senior Design Manager at DaimlerChrysler. "By creating a simple rear cargo space with features similar to those found in moving vans, such as wood floors and cargo straps, we invite a multitude of imaginative uses by the owner. The exterior is also a variation of the PT Cruiser; almost identical to the GT Cruiser show car. For example, the Panel Cruiser has been lowered by one inch, while widening the track by two inches, giving it an athletic stance. Removing the badges from the hood and deck and integrating the bumpers in the facias give the vehicle a clean front and rear appearance. The side rear quarter design features delivery van-like panels, replacing the rear doors and windows. In addition, the badges are incorporated in the grille and rear license plate brow. Distinct flares on the fenders, which accommodate the bigger wheels, complement the Panel Cruiser's solid stance. Dual chrome exhaust pipes underscore the sporty character. The vehicle is powered by a 2.4-liter turbocharged engine providing 200 bhp and 200 lb.-ft. coupled to an American Club Racing (ACR) five-speed manual transaxle. The lowered suspension incorporates ACR KONI/Mopar struts and upgraded sway bars. The vehicle rolls on 17" chrome wheels with 215/45 tires. "Through its siblings, the PT Cruiser and the GT Cruiser show vehicle, the Panel Cruiser show truck borrows design cues from classic American panel trucks and combines it with the power, handling and fun of a sports sedan," said Tom Gale, DaimlerChrysler Executive Vice President for Product Development and Design. "This concept is a good example of how we're approaching new styles while staying true to the heritage of the Chrysler brand ... we've developed a versatile, yet stylish and exciting vehicle to drive." The 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser is one of the many concept-to-reality projects coming out of DaimlerChrysler's design studios. Arriving at Chrysler dealers this spring and already acclaimed by many to be "too cool to categorize," PT Cruiser is set to be a segment-buster.