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Enrico's new knees

May 31, 2013 - Paul Giannamore
Enrico the Cruiser has new hips and knees and he feels a whole lot younger than nine.

In my high-fiber (print) column days, the adventures of Enrico the Cruiser were a regular part of the proceedings. The car, a 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser, in Electric Blue with factory wood grain paneling (a reasonable facsimilie of actual trees), was my father’s last.

He bought it the day after seeing it on the DiNovo’s website at my house. He didn’t understand the whole Internet thing, but he saw that car on some TV screen in my den and wanted it immediately.

It was a couple of months before my mom passed away, and she spent much of that time busting his chops over buying such a costly and flashy little car. I found out that the chop-busting was an act and she actually loved the little wagon.

It was just neat to watch my dad with that car. PT’s were still topics of conversation back in the summer of 2004, and the Electric Blue-and-wood combo was (and is) a pretty rare site. Dad relished in getting out of the car in a parking lot and getting peppered with questions.

I still get the occasional comment at the gas pumps from people who think it’s just neat.

Chrysler, unfortunately, can’t, or won’t, tell me just how unique it might be. I contacted their PR department and asked about the possibility of knowing just how many with that color and wood combo were produced in 2004. They said they don’t keep such statistics.

So, all I know is I have only seen one other Cruiser with this factory color combo from 2004. It was parked, oddly enough, on a street called Henry (my dad’s name) in Hawaii. My sister sent me a picture of it.

If anyone knows if more exist, I’d love to know.

Meanwhile, it’s good to know my dad found a car as unique as he was and enjoyed a car he really wanted in his final years.

I can only be glad I’m a lot younger and hope to keep this car going for decades. The new front suspension helps. At nearly 90,000 miles, he’s as good as new again.

And he's still a neat connection to my father.


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