Remember the Oldsmobile Vista-Cruiser? It was the quintessential station wagon of the 60’s. With three rows of seats and curved atrium-style windows along the roof, the Vista-Cruiser was truly unique among wagons. It was in many respects the ultimate reflection of American family values, circa 1966.
In our never-ending quest for the rare and unusual, our hot rod builder Gary Turnau has built a ’66 hot rod Vista-Cruiser for this year’s cross-country Power Tour. EMAP USA (formerly Petersen Publishing) has committed to a feature article on the wagon in the August issue of Hot Rod Magazine, with photography tentatively scheduled for late April.
(You’ll find our original Vista-Cruiser presentation for the Hot Rod Magazine editors here.)
On top of all that, Forrest Tosie also has a suprise for everyone this year (see his introduction / dissertation below). Of course, what you’re really interested in is the Power Tour coverage. Mothers® will be there to report on every triumph, every defeat, every greasy cheeseburger along the way. It is, without doubt, our idea of a great time.
Make sure to join us on this year’s Power Tour 2000. And if you see our light-blue, hot rod Vista-Cruiser screamin’ down the interstate, make sure to wave hello. But don’t hesitate, or you’ll end-up waving good-bye instead.
THE CAT’S OUT OF THE BAG!
Smart readers you are, you figured out the secret we hinted at in early April. That’s right Mothers® is going cruising with two cruisers. In addition to the 1966 Olds Vista-Cruiser, the (poorly kept) secret is one of Chrysler’s new 2001 PT Cruisers!
Safely esconsced in our spacious, state-of-the-art facilities, it’s starting its transformation from pedestrian Cruiser to tricked out Tourer immediately. With a killer stainless dual exhaust, some great lowering springs, good shocks and struts, not to mention mondo wheels and tires, this’ll be one Cruiser than will be able to tour with the best of ’em.
So, here you have it. A brilliant Inferno Red PT will be vying for attention on this year’s Power Tour. I promise you it’ll be the shiniest, cleanest car on the Tour, and if that isn’t enough, it’ll have all the trick new aftermarket goodies on it.
Stay tuned as we update the site regularly, showing the transformation of our PT Cruiser from mild to wild. Catch us on the Power Tour, too if you can!
THE TRANSFORMATION BEGINS
As soon as I saw the PT Cruiser, I knew it was the toy I needed for this year’s Power Tour. There was one slight problem, though. While revolutionary in design, the final package was a little, well, plain for such an event as the Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour. After one quick drive, us folks at Mothers® central changed its nickname to the PT Snoozer.
After serious deliberation (well, all of 15 seconds), I decided to do something about it. If Chrysler could prototype up a GT Cruiser, complete with turbocharged engine, lowered suspension and different nose and tail to hide those bumpers; well, so could we.
First things first, I shouted let’s fix the suspension so it looks cool! A quick call to the fine folks at Eibach got us lowering springs on the way and the fine folks at Koni agreed to make us a set of adjustable struts and shocks to complement the springs. Well, it was a start.
Judicious use of the dialing finger found us Intro Wheels. They made us a set of one-off wheels in 18 inch to complete the slammed look. Toyo Tires had some great performance tires Proxes T1-S in 225/40ZR18 to keep us pointed in the right direction.
When it came time for all the subtleties that make a car a personal statement, we went back to the folks who really know Metalcrafters/TGF. They’re the company who built the prototype PT Cruisers for Daimler Chrysler, and they know it better inside out than anyone.
We went for understated details like removing the emblems and smoothing and painting the front and rear bumpers. The parts came out so well, they’ll be selling them through their Automotive Enhancements division. There’s even talk of a prepainted bumper exchange program so your PT Cruiser can look almost as good as our’s.
Now we’re cookin’! But wait, there’s more!
“Hello Borla, I need a real exhaust you know, one with two exhaust pipes. Oh yeah, I want it to look good, too. No problem? Thanks Alex. Send it right over.”
“Hey K&N, can you help the top end of this motor breathe better? You can? Wonderful Nate, I’ll take one of those washable filters you make! ”
Snooping around more found a nitrous kit (sorry, I’ll pass I can’t afford to keep filling those bottles up). We also found a possible supercharger. Highly placed sources at the supercharger manufacturer told me there are to be two versions one intercooled with 9 pounds of boost, and a non-intercooled version at 6 psi. Unfortunately, it won’t be ready until late summer, so I’ll just be a little slower for now.
Ever mindful of night vision, a quick phone call found those great PIAA superwhite bulbs to light the way across the USA. They’ll even plug right in, with no wiring required.
What better way to keep it clean than a car cover or two? The folks at Covercraft fixed me right up with a custom fit cover made of Kimberly Clark’s all weather material, and put our logo on it, too!
Only problem is, the ol checkbook is now empty. I guess the body pieces will have to wait for next pay day. But, that’s okay, I’ve enough to keep me busy.
Keep an eye here as the Cruiser goes from Snoozer to Bruiser. And tell those other Power Tour folks to look out your Mothers® coming, and she’ll be cruisin’ in style.
Story and photos by,
2000 Cruise Night Schedule
Thursday, June 1
San Bernardino, CA
Friday, June 2
S. Bernardino, CA to Phoenix, AZ
Saturday, June 3
Phoenix, AZ to Albuquerque, NM
Sunday, June 4
Albuquerque, NM to Elk City, OK
Monday, June 5
Elk City, OK to Tulsa, OK
Tuesday, June 6
Tulsa, OK to Tunica, MS
Wednesday, June 7 (DAY OFF)
Thursday, June 8
Tunica, MS to Talladega, AL
Friday, June 9
Talladega, AL to
Panama City Beach, FL
Saturday, June 10
Panama City Beach, FL