It’s retro, it’s versatile, it’s practical and it’s fun. But there’s a much more meaningful reason that “King” Tim Nulton loves his plum-colored PT Cruiser.
Nulton’s son, Jordan, has autism, and he hated going to parades because sudden loud sounds such as wailing firetruck sirens and horns, cheering and applause were upsetting. “I said, ‘You don’t have to worry about going to parades. You can be in the parade,’” Nulton previously told his son, who turned 21 on Thursday.
Nulton, 53, of West Pittston, got the idea to drive his vehicle in parades and show it off at other public events as part of a club to help make Jordan feel included and, at the same time, to raise money for autism awareness.
He got the word out about what he wanted to do. “One by one, PT Cruiser owners came out and joined in,” Nulton said.
Nulton said he or his son Tyler, 17, will be driving the plum Cruiser in Monday’s Memorial Day Parade in West Pittston. The parade will mark the 10th season of activity for the Cruising Cruisers PT Owners Club.
At its pinnacle, the club had 36 PT owners participating in a fundraiser, said Nulton, who got the nickname “King” when someone asked him if he wanted to be “King of the Cruisers.” In addition to several “Fun Drive for a Cause” events, the group has participated in the Pittston Tomato Festival and the Plymouth Kielbasi Festival.
While PT Cruisers are not classic or antique vehicles, people still take notice of them on the road. Chrysler modeled the car after a hot rod or sportster-type vehicle when it first came out in 2001.
“It’s fun to own because it’s retro,” said Nulton. “It looks like an antique or classic car, but it’s modern with all the technology. PT stands for ‘personal transport,’ and it’s very versatile, functional and practical. All the seats come out, including the front seats. The hatch opens to two shelves. One comes out farther than the other and it can be used as a picnic table.”
“Unfortunately, Chrysler, in its infinite wisdom, discontinued the car in 2010,” Nulton said.
So, Cruiser owners are a relatively small group, and any are welcome to parade with the group or show off their cars at special events, free of charge, Nulton said.