Lorraine St. James-Alessandro says her PT Cruiser reminds her of the cars "my parents and grandparents had when I was small, and the hot rods people used to make from old frames."
She was perfectly content with her '87 Subaru until she and her family spied a Cruiser on the street one day: "We all just went, 'Wow, what is that car?' We had been interested in some type of a retro car, like those Chevy station wagons from the '50s, but the reliability suffers and we wondered about the safety. At first glance this was such a cute retro car, but it's also a mini-mommy van."
The 42-year-old mother of two also heads the Los Angeles-area chapter of the PT Cruiser Club and recently organized the first get-together of local Cruiser owners, where 25 cars were on display. "I got goose bumps watching them pull in," she says. "When they swung into the parking lot, it was like a parade. I was in such awe."
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