Hurtan, a boutique automaker headquartered near Granada, Spain, has done the impossible and made the Chrysler PT Cruiser interesting. The firm transforms these already retro-inspired models, and afterwards they look like European luxury cars of the 1930s and ‘40s.
The company has two models in its current lineup. The Author is the PT-Cruiser-based convertible that evokes pre-World-War-II automotive styling. The Route 44 uses a Fiat Ducato van (known in the United States as the Ram ProMaster) to create a bulbous commercial vehicle with a retro face.
Hurtan works with individual clients to make each vehicle to a buyer’s demands. The firm's commercial director Juan Ignacio Hurtado tells Motor1 Spain that the company's goal is to create "special cars for special people.” A tiny 10-person team builds each one by hand, and the firm sources the donor vehicles on the second-hand market throughout Europe.
The company has been in business since 1992. “The brand is born from my father's passion for classic cars,” Hurtado told Motor1 Spain. "He is a bodybuilder by profession, working in the sixties at Seat, on projects such as the development of the Seat 800 and then different workshops in Granada. However, his idea was always to build his own vehicle.”
"We developed it little by little, in free time, until one day we took it to a fair, almost by chance, and we saw the potential that could have,” Hurtado said. “From there, we started to manufacture seriously."
Part of the value of the Hurtan models, which can be seen on French, Italian, Czech and even Dominican roads, lies in the completely handcrafted construction process, which takes about 400 hours for the Author. The result is a bespoke vehicle that fits a buyer’s personality. "We know or try to guess their tastes and what style they have: more classic or more sporty,” Hurtado said.
By boutique vehicle standards, the Author is rather affordable with a starting price of 35,000 euros ($40,500 at current exchange rates) before Spain’s value-added tax. Clients can add a variety of options like leather upholstery for 1,950 euros and a luggage rack for 950 euros.
The Author does a good job of concealing its PT Cruiser heritage, and the similarities are most obvious in the doors and roll hoop. Hurtan retains the Chrysler’s original mechanical parts, which means this retro-inspired convertible has amenities like power steering, air conditioning, heated seats, and a power top. Customers can choose between a 143-horsepower naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder or 223-hp turbocharged version. "We chose the PT Cruiser because of the classic shape of the body, and it is the car that best suits our needs, in aspects such as the cabin," Hurtado said.
Hurtan starts with new Ducatos when creating the Route 44, and clients can pick from any powertrain available in the van. The Spanish automaker’s then needs around 370 hours for the conversion into the newly retro commercial vehicle.
Working as a bespoke automaker results in some interesting requests. For example, a buyer asked Hurtan to build a vehicle with a complicated color scheme that mixed purple and mustard yellow. "In the end, I found out that the client was color blind, so he saw the car in white and green, which was what he wanted,” Hurtado told Motor1 Spain. “Curiously, the references for the colors the client sent me by mail and were clippings from boxes of cookies.”