It's no secret that the innovative PT Cruiser was an instant hit with a large segment of the truck and SUV buying public when it was first introduced.

One of those hardest bitten by the PT bug back in 2000 was Lexani Wheel Corporation's Regional Manager, Brian Pecen. Brian was attending the Detroit Auto Show when he first saw the PT on a television commercial there. The radical, little vehicle caught Brian's imagination, and he determined that he absolutely had to have one as soon as possible. Brian rushed to his Chrysler dealer and put down the cash necessary to become one of the first people in the country to take possession of a new PT Cruiser.

Back in April 2000, Brian took delivery of his new PT. He was the proverbial first kid on the block to own the unusual vehicle and enjoyed the status and attention generated by his new toy. In those early days of ownership, Brian's Cruiser drew a crowd wherever it was parked. People gathered around and asked a million questions, since most had never even heard of the vehicle before.

Those were the days before the novelty wore off and thousands of PTs had not hit the streets yet. Before too long, Brian found himself driving a stock PT that really did not generate all that much attention anymore. A flood of new PT Cruisers were out and the public was getting used to seeing them from coast to coast. Something had to be done.

As a regional manager for Lexani Wheel Corporation, Brian had a clear vision of what to do next. Obviously, the solution was to fit some big Lexani wheels and then customize the whole vehicle to match. Brian's plan was to create a wildly reworked PT that would serve as both a daily driver and a rolling advertisement for Lexani Wheels.

The goal was to build a PT that was radical enough to draw a lot of attention at auto shows and industry events. That goal meant that some serious customization was in store for Brian's Cruiser.

Drawing upon his friends in the industry, Brian contacted several top aftermarket companies to enlist their help in transforming his PT. Master Image Customs (MIC) in Anaheim, California, was chosen to drop the PT onto the ground with a complete air suspension system with Firestone airbags front and EAI Pro Air cylinders in the rear. The system runs EAI 3/8-inch lines and valves with dual EAI compressors filling a Hack Shack 5-gallon air tank with digital gauges. A trick MIC Skull Switchbox control unit dictates the front, back, and side-to-side motion of the PT.

Next up were Lexani chrome Iris wheels, 18-inchers in front and 20-inchers in the rear, all wrapped with Pirelli Pzero rubber bands. Aftermarket body components in the form of billet grilles, a front lower valance, and a roll pan came from PTCrusin.com in Bloomington, California.

For serious tunes, Advantage Audio & Alarm in Brea, California, installed a Kenwood CD system powered by Crossfire amps pushing Crossfire speakers. Custom speaker enclosures were fabricated and four Jensen 1500 VCR units were installed. An Aviatal II alarm system with TRC modules and solenoids help protect the cabin from unauthorized entry. As an added custom touch, Advantage installed red neon lighting inside and underneath Brian's PT.

The rest of the interior artistry was performed by Stitchcraft Custom Interiors in Westminster, California. Stitchcraft keyed into the MIC skull control and stitched up a complete flame and skulls motif throughout the PT cabin. Gray leather and red suede flames and skulls cover the interior from dash to door panels to the seat covers and the floor mats.

Brian handed the PT over to Classic Traditions Painting in Huntington Beach, California, for a bit of body and paint magic. The exterior was completely shaved and smoothed prior to application of Classic Traditions' two-tone, tribal graphic paint job in Inferno Red and basic black.

Having completed the major customization procedures, Brian stood back and took a look at his newly transformed PT with near complete satisfaction. Finish detail work was all that remained to complete the project. The windows were tinted dark to match the upper portion of the paint scheme, and the skull theme was reinforced with MIC skull valve stem caps, MIC skull doorknobs, and a Trenz skull antenna. A carbon-fiber dash kit in Inferno Red added a nice exterior-matching touch.

A MagnaFlow exhaust system with an oval chrome tip gave the little PT a throaty growl to match its new looks.Brian ended up with a custom PT that may have turned out a bit more radical that he originally planned. The finished vehicle is still used as Brian's daily driver, but it is definitely a show-worthy custom as well.

Lexani has used Brian's PT as a successful wheel showcase at shows and industry events across the country.In fact, the excitement of old is back again because the transformed Lexani PT draws a crowd again wherever it is parked or displayed. And that is exactly the result Brian was looking for.