after owning one for a while I can tell you these aren't the cars you want to do complicated engine swaps on. There is no room to work.
My brother has had a 03 blue GT, I have the 05 GT, my mother has owned a 03 NA
and now has the 05 180 turbo limited, and my grandma drives an 05 180 limited plantinum edition. One of my workers owns one too, an NA
The 180 model and the NA
in the car aren't much different. The turbo gets up to 10 MPG better mileage and highway power is night and day.
When you go to a GT it is a lot more car. 4 wheel ABS
disk brakes, not drum brakes. Then you get traction control, nice with snow and ice with any of them. Bigger sway bars, stiffer springs, better wheels and tires the 17s. Even the turbo GT dash and gauges are nicer.
I drove a NA
to Vegas once, horrible on the highway and it didn't like 75-90 MPH at all. Either run 70 and listen to the trans fight to keep it moving or run 90-95 MPH+ Horrible light truck fuel program in the NA
and they eat fuel like a V8.
By far the best thing to do is get a GT and add the Stage 1 computer. Better mileage, better power and better shifting with the auto. Yeah they cost more but they aren't like hunting for a SRT
4. They are adult owned, not kid owned. You find them mint all over the place. Then my insurance company doesn't consider it a sports car like the SRT
4. The 180 HP is completely under the radar. BTW the GT and the 180 HP limited have the same power after you add the same stage 1 computer.
Una is no stranger to massive work to save a buck and could handle this pretty quickly. This would be a tough job to do in a reliable manor and it wouldn't be a ton cheaper.
So if your PT is once of these older models you dumped tons of money into to look good for shows and cruising then it would be worth it. If the car is a simple model and driver trade it in. If it is a show rig I'd look for a whole wrecked GT as an organ donor and get a whole car to do the job, buying the few totaled parts to fill in the gaps.