If it’s Detroit’s summer Woodward Dream Cruise, it must be time for a special-edition Chrysler PT Cruiser.

The pentastar brand rolls out the PT Street Cruiser Pacific Coast Highway Edition, the marque’s 12th evolution since its debut in 2000.

“The Chrysler PT Cruiser is the perfect vehicle for factory customization because it celebrates the journey, as well as the destination,” says David Rooney, director-Chrysler marketing and global communications.

The ’07-model special-edition PT Cruiser features Ocean Blue paint with unique 17-in. platinum-clad 15-spoke wheels and chrome exhaust tip, grille, door handles and side molding. A unique “Street Cruiser” badge is located on the rear liftgate, along with “Pacific Coast Highway” badges and a body-color spoiler.

All-season performance tires go with a sport suspension, standard 4-wheel-disc antilock brakes with traction control and speed control.

The 2-tone interior features slate gray and pastel slate gray. The seats are marked by Ocean Blue inserts, and the instrument panel features a satin silver cluster bezel with an Ocean Blue overlay and satin silver passenger airbag door.

The Pacific Coast Highway Edition also offers a leather-wrapped steering wheel with satin silver spokes, cupholder rings, door lock knobs, automatic shifter bezel and shift ball.

SIRIUS-brand satellite radio is standard equipment.

Available later this summer, the car starts at $20,735 with a manual transmission and $21,570 for the automatic transaxle model – including a $640 destination charge.

The Pacific Coast Highway edition’s debut comes as Chrysler debates which platform to use for the next-generation PT Cruiser.

Due in 2008, according to Ward’s data, Chrysler has said the debate is between its C-segment platform that shoulders the Dodge Caliber small car and a pair of new Jeep products, and the D-segment platform on which the redesigned ’07 Chrysler Sebring is based.

The car is built at Chrysler’s assembly site in Toluca, Mexico. Toluca currently is undergoing a $1 billion retooling effort as the auto maker expands its flexible manufacturing strategy, which will enable simultaneous production of multiple models.

PT Cruiser sales have remained solid as volatile gasoline prices have caused consumers to shift away from SUVs, toward smaller vehicles. Through July, PT Cruiser sales are up 2% compared with the first seven months of 2005.

After wowing consumers as a concept vehicle, more than 1 million PT Cruisers have been sold since the first unit rolled off the line in February 2000.

Historically, Chrysler introduces new PT Cruiser variants to coincide with suburban Detroit’s premier enthusiast event, the Woodward Dream Cruise. Last year, Chrysler debuted the Route 66 edition.

Others include the Flames, Woodie and PT Turbo editions.

emayne@wardsauto.com