LeBaron Look-alike: 1990 Chrysler TC By Maserati – Sold?

by | Jan 2022 | Classifinds, Topless Thursday

January 26, 2022 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

The father of the Mustang and the Minivan, Lee Iacocca, was far from perfect. A few of his pet projects were downright marketing disasters.  The primary example that comes to mind is the Chrysler TC By Maserati produced for only three model years between 1989 and 1991 before the company’s board pulled the plug on it. One of the primary reasons critics say it flopped was the fat it looked too much like the much less expensive Chrysler LeBaron also sitting dealer showroom at the time.  This like-new condition, 40K mile, 1990 Chrysler TC by Maserati originally listed on Craigslist in January 2022 in Harwich, Massachusetts (Cape Cod) is a prime example of that fact, right down to the wheel design.

Featuring a like-new supple leather interior, the private seller is currently asking $13,500.  Comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their 1990 Chrysler TC by Maserati priced right at this guide’s #2 “Excellent” estimate of $13,500.

The Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool also provides a nice synopsis of these cars:

“In 1987, Cadillac had its Allante, a semi-exotic flagship with bodies built in Italy by Pininfarina and shipped to the U.S. for assembly. In 1988, Buick had its Reatta, another two-seat semi-exotic flagship. Planning for Chrysler’s own two-seat semi-exotic began in 1984, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Chrysler and Alejandro de Tomaso.

The new TC was slated for introduction in 1987, but it took two additional years to hit the market. It debuted after the lower-tier and similarly styled LeBaron convertible, thus denting its flagship status from the start. Instead of the new look being passed from the top down, the public got the chance to buy a lower-priced car with a similar look first. This essentially doomed the TC before it even started.

Still, the TC was a hand-crafted car, with some nice details, especially the leather upholstery. Pricing ran in the $30,000–$33,000 range when new, which was about what a standard Corvette cost and half the price of the Allante, though about $4,000 above the Reatta.

Initially, the TC came with a 160-hp 2.2-liter turbocharged and intercooled four, with the option of a 200-horsepower “Maserati” variant with special 16-valve head and equipped with a German Getrag five-speed transaxle. By the 1990 model year, Chrysler had heard enough from buyers about turbo lag and the rough nature of the engines, and it offered up a Mitsubishi-supplied 3.0-liter single-overhead-camshaft V-6 as found in sedans and minivans. The V-6 replaced the standard four-cylinder and had a new four-speed automatic transaxle. The engine was as smooth but offered up only 141 horsepower. The 200-hp engine and five-speed continued as an option.

Production ended in calendar year 1990, though a few 1991 model-year cars were produced. Approximately 7,300 units were built in total.

The Chrysler TC car had plenty of substance, with technology befitting what the Brits refer to as a “bespoke” high-end vehicle. And it was truly international beyond its styling partnership: A Teves anti-lock braking system was employed, and struts and shocks were specially developed by Fichtel and Sachs. The alloy wheels were fabricated in Italy by Formula One supplier Fondmetal. Forged pistons for the 200-hp engine were supplied by Mahle of Germany, and Japanese firm IHI supplied the turbocharger.

Aficionados consider these to be the best Maserati ever built — certainly less finicky than the high-strung V-6 and V-8-powered true exotics — as well as the best Chrysler ever built. In the current market, they are a hand-built bargain, though restoration candidates will put you underwater fast. Better to buy the best one and take care of it.”

If you can get past the bathroom humor, general disdain and outright ageism against Baby Boomers, the narrator of the Regular Car Reviews YouTube channel is very knowledgeable about the cars he presents:

With excellent documentation and what appears to be a like-new appearance, if you always wanted a TC but couldn’t afford one when new, now is your chance to buy a 31-year-old new car.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1990 Chrysler TC convertible, 40,000 miles.
acquired from original owner. Originally purchased 17NOV1990 at Jack Miller Chrysler Manhattan, KS.
Original paint, never hit or repaired body. Flawless mechanical condition.
Yellow/Ginger/Tan, 2 tops. Built in Italy. Only 7,300 produced over 3 years.
(363 V-6’s produced in yellow/ginger)
* Removable hardtop, and a cloth lined soft top.
* Mitsubishi 3,0 V6/ 4 speed automatic.
* Hand stitched Italian leather trim.
* Factory Infinity sound system,
* 6-way power seat,
* cruise control,
* power windows, power door/trunk locks,
* light package,
* tilt wheel.
*4-wheel Teves ABS disc brakes,
*factory aluminum wheels.
Full documentation includes Dealer invoice, window sticker, original owner,s registration and title, present owner’s
Massachusetts registration and title.
Dealer prep video and sales brochure. Owner’s manual, shop manual included. Tire Tools included.
serviced summer 2021 and ready to drive anywhere.
$13,500.

Show or go: what would you do with this 1990 Chrysler TC by Maserati?  Comment below and let us know!

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