Chrysler attempts to put Italian flavor into the brand in the late '80s

(June 5, 2014) It has to be one of oddest collaborations in automotive history. In the mid 1980s Chrysler, under the direction of Lee Iacocca, formed a partnership with Italy's exotic carmaker Maserati to build a premium convertible called the TC.

The press was critical of the Chrysler TC, which combined a Chrysler body (based on the Dodge Daytona platform) with a Maserati engine, for its similarity to the Chrysler LeBaron GTC convertible that cost much less than the $33,000 to $37,000 asking price for the TC.

The TC was built for model years 1989 through 1991 although the 1991 models were all built in 1990. The TC came with a detachable hard top with opera windows and a manually operated cloth lined convertible top that was available in either tan or black.

The TC's dash, door panels, seats, and armrests were covered in hand-stitched Italian leather. A special interior storage compartment came with an umbrella, tool kit, and small spare tire that allowed for use of the full-sized trunk even with the top down.

In 1989 the TC came with a slightly detuned 160 horsepower 2.2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mated to a three-speed automatic transmission. For 1990, the TC got a 3-liter 141 horsepower V-6 and a four-speed automatic. About 500 cars were built with an optional Getrag manual transmission mated to a Maserati-derived turbocharged 2.2-liter 4-cylinder making 200 horsepower.

Only 7,300 copies to the TC were sold through its three model year run. Chrysler officials had predicted sales of between 5,000 and 10,000 a year. Poor sales were probably due to its high price tag, lack of exterior color choices and its rather tepid performance.

Abandoned Cars and Trucks photographer Ralph Gable found the car at top in a salvage yard in North Carolina. Directly above is a page from a Chrysler brochure in 1990.

Information source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia