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Chrysler Maserati TC


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Anyone here own one? I own a 90 Reatta hardtop but there's a Chrysler TC (convertible) in my neighborhood for sale. I've heard mixed reviews. Some people have told me to avoid it at all costs. They said it makes the Reatta seem like an army tank in comparison in terms of reliability. I'm curious if there are any other opinions out there that might help me while looking for one.

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the chrysler tc used all chrysler mechanicals, and was built in italy. the engines on the 89s are virtually bulletproof, but there are problems with the italian leather on the 89s. the 90-91 models use the mitsubishi V-6, which will need valve seal replacements at about 80K miles.the leather was much improved on the 90-91 models. for more information, go to chryslertcparts.com

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I have purchased 21 Reattas, and currently own 6 good Reattas and 13 Reatta parts cars. We also own one '90 Chrysler TC. It is my wifes car during the summers and she drives one of my high mileage Reattas in the winter. We have owned the car for about 4 years and have had no trouble with it. She had been driving LeBaron convertibles for several years and we purchased the TC because of the distinctive body and the port hole removable hard top and because Reatta convertibles were more that we wanted to spend. We also have several collector cars including a Corvette conv. and a GTO conv. I knew body parts would be hard to find but every junk yard in the area has all the mechanical parts I would ever need, because all of the mechanics are the same as a LeBaron. The TC is far rarer than a Reatta so we will probably keep it for a while although I just bought my first Reatta convertible ( a select 60 ) so that may change because of garage space. The interior, body and mechanics are holding up very well on the TC but the quality is no comparison to a Reatta since the TC is actually a LeBaron with the ride, size and weight of a LeBaron, compared to that of a Reatta. Because it is a LeBaron the prices of nice TC's are currently far lower than a Reatta convertible. The tops on the TC's were a nicer cloth material than the Reatta and the material holds up better than the vinyl on a Reatta but the stitching is starting to come loose at some of the seams, but it can be restitched. The only other repair that needs to be looked at is the top of the dash is curling up a bit and I have seen this on other TC's. We actually get more people asking us what kind of car the TC is than we do the Reatta ( usually LeBaron owners who have never seen the hardtop). From my experience I would recommend buying a TC for anyone who wants a distinctive convertible ( with a hardtop ) for less money than a Reatta convertible.

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I re-read a couple of the above posts after I wrote mine and I have to disagree on the quality of the mechanics of the TC's. The running gear in the LeBarons/all Chryslers was very good and is/was quite dependable as is verified by the number of Chryslers of that vintage still on the road today. The 2.5 turbos in the '89s were one or Chryslers better engines and used for many years and the V6 in the '90-91s also was used for many years in all models of Chrysler with very good results. The only weak spot was probably the early V6s had a weak automatic transmission attached to them. It was one of their first electronic transmissions and did give them some problems. As I mentioned in the above post, besides my wife's previous LeBaron convertibles, our family has probable owned 10 LeBarons and had almost no trouble with any of them.

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Guest Stephen Lyons

I just recently acquired a Reatta, but have owned at least one Chrysler's TC by Maserati since 1997. I currently have four, all 1989's, one of which is a high mileage daily driver.<P>First of all, they are NOT a LeBaron, altered or otherwise. They were actually manufactured by Maserati in Italy, where the drivetrains shipped there from the U.S. were installed on the assembly line, such as it was. I say this because under the control of Alejandro deTomaso, Maserati's notion of mass production was, well, sort of quaint. Imagine if you will the Lansing Craft Center set up in your garage. TC's thus possess many earmarks of a handmade car. This can be both good & bad. Fit & finish can be terrific in some respects, but have an obviously cobbled together aspect in some others. Overall, it won't have the uniformity from example to example that you can expect of a Reatta, and it will certainly exhibit more looseness & flex in its structure. It's VERY Italian in this regard. Despite being sold exclusively by Chrysler dealers in North America, & almost always being registered as a Chrysler, they bear Maserati VIN's and have Maserati certification & build plates.<P>Besides the engine/transaxle unit, the car does employ a fair number of pieces out of the Mopar parts bin, such as various electronics & quite a few bits about the interior. But as far as the body goes, virtually nothing interchanges with the LeBaron convertible or coupe, similar though they may all appear to the untrained eye. <P>The TC's strong point is it's sumptuous interior. The seats are like sitting on a really expensive leather couch, they are that cushy & comfortable. Besides the seats, the dashboard, door panels, console, elastic pouches, just about everything is fashioned out of or covered in leather, which is mostly of a very soft & supple glove type. It does not hold up well to long term UV exposure, but with any sort of protection & care, it can be maintained. My daily driver, with 149K on the odometer, has held up extremely well.<P>Someone in one of the previous posts remarked that the 1989's were "bulletproof" & they really can be K-car, taxi cab reliable. The 2.2 liter Turbo II engines that came with these are of the upgraded Shelby Daytona type with a forged crank & a Garrett intercooled turbocharger. They were de-tuned to 160hp so as to not overstress the Torqueflite transaxle, but this rugged if unsophisticated 3 speed unit can actually tolerate a lot more in the way of engine output, so many owners have freed up the intake & exhaust systems & plugged in one of the readily available aftermarket computers; these easily accomplished modifications bump the horsepower up to around 220, & totally eliminate the sluggish feeling that the stock set-up can have due to turbo lag.<P>The 1990 & 91's have a Mitsubishi 3.0 liter V-6 with a 4 speed automnatic, which actually puts out less horsepower than the 1989's stock 4 cylinder, plus the V-6 has minimal potential for hotrodding.<P>Then there are the 501 units made with a 200hp 4 cylinder engine that has a "Maserati" 16 valve head (actually made in the U.K. by Cosworth). These came with an excellent 5 speed Getrag manual gearbox.<P>As you can tell, I like the TC a lot. I appreciate the package it represents - two seat style (formal coupe or sporty ragtop, your pick), luxurious interior, plus a durable, flexible, & extremely simple to service & repair drivetrain. I really like my new Reatta, too, but they're only superficially similar vehicles. They have very different characters. A total of exactly 7300 TC's were made, or about one third as many as of the Reatta.<P>For more history or information, take a look at <A HREF="http://www.allpar.com/model/tc.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.allpar.com/model/tc.html</A> <P>Stephen Lyons<BR>Buick Club of America - <BR>Reatta Division Member #574<BR>TC America Member #1769<p>[ 04-23-2002: Message edited by: Stephen Lyons ]

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As stated, the TC was it's own car. Much more so than the Reatta was it's own car, because the Buick shared many underbody items with the Riveria. The TC, especially in later years, share most of it's powertrain with other C/P cars, just like the Reatta shared in cars of the GM line. The TC is much more rare. It does not have nearly as much electronics as the Reatta. In fact, I don't remember if they even had ABS. Better or worse than a Reatta. I think both cars can do the job of daily transportation. Just don't wreck either one, body parts for both are as rare as hen's teeth. The TC more so, because so few were built. In a world so full of sameness. A mini-van in every driveway or a SUV lumbering down the interstate, these cars, our Reattas, TC's, and Cadillac Allentes, rolled to the music of a different drummer. I'm so very pleased that these cars were built and I'm lucky enough to own one. No mini van or SUV for me please. Howard

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don't want to beat a dead italian horse here, but the engines used in the '89 TC's were actually 1987 2.2 litre turbo II units. as many remember, this car was supposed to come out in 1986, before the restyled lebaron j-body did in 1987. but endless squabbles and production delays did'nt allow production to begin until late 1988. as someone pointed out, the production line was so rudimentry and quality so abysmal that the first two hundred cars were destroyed. as for spotty quality, I have owned two avantis, an '87 coupe and a '90 four door, and the quality of the tc is about on par with these, which was quite good. you can't compare a hand built car with a production car, like the reatta. one of my best friends owns over 30 tc's and I always look forward to taking these things apart, because no two are ever exactly the same.<P>parts for the tcs have gotten quite expensive, and this is beginning to happen with the reatta, too as GM parts supplies are drying up. I read with some humor the comments some members made about keeping prices up. the one thing more than anything else that will keep prices up, is to allow a lot of the "beater reattas" to go rather cheaply now, for two reasons: 1) it "thins the field" make the ones left more valuable, and 2) they will be a self-sustaining source of parts for the ones still on the road.

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Guest Stephen Lyons

Re: the TC's engine & brakes (then I'll get off the topic - this is a Reatta forum, after all)<P>Howard, yes they had ABS, & while I'm still verifying this, the TC's Teves produced hydraulic actuator (more commonly referred to as the "master cyinder") may in fact be the same unit as was supplied for the Reatta.<P>"reattadude", the engine as originally supplied with the 1989's was a 1988 Daytona spec powerplant. My belief is that this occurred for just the reason that you mention, that Maserati could not get up to speed to manufacture what was supposed to be introduced as a 1987 model (the taillight lenses bear 87 dated DOT certification markings). I think these 1988 production engines were shipped over to Italy in anticipation of the car getting to market just one year late, & sat there for the better part of another year until there was something acceptable being made to install them in. However, later 1989's had the newer style "common block" 2.2 liter engine that the rest of Chrysler's car lines were using starting with that model year.<P>If there are some TC enthusiasts out there, I do operate a free e-mail forum for exchange of information regarding their history & maintenance. Feel free to contact me at tcguy@spunge.org & I will be happy to subscribe you to the list.

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Guest Brolliar

There is a pretty TC for sale on ebay in the Tampa area of Florida. For those like myself that have never seen one the address below has alot of pictures. It looks nice but I know nothing more about its condition. I wish I was close enough to go see it. It looks interesting from 1000 miles away. <P>Ebay address is <A HREF="http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=1821054094" TARGET=_blank>http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=1821054094</A>

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