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Will you please give me the 90 second rundown of the 1989 model?


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Hi everyone. Longtime web forum user but first time to AACA.

My lady friend is going through a tough time in her career and I'm looking to cheer her up. She always talks about she'd like a convertible for summertime. I randomly stumbled upon an 89 here with reasonable miles. I didn't even know what the car is so a Wikipedia brief told me it has a turbo 2.2L, handmade in Milan, based on the LeBaron platform, and only 7,300 ever produced.

Personally I'd rather have a 10+ old Corvette or 911 ragtop but those price tags are still hard to swallow right now. Besides this car seems more suitable for a young, pretty female lawyer. I am comfortable liquidating some stock to buy the car so I'd view it as a similar investment (2-5 years).

I know she'll like the style and interior so I'm looking for more technical info for myself. What can I expect from this year as it approaches 100k? Is the engine easy to do maintenance on? How is the timing belt? How does the drivetrain perform? Will I enjoy the handling when I take it out for fun?

Thank you very much!

-bro

Edited by Slayerbro (see edit history)
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Welcome, and this is a good place to find out about these cars.

First, a little correction - the TC is not "based on the LeBaron platform". The opposite is actually true - the LeBaron was designed based the TC when Maserati couldn't get the car into production fast enough to satisfy Lee Iacocca. It never sold well because of the cost in that economy, and because the (cheaper) LeBaron was already out when it appeared - hence the above misunderstanding.

The 89 Turbo-II (what you are talking about) uses the same drivetrain (engine, trans, many parts) as many of the Chrysler vehicles of the late 80s and early 90s. That makes it reasonably easy to fix, and fairly inexpensive too. The T-II is not the fastest or most agile car - they engine puts out around 170 HP in a rather heavy vehicle - but it was built as a luxury car. Handling is pretty good, and you can add sway bars and other upgrades easily to improve this. Non-interference engine, so even if you break a timing belt, you won't grenade the powerplant. If the one you're looking at was reasonably kept up (maintenance records are your friend here), and the leather interior (a lot of leather...) is in good shape, they are beautiful cars, and quite unique. Chances are you won't see another one very often.

There are some quirks to the cars - the brakes are a special Teves ABS system (also found on the Reatta) which not every brake place will know about. Parts (even the rare ones) are available from a number of places (many found here in this forum). If you have a good mechanic who knows 80's Chryslers, or you like doing it yourself, keeping it running is pretty easy.

Summing up I'd say they are great cars that just need slightly more TLC than a more "ordinary" ride, but the T-II in particular is one of the easiest to own Maseratis you will ever find. The 16-valve version (much rarer - I have one of each...) is far more work to keep up, so unless you are a real gearhead I'd keep with the T-II like you're looking at.

Jim

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Thanks for the info. For sake of discussion I'm trying to think of a base for comparison, and the best I could come up with is the Mercedes 300/320 SL. Is this somewhat accurate? What are the pros and cons of the TC against the German roadster?

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It is kind of funny that as I do extensive Internet research on this car, the only criticism about it have to do with its marketing failure alone. I cannot find any complaints about the engineering, reliability, craftsmanship, leather cracking, paint fading, etc. (compared to 'successfully' marketed Corvettes with stories abound of bolts rattling loose, and Porsches with RMS leaks and exploding motors)

It is odd that so many people have a lasting impression of a marketing mistake made over 20 years ago, instead of appreciating the car in its current environment and time.

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It is kind of funny that as I do extensive Internet research on this car, the only criticism about it have to do with its marketing failure alone. I cannot find any complaints about the engineering, reliability, craftsmanship, leather cracking, paint fading, etc. (compared to 'successfully' marketed Corvettes with stories abound of bolts rattling loose, and Porsches with RMS leaks and exploding motors)

It is odd that so many people have a lasting impression of a marketing mistake made over 20 years ago, instead of appreciating the car in its current environment and time.

Funny thing is, I bought my first TC more than 10 years ago to 'rob' the the drivetain out of for a racing project. I was so impressed by the character of the car after putting a battery in it and driving 400+ miles home that I couldn't gut it out! Since then I have had just a few TC's and have fallen for the unique character of them. Although, a 93 (only year with the 32 V Northstar engine) Allante is on my list for cars to own;)

Alan

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  • 2 weeks later...

Alan, I will tell you the Allante "was" on my list of cars to own. And I "did". I had a nice one. But, no matter how well I treated that car it was a money pit. I was plagued with one electrical problem after another. You name it, it went wrong on my car. It got to be the opposite of fun so I sold it. A few years later I got the itch for a fun convertable car again to occupy the second stall in my garage. The TC honestly has proven to be a very fun and reliable toy for me. All-be-it not as feature laden as the Allante. When things occasionally do go wrong parts are cheap and attainable, and my mechanic can resolve the issues easilly and for a reasonable price. Not so on the Allante which really required a very high end mechanic with a lot of know how do diagnone and repair it $$$.

Stephen

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The Chrysler TC by Maserati was a "Q" body based on a Chrysler K platform grand tourer jointly developed by Chrysler and Maserati and introduced at the 1986 Los Angeles Auto Show. Conceived as a two-passenger luxury grand touring convertible and changed only in minor details from its early prototypes, the TC was intended to be Chrysler's image-building flagship.

The TC became available in late 1989 and 7,300 units were manufactured in Milan, Italy, by the time production halted in 1991. Chrysler also became an investor in Maserati during that period.

The 1989 TC used a slightly detuned Daytona-spec turbocharged 2.2 L straight-4 Chrysler K engine. This intercooled version, known as the Turbo II, was coupled to an A413 three-speed automatic transaxle.

The TC's platform was based on a shortened Dodge Daytona chassis with suspension and axles from the original model. The bodywork was produced by DeTomaso subsidiary Innocenti. The struts and shock absorbers were specially designed for the car by Fichtel and Sachs, and a Teves anti-lock braking system was standard. The special wheels were made in Italy by the Formula One supplier Fondmetal.

The TC featured a detachable hard top with opera windows (not included) and a manually operated cloth lined convertible top that was available in either tan or black. For the 1989 model year, interior leather colors were ginger or Bordeaux. Available exterior colors were yellow, red, or cabernet. The Boudreaux interior was only available with the cabernet exterior.

The TC's dash, door panels, seats, armrest, and rear fascia panels were covered in hand-stitched Italian leather. Inside door jambs were finished with stainless steel panels and sill plates. The convertible boot, over which the hardtop rests, is a body colored metal panel. A special interior storage compartment came with an umbrella, tool kit, and small spare tire that allowed the use of the full-sized trunk even with the top down. Standard equipment included a 10-speaker Infinity AM/FM cassette stereo, power windows, 6-way power seats, power door and trunk locks, map lights, puddle lamps, cruise control, and tilt steering wheel.

Although sharing styling cues with the LeBaron coupes and convertibles of the same period, the TC actually has relatively few components that are readily interchangeable with those found on other Chrysler products. Certainly almost all body panels and exterior trim items, as well as most of the interior furnishings are unique to the TC. With only 7300 examples made over the three year life of the model, and the availability of new replacement parts from Mopar steadily declining, today's TC owner's major preoccupation is stockpiling items against the inevitable crunch (figuratively speaking). There are several aftermarket suppliers and auctions.

1989 - 3,764 cars produced - $33,000 price in U.S. Dollars, + $550 destination charge.

My car for sale is a prime example of the 1989 model. Yellow with black soft top and ginger interior, it has all manuals, window sticker and salesman’s business card, accessories (except hardtop). The only non-operable item is the power antenna. Tread wear is good on all tires – original spare shows no use. Even the umbrella is there! If you want an original Chrysler TC, this is it!

Lynny

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  • 1 month later...

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