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   I recently came into possession of a fine Italian touring roadster, a 1991 Maserati TC convertible. A wonderful triple black automobile with luxurious hand stitched Italian leather interior, (leather might even be from Corinthian cows), stylish European grill and badging, full power, AC, heater, a Mitsubishi 3.0l V6 Chrysler mini-van engine(!), four wheel anti-lock disc brakes...the list of luxury, sporting accessories goes on. Only 127K actual miles but hey, it runs, drives and stops ,didn't have to bring a trailer and it was cheap!!! Most everything works on the car except the odometer, the radio and the left turn signal light in the dash works sometimes, sometimes not. I enjoy convertible motoring but live in Western Washington state, USA where it rains most of the time so a rag top is not the most practical car but this fine Maserati was imported from Italy with a rare removable hard top, just like a Corvette or Baby Bird, the hard top even has portholes like a ship. How many cars ever had portholes like a ship? Not many that I'm aware of. Soft top, hard top w/portholes, certainly the best of both words, rain or shine.

   OK, all joking aside, it's actually just a Chrysler K car that cost $37,000(!), a LeBaron to be exact that was assembled in Italy with a Japanese engine, a truly international automobile by anyone's standards, the

brainchild of two forward thinking 1980s-1990s automotive risk takers, Lee Iacocca of Chrysler and Alejandro de Tomaso of Pantera/Maserati fame. What were they thinking? They couldn't give these things away! It's a turkey but parts are cheap, it runs good and it will always be the only one at the car show. What's not to love?

  Anyway, any TC owners out there give me a shout, K car owners too for that matter.

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I always thought those things were sexy...

 

I drove an 87 Aries sedan for a couple years. It was the last car Mama bought and after her death I said this thing gets 30mpg and wagon and truck get 15- why am I not driving it to work? It served me well until Bambi came dancing out in the highway in front of it. Bambi destroyed my K, but at least I gave her a flight thru the air before she landed back in the road and got run over again. A good car in above average condition, 94k when Bambi destroyed it. NCSHP said if it was less than $1000 damage and no injuries they wouldn't send a trooper to the scene. I said the car was way more than a grand in damage but wasn't worth $600 on its best day.

 

Branch heads, fooey. If a farmer didn't manage his livestock and keep it out of the road any better than the state does, he'd be under the jail.

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37 minutes ago, rocketraider said:

I always thought those things were sexy...

 

I drove an 87 Aries sedan for a couple years. It was the last car Mama bought and after her death I said this thing gets 30mpg and wagon and truck get 15- why am I not driving it to work? It served me well until Bambi came dancing out in the highway in front of it. Bambi destroyed my K, but at least I gave her a flight thru the air before she landed back in the road and got run over again. A good car in above average condition, 94k when Bambi destroyed it. NCSHP said if it was less than $1000 damage and no injuries they wouldn't send a trooper to the scene. I said the car was way more than a grand in damage but wasn't worth $600 on its best day.

 

Branch heads, fooey. If a farmer didn't manage his livestock and keep it out of the road any better than the state does, he'd be under the jail.

Bambi did not die in vain, did the world a great service, sent a K car to the scrapyard. RIP Bambi.

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If it were up to me the Virginia Whitetail would be totally exterminated. The K was not the only car a branch head took out. One ran into the side of a 1973 Delta 88 convertible so hard it sprung the top frame- this happened at 10am on a city street. I have lost four cars to them and 3 more sustained significant but repairable damage. Branch heads, fooey. 

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Guy down the street bought one brand new. Im thinking it was a tan colour. I always liked them, thought they were pretty good looking cars, compared to what else was on the road at the time. Still a bit stylish. If the 'keep it running' cost isnt too bad, would make a decent little knock around car.

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The TC was one of Iacocca's most poorly kept secrets, and broken promises, at least for Canada.  After teasing the public with photos several years before it became reality in 1989, and even showing the pale yellow concept at the major auto shows in North America in 1987, they made the announcement, it wouldn't be available in Canada.

 

Craig

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Absolutely, far too expensive for what it was, lacked the performance one would expect from an automobile badged with the Maserati trident. Not a bad car, not a great car but a unique, interesting, low production car with ties to an exotic, Italian super-car marque. What's not to love?

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"too expensive" cars often depreciate very quickly and are not popular on the used market. GM FRAC cars of the 80s are a good example.

That said I know one collection in Orlando (Dezerland) that has at least a dozen TCs.

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The styling was too similar to the much cheaper LeBaron, especially when the hardtop was removed.  The manual transmission cars had different engines with more Maserati in them, but few buyers opted for it.

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If I am not mistaken it is not on a LeBaron or  K platform as it is shorter.

I went thru the TC Maserati phase some years ago, Sure wish I hadn't sold that twin cam.

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I've only owned this car since last Thursday so I am not an expert but from what I am finding it was what Chrysler termed a G (or maybe a Q) platform, second generation K platform with a shortened length which was also common to the Dodge Daytona, LeBaron convertible and other MOPARS of the era. Early models had a turbo four banger, Cosworth heads or some such thing, then they put a Mitsubishi 3.0l V6 mini-van engine in the later ones which is what I have. It seems basically the TC is a LeBaron convertible that came with a removable hardtop, leather interior and some special trim and badging, twice the price of the Lebaron which came out years before. 1702860945_ScreenShot2021-01-12at11_10_21AM.thumb.png.f53a3f878e53a6136e5990784f505259.png

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Both were available at the same time. Not a bad beer. But then I also remember a car that came of the assembly line as an Aspen on one side and a Volare on the other.

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3 minutes ago, padgett said:

Both were available at the same time. Not a bad beer. But then I also remember a car that came of the assembly line as an Aspen on one side and a Volare on the other.

 

No big deal.  Lots of car & trucks had one name on the front/different on the back. Also white walls on one side and black walls on the other.  Cloth seats front, vinyl in the rear, and the list goes on.  I have not seen it all, but a lot of it.  It happened a lot years ago.

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1 hour ago, padgett said:

But then I also remember a car that came of the assembly line as an Aspen on one side and a Volare on the other.

More than one of those it seems.....😆

 

Price difference in Aspen and Volare? $1 according to Waverly (VA) motors back when he had both on the showroom floor (1977?). Of course small town so it was just those two cars on the floor.

 

Next up from the TC is a BiTurbo.😉

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Remember seeing one new on a dealer lot with a rusted tailgate.

Suspect rental I had was a 2.2 I4 automagic. Remember trying to accelerate out of a stop sign and wondering if anything was happening. Gas mileage was terrible mainly because floored most of the time. Like a Renault Alliance (overheated before I left the airport) and a Pontiac Aztec (could not see out the back in a light rain), never wanted another.

 

Always preferred small rent cars, had a lot of Pintos with nary a bit of trouble.

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Speaking from experience, in the past I've owned two MOPAR mini-vans with the Mitsubishi 3.0L V6 engine, both were reliable engines with good power, 70 MPH on the freeway all day long without complaining, never smoked or leaked. I purchased this Mase'ratty' TC because it had this particular engine, rebuilt. I don't need the hassles of an exotic, high revving turbo charged four banger with a Cosworth head, I wanted a fun, dependable driver. No substitute for displacement. Sorry, in my opinion this car is too heavy to be powered by a 2.2L four cylinder engine no matter how it is aspirated. These V6 engines make good power, the gearing is good for this car, OD four speed trans, FLAPS has parts. I agree, the car is a bit of a sleeper...and the top has portholes like a ship...a.k.a. opera windows to some folks. 🤪

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The TCs with the  V6s are the least desirable. 

The twin cam is to be reckoned with, I've had all three and the twin cam 5 speed doesn't compare.

Real hot rods have three pedals.

I am sure they all drive well for what they are and handle comparably.

But that Cosworth will run circles around the other two.

But, as long as we are having fun I always say.

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I think the TC's are cool cars, and I wouldn't mind having one at all! I guess they sort of do look like LeBarons, though. That hadn't occurred to me before this thread (I didn't pay much attention to new cars back when these were made.)

 

The TC strikes me as one of those cars that's looked down on by some people, and looked up to by other people. Post -'54 Hudsons and Packards are that way. One group of people likes the Hudsons and Packards that made the Hudson and Packard companies famous. Other folks who are primarily AMC or Studebaker fans might think the post-'54 versions of those cars are very cool. Same with Nash. 

 

I know that it's hard for some fellow T-Bird fans to consider the four door 67-71 versions as actual T-Birds, but I think they're cool. You can look at it one of two ways: they're either the goofiest T-birds made in the 1960's and 70's...or the absolutely coolest American four door sedans! Both of those perspectives are valid. 

 

I think it's probably true that cars with such split public perceptions may not ever be worth great sums of money, but I generally like them.  I think the TC is a nice looking car. It may not be the prettiest Maserati, but there were a few actual Maseratis that were just as pedestrian:

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I like the car, but I guess that my feeling goes deeper then that. So many collectors are willing to sweep a whole decade of American cars under the rug. The feeling seems to be, since they have little value, they have little to interest us. I look at the 80's as a veritable treasure trove of valuable seldom seen cars. The K platform like Ford's Fox bodies provided a myriad of styling exercises, from which to choose. Where else can you shop on Craigslist and get a turn key vintage car for less then $10K?

https://seattle.craigslist.org/oly/ctd/d/hoquiam-1989-chrysler-tc-by-maserati/7262492860.html

https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/ctd/d/edmonds-1991-maserati-tc/7263085091.html

Edited by Buffalowed Bill (see edit history)
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