Featured on AutoHunter, the online auction platform driven by ClassicCars.com, is this 1989 Chrysler TC by Maserati.

The 1980s were a confusing time for the American car industry. Having finally understood that luxury cars built in the U.S. were seriously falling behind the cars built in Europe, they looked for ideas to make models that would appeal to owners who had moved away from the domestic built options. In typical 1980s U.S. automaker form, some of these cars were interesting ideas but did not really compete with their competitors from Europe.

One of these cars which has one of the longest names I have ever heard, and one that I like despite its shortcomings, is the Chrysler TC by Maserati.

The Chrysler TC by Maserati was Lee Iacocca’s idea for a world class Chrysler luxury car. The car was introduced at the 1986 Los Angeles Auto Show. The car would not be available for sale until late 1988 as a 1989 model due to two years of development delays. These cars offered luxurious interiors and bodies manufactured in Milan, Italy. They were powered by three different engines: the Chrysler turbo 2.2 liter engine, the 3 liter Mitsubishi turbo V6, and a twin cam Maserati assembled 2.2 liter. While many consider the Maserati-engine powered examples the best choice, due to lack of parts availability this engine can be an endless nightmare to keep running, so I personally would opt for one of the Chrysler-engined examples.

The car featured in this AutoHunter Spotlight is one of those 2.2 turbo powered examples. The seller describes the car as one that has covered 24,874 miles since new. Features include a power convertible top, power seats, power steering, an Infinity AM/FM/cassette stereo, air conditioning, power windows and locks, and power anti-lock disc brakes. 

The exterior of this Chrysler TC by Maserati is described as being in its factory original Exotic Red paint. It also includes the body-color removable hardtop with porthole windows and is currently installed on the car. Features include body-color bumpers with bright trim, yellow pinstriping, dual power mirrors with color-keyed housings, wheel opening moldings, side impact moldings, and a power antenna. The photos show a car exterior in excellent shape as you would expect from such a low mile example.

The interior is also completely original with power-adjustable Ginger Italian leather bucket seats surrounded by matching leather door panels and trim. Features include power steering, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a tilt steering column, and a center console-mounted automatic transmission shifter. Instrumentation includes a 125-mph speedometer, a 7,000-rpm tachometer, and gauges for the fuel level, oil pressure, coolant temperature, and voltage located in the leather-covered instrument panel. The odometer reads 24,874 miles; the last reported mileage figure of 24,581 was logged in the CARFAX report in August 2011.

Under the hood is the ChryslerTurbo II turbocharged 2.2-liter I4 backed by a three-speed automatic transaxle. When new, the engine produced 160 horsepower and 171 lb-ft of torque. Again, the engine compartment looks to be original and looks like you would expect a low mile example to look. The under hood insulation pad has long perished but these are actually available for a reasonable price of around $125.

These cars are in the middle ground of collectability. They honestly offer quite a bit of cool for the money and are also rare with a total of only around 7,300 cars built during three years of production. The TC has a very active owners club and would be a great candidate to take to a RADwood or Concours d’Lemons event as they would be welcome at either. They are also a supremely comfortable car to drive and offered build quality that no other car from Chrysler could equal at the time. That combined with low operating costs makes the Chrysler TC by Maserati an interesting car to own at an affordable price. It is impossible to find a nicer example of a car wearing the Maserati badge for less than the cost of the TC.

The auction for this 1989 Chrysler TC by Maserati ends Wednesday, April 17, 2024 at 12:00 p.m. (PDT)

Visit the AutoHunter listing for more information and photo gallery

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