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1990 Chrysler's TC by Maserati

I described the Chrysler Fifth Avenue as ridiculous. The Chrysler's TC by Maserati (that's the name of the car, and that's what it says on it) is another ridiculous automobile...but for different reasons. While the Fifth Avenue was a pile of amortized parts slapped together for a quick profit, the TC took a good amount of determination and planning to be what it was. It's an audacious car...audacious and ridiculous at once.

 

Like almost every new Chrysler product of 1981-91, it looked like a box and was a glorified K-car underneath it all. Power was provided by a wheezy turbocharged four-cylinder engine or, if you were lucky, the oil-burning Mitsubishi 3.0L V6 familiar in other Chrysler products. Unlike other Chrysler products, the TC was built in Italy and priced higher than a Mercedes-Benz 190E.

 

It also has Lee Iacocca's stamp all over it. He designed it with Alejandro de Tomaso (just like the De Tomaso Pantera in the 1970s!), and he gave it a removable hardtop with a round porthole in it (just like the Thunderbird in his earliest days at Ford!). He probably went on enough nostalgia trips in this car to encircle the earth.

 

To be fair, the TC did have a few positive qualities. It did offer a sumptuous hand-stitched leather interior...at least, until the leather disintegrated in the afternoon sun. It came with a complementary tool kit and umbrella. And, it looked a touch more impressive at the valet pull-in than a Dodge Shadow convertible, which cost less than half as much.

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Taken on August 7, 2011