Junkyard Find: 1991 Chrysler TC by Maserati

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1991 chrysler tc by maserati

With The General offering a costlier-than- an-S-Class Cadillac built in Turin and Hamtramck (the two assembly lines connected via custom-built 747 freighters) as well as Italianate Buicks and Oldsmobiles in the late 1980s, Lee Iacocca decided to leverage Chrysler’s investment in Maserati to create a K-Car-based Italian sports car: the TC by Maserati. Like the Allanté, Troféo, and Reatta, the TC hasn’t held its value so well over the decades, and I find the occasional example during my junkyard travels. Here’s a crashed ’91 in a yard near Denver, Colorado.

Chrysler made a big deal out of the TC’s Italian origins, but it was as closely related to the LeBaron as was the Allanté to the Eldorado. Actually, much of the suspension came from the related Dodge Daytona.

Still, the TC was built in Italy, and those LeBaron-ish bodies were handmade by Italian craftsmen.

The TC was sold for the 1989 through 1991 model years, and all the ’89s had a 2.2-liter turbocharged Chrysler four-cylinder (making either 160 or 200 horses, depending on whether you got the base engine or the Cosworth-headed DOHC version). For 1990 and 1991, the TC could be purchased with a 3.0-liter Mitsubishi 6G72 V6 engine, rated at 141 horsepower. That’s what’s in this car.

Unlike owners of the Allanté, Troféo, and Reatta, buyers of Chrysler’s TC by Maserati could get a manual transmission in their cars… but only if they selected the four-cylinder engine. All of the Mitsu-ized TCs got a four-speed A604 slushbox.

This car appears to have been a well-cared-for low-miler.

Then it got into a crash, and it’s a lot cheaper to buy a nice TC than it is to fix a wrecked one.

These stickers are never good news on a crashed car.

I keep hearing that these removable hardtops are worth big money, but this is the third one I’ve found in a cheap self-service yard. I hope some local TC aficionado grabs it before it reaches The Crusher.

A blending of Italian craftsmanship and American engineering!

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  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Sep 13, 2021

    One of the car mags described this car as the result of too many wine soaked lunches in southern italy with Lee Iacocca and DeTomaso. Some poor engineers were then tasked with making...something, and to a price. This was the result.

  • Jo Borras Jo Borras on Sep 14, 2021

    Terrible cars. I love them!

  • Randy in rocklin The Japanese can be so smart and yet so dumb. I'm America-Japanese and they really can be dumb sometimes like their masking paranoia.
  • Bunkie The Flying Flea has a fascinating story and served, inadvertently, to broaden the understanding of aircraft design. The crash described in the article is only part of the tale.
  • Master Baiter "I like the Earth."The idea that modern combustion engines are incompatible with the ongoing survival of the Earth, or of humanity, is breathtakingly stupid. Climate alarmism is akin to a religion--one to which I do not subscribe.
  • Skippity Key takeaways.Toyota is run by competent businessmen.Art doesn’t like Toyota.
  • MaintenanceCosts Audi has been a full player in the German luxury club for 20 years. It started to get there with the first A4, which was a 500-foot home run, and then achieved full recognition with the spectacular D3 A8.
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