Lee Iacocca didn’t miss much over the course of his career, but no one’s perfect. The dude battled for the Mustang, implemented the mini-van concept, championed the K-car that saved Chrysler, and still stands as one of the great auto executives of all time. And yet, here we are. The introduction of the 1989 Chryster TC by Maserati was supposed to be another of his triumphant ideas. Combining a solid platform with the prestige and reputation of a legendary Italian automaker was going to produce a sporty, luxurious car that rich dudes at the country clubs wanted to buy. What it ended up producing was an expensive, underwhelming car that very few people wanted.
Now, the Chrysler TC by Maserati is one of THOSE cars. Meaning, there is a rabid, small, and dedicated fan base for these things and they don’t take kindly to negative speak about these machines. Hell, I knew one of them who used to come race their stock example at the Ohio Mile years ago. I have nothing against the cars but they do stand as weird example of what happens when too many ideas and concepts end up cancelling each other out.
The process of making these things was even insane. Parts and pieces went back and forth between the US and Italy, the relationship between Chrysler and Maserati was all but obliterated before the first one was sold and it didn’t get a whole lot better from there.
Ultimately it wasn’t different enough from the LeBaron that the company was already selling. It looked really close to the standard Chrysler and cost twice as much. It fell into the hole some cars do. It was expensive enough to make it sound exclusive but if the intended audience found the LeBaron to low brow for themselves already, they certainly wouldn’t be in on this thing whether it had a slightly more refined look and Maserati badges on it. Hell, the top wasn’t event power up/down.
If you love these cars, awesome. We’re not telling you that you’re wrong. It was just a gross miscalculation by Chrysler with the wrong partner. Don’t listen to us, let the guys and girls at MotorWeek tell you.