Red Barchetta Numero Due: 1991 Chrysler TC Convertible

Well…we asked for it, & DT readers delivered.  The Cadillac Allanté featured on Saturday generated a rash of comments and a reader tip about an estranged brethren.  Who would have guessed there could be two different cross-bred Italian/American convertibles sold the same year…in red no less??  Fancy the pair?  Find this 1991 Chrysler TC Convertible here on eBay in Lake Huntington, NY with a $2500 starting reserve & 4 days to go. Tip from Hugh.

During his heydays at Ford, Lee Iacocca developed relations in Italy whilst developing the De Tomaso Pantera.  It just so happened that Alejandro de Tomaso also owned the famed Maserati brand at the time.  When good ole Lee was hired to bring Chrysler back from the brink, he signed an agreement with Maserati to develop a sport coupe, or known internally as “Q-coupé”.  When the car was announced, Lee made a bold statement that it would be the prettiest Italian to arrive in America since his mother immigrated. Hmmm…..not quite sure what that says about his mother!

While GM was keeping OPEC happy flying assembled Allanté bodies around the planet, Chrysler chose to have the complete car assembled in Italy then boated to the US. TC Production began in 1989 and reached 7300 units over a a two year period.  All cars sold as 1991 models were actually manufactured in 1990.  Based on the famed K-platform, this example left Milan equipped with a Mitsubishi-sourced 3.02 L 141 bhp V6 engine and 4-speed AT.  Neither Chrysler or Maserati were viewed as high quality manufactures during this era, and journalists quoted the TC as a combination of the worst from each partner.

Poor lighting and camera angles make it hard to see the true condition, but the snippets supplied seem to confirm the 69K original miles stated.  For the life of me I cannot understand buying one of these in 1991 and thinking it would be a good idea to limit the usage over the next 25 years?  These were not cheap cars when new; MSRP on this example was 37K, nearly 65K in today’s money.  While still a whole lot less than the Allanté MSRP, high cost and poor quality spelled doom for the TC.

Even though it wears the Maserati badge, there is no mistaking this car as a Chrysler product.  One just needs to look at the LeBaron convertible and instantly inbreeding pops to mind.  If you really must find yourself a specimen (maybe for weird experiments…), hold out for one of the 501 units produced with the Maserati massaged 200 HP 4-cylinder engine and Geartrag manual 5-speed transmission…at least then when people point and laugh you could chirp the tires to a symphony of 16 valves.

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When not receiving complaints of “distracted by cars…again” from his wife, Glenn can be found in the kitchen whipping up exotic cuisine and nourishing nosh.