The Reason The Chrysler TC By Maserati Was A Failure

With Lee Iacocca at the helm, Chrysler was having a heyday in the 1980s. The K platform was a wild success and served as the underpinnings for several Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth models for the better part of a decade. This era birthed memorable models like the Plymouth Reliant and Dodge Caravan. 

Chrysler even practically invented the minivan in this time period with the 1984 Plymouth Voyager. The automaker figured that making small, efficient family cars was the best course of action to get out of the "Malaise Era" that plagued American automakers throughout the 1970s. 

By the late 1980s, Chrysler wanted a new stylish car, and Italian automaker Maserati wanted to stay alive, according to Motorweek. After years of delays, the Italians and Americans came to an agreement: Maserati would make the body, and Chrysler would make the powertrain. With that, the confusingly named Chrysler TC by Maserati was born and ready to take the world by storm. 

It was American power combined with Italian styling and luxury. What could go wrong? 

[Featured image by Mesatrooper via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled | CC BY-SA 3.0]

A LeBaron in an Italian suit

Unfortunately, a lot went wrong with the TC. After a troubled development, the TC arrived on American shores looking quite a lot like a LeBaron convertible with a Maserati badge. But with a price tag of $33,000, it was a fair bit cheaper than its other Italian/American rival, the Cadillac Allante.

On the outside, the TC by Maserati was not the most striking vehicle. It's not a bad-looking car, by any means. But the car would practically disappear when parked next to any other convertible from the era. From afar, it's basically indistinguishable from an average dentist's LeBaron. 

Under the Maserati trident badge, it's powered by a turbocharged 2.2L Chrysler four-cylinder. A 2.2L with Maserati heads was also apparently available. But Motorweek's John Davis was doubtful anyone would buy it. 

Turns out, he was right. Despite initially selling well, The Chrysler TC failed to make waves in the automotive world. It could be blamed on the inordinate name, the lackluster styling, or the less-than-stellar engine choices. The Italian/American collaboration seemed like it was doomed from the start. 

Despite the TC's failure, some diehard Chrysler fans keep the Italian Chrysler dream alive. For everyone else, it was a weird-looking LeBaron. 

[Featured image by Greg Gjerdingen via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled | CC BY-SA 2.0]