Rare Manual Halo Car: 70k-Mile 1990 Chrysler TC 5-Speed by Maserati

  • April 14, 2021
The Rundown
  • Chrysler’s High-End Early-1990s Luxury Cruiser
  • Very Nice Condition & Presentation
  • 70k Seller-Stated Miles of Use
  • Turbocharged DOHC 16-Valve 4-Cylinder Engine
  • Rare 5-Speed Manual Transmission
  • Very Nice & Luxurious Leather Interior
  • Complete w/ Body-Color Auxiliary Hardtop
Why We Like It

Truly, this Zero260 contributor loves most every car ever made; however, the Chrysler LeBaron-based TC by Maserati of 1989-'90 must be considered the automotive equivalent of a solution looking for a problem. Not that the car wasn’t any good – it was quite good, in fact, offering sleek styling, an opulent interior, front-wheel drive, and a robust turbocharged, 16-valve 4-cylinder powerplant (a Mitsubishi-sourced V6 was substituted for 1990), and some engineering and assembly work by the storied Maserati firm in Italy. A lift-off auxiliary hardtop offered year-round weather protection, and “Porthole” side windows curiously recalled Ford’s original 2-seater Thunderbirds. Envisioned as a premium level “Halo” model, the TC unfortunately arrived just in time for the painful, job crushing early-1990s recession, compounded by the scares and shocks of Desert Shield/Desert Storm, the good-looking Chrysler TC was priced at a sales stunting $30k, all conspiring to limit production to just some 7,000 examples over two model years.

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rare-5-speed-halo-car-70k-mile-1990-chrysler-tc-by-maserati00b0b 6ACjX1XPDD6z 0CI0t2 1200x900Our subject 1990 Chrysler TC by Maserati is a pretty clean machine, equipped with a very rare manual 5-speed front transaxle, and the seller states the car shows very well with under 70k original miles. Both the hard and soft tops are reported to be in excellent condition. Documents include a clean Carfax, several repair invoices, and original owner’s manual. According to the seller, everything functions as it should, including A/C.

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Valuation Verdict

This nice survivor represents a textbook case of a great car that was released for sale at the wrong time. While far less original design and engineering went into the TC, this automotive debacle recalls the sad failure of Ford Motor Company’s unbelievably huge, nay – staggering, investment into the short-lived Continental Mk II of 1956-'57. While the Chrysler TC by Maserati was devised during the peak economic exuberance of the late 1980s, potential buyers were unmoved when it hit the market with a dead cat bounce, especially considering its lofty $30k MSRP for a K-Car derivative with some fancy bits. We've seen considerably lower mileage 5-speed examples sell at auction for the same price as this one, and even though finding another manual car could take quite a while, we'd like to see this one sell for closer to 'Fair Market' at about 25% less than the advertised ask.

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