Cheap Exotic? 1990 Chrysler TC By Maserati

Here’s another in our Cheap Exotic series. It’s a shame that these cars weren’t ready for the market before the new LeBaron was, I think it could have made all the difference. As it was, people couldn’t see paying over twice as much for a car that looked basically the same as a LeBaron even though they were totally different. This 1990 Chrysler TC by Maserati can be found posted here on craigslist in Adventura, Florida and the seller is asking $3,500. Thanks to Rocco B. for sending in this tip!

At an equivalent of $70,000 in 2021 dollars, this was not an inexpensive car. I would love to have a crystal ball to see if Chrysler and Maserati could have had better luck with these cars if they would have hit the market for 1987 model year when the Cadillac Allante did, a car that the Chrysler-Maserati team had in its sights. General mismanagement and bickering reportedly caused most of the delays, go figure.

$3,500 seems like a good price for a car in what appears to be in almost excellent condition, that’s just 5% of its original cost in 2021 money. If I wouldn’t have $1,500 in shipping costs I’d jump on this one, I’ve always wanted one for the unusual factor. Or, fly in and drive home, hmm… They were only made for the 1989, 1990, and 1991 model years, coming out in late-1988 instead of for the 1987 model year as originally intended.

The interiors were more Maserati-looking than Chrysler-looking as you can tell from the classic loose-wrinkle (I just made that up, in case you were wondering) leather seats and door panels. The steering wheel has seen better days, maybe the hot Florida sun cause it to deteriorate but that shouldn’t be a daunting fix for any halfway-decent interior shop.

This car has no back seat, but more of a spot for luggage, groceries, or maybe a set of golf clubs or something. The Infinity stereo was really something three decades ago and it appears that there is a Kenwood… something, a Bluetooth maybe? I don’t know what that is but I’m sure it’s a nice techno-upgrade from 1990 technology.

The engines were initially a 2.2L intercooled turbo-four with 160 hp and 500 cars received a Maserati 16-valve head version with 200 hp. Those are the ones to have today, they’re the rarest and most desirable for collectors. This car has a Mitsubishi 6G72, a 3.0L V6 which is a good engine but it had a mere 140 horsepower, not exactly exotic car territory. The seller gives us almost no information at all other than it’s a good weekend car and it has 77,000 miles on it. Have any of you owned one of these unusual cars?

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  1. alphasud Member

    This one looks like a good deal at $3500. At least the interior is in really good condition. I think the word exotic really doesn’t suit this car. The closest it would come to exotic would be having the 16 valve head. Chrysler has tried the Italian connection so many times but they have never succeeded. I was really hoping this latest attempt with Alfa Romeo would pan out due to my passion for the brand. Doesn’t look like that’s gonna happen though. Now with the PSA merger we might see a little French again. They really need to get their quality nailed down and have better marketing if they hope to make it work in America.

    Like 9
  2. eddie v.

    cheap price & Craigslist. fishy could be a bad deal very leary when it comes to cars on Craigslist.

    Like 5
    • CJinSD

      Seems to be a dealer called AventuraMotorInc. They don’t have the TC on their website, but Luan, the phone number, and some of the cars in the background are all accounted for.

      Like 4
  3. Todd Fitch Staff

    Hey Scotty – wow that’s nice and shiny for the price! Always watched these because my late father bought a ’95 LeBaron new and drove it until just a few years ago. I swapped a Daytona five-speed with a Hurst shifter into it when he wanted rid of the AOD. That V6 was smooth and a real joy with the five-speed and a Flowmaster 50. HOWEVER look at those gorgeous seats on this TC. A person could settle into those and just keep heading for the horizon. Thanks for bringing us this Ferrari-red Italian-ish drop-top.

    Like 9
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Thanks for sharing the photo, Todd, that’s great! And, swapping a 5-speed?! Legend.

      Truth be told, I thought I’d be buying that red TC but the seller never got back to me and when I looked up the dealership the phone numbers didn’t seem to jive and it’s almost too cheap and I figured it was too good to be true to be a real listing. Bummer.

      Like 4
      • CJinSD

        Odd. The dealer markets a number of their cars on ebay with the same first name and contact phone number as was used for the TC listing.

        Like 1
      • CJinSD

        Looking at their ebay feedback as a seller, there were only three transactions and two of the three car buyers were unhappy about them. One because they were hit with a $1,000 fee on a sub-$7,000 car, and the other because the car wasn’t as described.

        Like 3
  4. Superdessucke

    To answer the question in the article, I don’t think it would have done much better had it been introduced in ’87. I think people would have still seen it as a too-expensive K-car derivative. Also, the Allante did not sell well. Only 3,300 or so units its first year and sales stayed around that number throughout it’s short life. So this category of cars, not sure what you’d call it, had very limited appeal.

    As to this one for 3,500 bucks, why not? Bolt in a period-correct 2.5 liter Turbo IV motor and have some fun with it.

    Like 5
  5. TJ

    $3,500 seem a lot more realistic than the $35,000 my buddy thinks the one in his garage is worth. LOL

    Like 7
    • Dave Mazz

      TJ, Maybe your buddy is pricing his TC in Hong Kong dollars. :-) :-)

      Like 1
  6. David Frank David Member

    If you’d like to see a fun review of a TC, have a look at
    Allan is the Concours de Lemon guy. We have that 11,000 mile TC at the museum for way too much money. It’s about as nice an example as there is, but gee…
    After watching Allan’s review, it’s hard to imagine why anyone who saw the video would even consider a TC. LOL!

    Like 1
  7. DeeBee

    Cheap? yeah. Exotic? ummm, about as exotic as the polyester leisure suit the driver of this horror story likely wore! easily passable when new, even easier now!

    Like 2
  8. charlie Member

    IF you like the looks, and do not want it to cost you a lot to keep it going, and want to drive it a lot, which I do with my ’93 Allante, this is the kind of car to buy. Engine is reliable and cheap to repair if you need to. As noted, there are a few in museums already, so drive it. My Allante cost $3000 plus another $3000 to put it in condition to drive it – rear brakes, radiator, a bunch of sensors, etc. but next to nothing since (6 years) and top down, on a nice day, you can’t beat it dollar for dollar.

    Like 6
  9. Steve Clinton

    Checking out the photos on Craigslist, I have one question…is it red or maroon?

  10. Glenn Barnett

    Iv had four TCs in the last 14 years, including a16 valve! Each one had its quiriks but had fun with them all and never lost money on them! My current yellow with ginger leather is my favorite summer cruiser, owned 9 years now! Love the leather, Chrysler running gear, parts availability, good gas mileage turbo four that gets up and goes! and gets lots of compliments, I really like saying I own a Maserati!! But for the price of a LeBaron!

    Like 3
  11. Vic

    Nice car, but Chrysler and Italian reliability together on a 30 year old car, PRICELESS

    Like 1
  12. William

    The Mitsu V6 is a good engine, not thrilling, but reliable. If the price and the car are for real (questionable), at 3500, would make a nice fair weather commuter on the cheap. Also a great price for a weekend top down cruiser. Converts are not this cheap usually, might make someone very happy, but this ad seems too good to be true.

    Like 1
  13. charlie Member

    My Allante was only $3000, and, had I not brought a trailer with me so the dealer was pretty sure I was already sold, it would have been $2500. Think back to High School, why were some people, female and male, popular, and some not? Some for good reason, and some just because “everyone” thought they were. Same with cars. Two months after I bought it, a friend called to tell me there was one on a car lot for $1500. It ran but was pretty trashed, was an earlier model and had some parts I could use, but a different drive train and interior, and my wife was not into my bringing a parts car home. Assuming there are some things wrong with this, the price is reasonable. You would pay more for a Pacer!

  14. Denise

    I owned a 89 TC and had the good advice to get a 3 year, bumper-to-bumper insurance policy. The turbo was blown twice leaving me stranded each time on the highway, and the ABS brakes weren’t working. Chrysler didn’t have the right part number for the brakes. Without the help of a friend high up in Chrysler, we would have never worked out the part number mess that kept the parts “backordered” forever. The dealership invested more than I paid for the car. I eventually sold it to a fellow in another state, full disclosure, and he had it at his dealership before midnight of the day the bumper-to-bumper insurance expired. To my recollection, he had 3 or 4 other TCs. Beyond that, loved the car and it’s look. Mine was a 16 valve and was lots of fun to drive – when it was running. One real quirk was the wavy glass windshield. Something about the optics of the windshield that made it feel distorted – took a lot getting used to. My husband hated that.

    Like 1
  15. Stan Marks

    IMHO, What takes away the attraction, for this car, is putting the CHRYSLER name on it. Sorry Chrysler fans. Of the big 3 American auto makers (GM, Ford, Chrysler), Chrysler/Plymouth/Dodge, had the lowest quality/re-sale value.

    • Steve Clinton

      I remember Chrysler’s quality reputation vastly improved after suffering through the early sixties. The mid to late sixties cars were much improved. My parents owned a ’65 Dodge Monaco that was built like a tank (and was one of Mopar’s best designs, IMHO.)

      Like 1
      • charlie Member

        Quality has varied a lot over the years. I had 5 Dodge Caravans (some badged Plymouth, some Dodge, some Chrysler) and a son had one. At the same time we had a Saab or an Audi. The Caravans had twice as many repairs per mile as the foreign cars, at half the price each, so it was, cost wise, about even. The 2000 was the best overall, the 2006 the fanciest but the worst in build quality. The 2006 rusted badly, the navigation system was a joke, lighting controls failed, muffler rusted through (all the others went the 200,000 miles), engine had issues, etc, etc, but nursed it through the last 50,000 miles and it is Toyota from then on, except for the toys.

    • Stan Marks

      Charlie, I rest my case……

  16. Joe

    Yeah, collectors are clamoring for them.
    Everytime I see one, I think….. Why?

    • Steve Clinton

      As the saying goes “There’s an a** for every seat.”

      • Stan Marks

        Seems from the sports cars we’ve seen lately, those a**’s are pretty large, too. LOL!!
        The passenger seats are like new.

  17. Jasper

    These are the kinds of older cars to buy now. Cheap, unique, etc, etc. Never gonna be worth tons but are of still cool. I mean, to me, it has a certain intrigue and it’s more interesting than another 5.0L Mustang or a G body with the usual tacky ‘90s mods.

    Most of us don’t have Leno’s finances and sold our favorite cars, now so prized, years ago. Thus, we’ve been priced out of what we love. So we need to keep an open mind about what’s out there.

    I’ve been keeping myself busy and decently happy bringing back a Porsche 944 and a ‘97 Lexus LS400. Both excellent cars with merit and significance in one way or another that I rarely gave a second glance. And each of them can still be found in junkyards, so I still get that thrill of finding unobtainium for chump change.

  18. Joe

    This in my opinion was a Dodgerati. I’ve passed many a customer of referring to these.

    • Steve Clinton

      Did Tommy Lasorda drive one? (wink)

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