Look what’s made its way to a charmingly seedy part of Budapest: One of the 7,300 Chrysler TC’s by Maserati. It’s horrible enough to stop a seasoned car geek dead in his tracks.
That seasoned car geek would be me. And my tracks were leading across the old Jewish quarter of Budapest, along crooked little streets with houses which still bear
the bulletholes of the Siege of Budapest, when I spotted this…thing.
It was parked in front of the local Bangladeshi hole-in-the-wall (which has an awesome map of South Asia that takes care of the whole issue of Jammu and Kashmir by allocationg the whole shebang to India, K2 and all), and it looked like one of the run-down Maserati Biturbo coupés you can spot around town, but it was something way tackier.
I would have to be Murilee to say this without the help of Wikipedia, but it definitely had a whiff of K-car about it. I have, of course, never seen a Chrysler TC by Maserati. It was clearly destined for the American market, giant chrome Maserati-Chrysler logo and all.
There are many lovely Italian-American chimaeras in the history of the automobile—including the De Tomaso Pantera, an earlier collaboration between Lee Iacocca and Alejandro De Tomaso—but the Chrysler TC by Maserati is not one of them. To contemplate the global raid on parts bins that accompanied its birth is to risk a
major headache. Not that there’s anything wrong with sourcing bits and pieces from all over the world, but the TC managed to combine the very worst of Italian and American cars.
It’s hard to properly describe the utter revulsion induced by this car. Everything about it is wrong, wrong, plain wrong. The seats. The steering wheel. The shift knob, which combines a wooden Italian shifter with a grip-like American automatic lever to dreadful effect. The generic plastic switches. And who thought it was a good idea to merge the Pentastar and the Trident? And to think it sold for over $30,000 in 1989 dollars.
I love American cars and I love Italian cars, but this is such a travesty. And don’t even get me started on the Chrysler Delta.
Photo Credit: hettie (top photo) and Peter Orosz