At $1,600, Would You Give This 1989 Chrysler TC By Maserati The TLC It Needs?

Nice Price or No Dice: 1989 Chrysler TC by Maserati
Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or No DiceIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Chrysler is probably the cheapest running car in America wearing the Maserati nameplate. It’s pretty worn, so let’s see if it’s cheap enough.

Advertisement

There are two ways to ensure a vehicle’s rarity. One is for the manufacturer to restrict production far below demand. The other is for that manufacturer to build a vehicle that’s just plain less desirable in the first place.

That was the case with the 1990 Toyota 4Runner SR5 we looked at yesterday. Its two-door body style was a less practical choice than its four-door sibling, something car buyers of the era acknowledged by gravitating to the latter. An initial lack of popularity means that there are fewer examples on the road today, a fact the 4Runner’s seller seemed to play up in the car’s ad. At $7,900, however, few of you were having it, and the Toyota fell in a 68 percent No Dice loss.

undefined
Photo: Craigslist

What, to your way of thinking, defines a rare car? This exceedingly rough 1989 Chrysler TC by Maserati is apparently one of only 7,300 examples ever produced. Would you consider that to be rare? Let’s break that down even further. This TC is one of only 1,454 to have left Italy in 1989 wearing Cabernet paint. Further, it’s one of only 649 to sport the Bordeaux leather interior that year, and one of just 650 to do so in total.

That’s reasonably rare, and that may make investing a bit of cash, and perhaps some sweat equity, in this car something more than just a fool’s errand. There’s plenty to do here, too. That Cabernet paint — or at least the clear coat over it — is failing across all the horizontal panels and around the removable roof. We don’t even get to see what sort of shape the soft top is in.

undefined
Photo: Craigslist
Advertisement

Other issues include an interior that could use some saddle soap. Or maybe a couple of gallons of it. The rearview mirror is dangling off the windshield, and the steering wheel looks as if it came from Edward Scissorhands’ Uber. Quite remarkably, the center armrest appears to have escaped the ravages of age and neglect.

undefined
Photo: Craigslist
Advertisement

There’s still more to be done under the hood. The 2.2-liter Turbo II SOHC four that lives there is suffering from what the seller claims to be a misfire; it manages to muster only three of the engine’s cylinders. With all the pistons available, the engine should make around 160 horsepower. There’s no telling what it will take to get the missing ponies back in the corral.

It’s not all doom and gloom here, however. The seller says the car has a clean title and current registration. On top of that, it registers only 101,000 miles and is said to come with a fresh set of tires on its factory alloy wheels. The engine issues haven’t kept it down either, as the seller claims to have made the trek from Las Vegas to Los Angeles in the car.

Advertisement
undefined
Photo: Craigslist

That should have been quite the trip, and likely a fairly luxurious affair, what with the TC’s Italian leather upholstery and automatic gearbox. That A413 three-speed was the only transmission offered with the Turbo II engine. If you really want a TC with a manual you’ll have to wait around for one of the 16-valve editions that were available only with a Getrag five-speed stick. There were 501 of those built.

Advertisement

The most important question is whether anyone should want a Chrysler TC by Maserati at all. This is an important piece of both Mopar and Maserati history, but admittedly it’s a bit of a laughable piece of that history. In fact, it’s debatable whether it was this model or the Biturbo that had a greater impact on the denigration of the Maserati brand in enthusiasts’ minds.

undefined
Photo: Craigslist
Advertisement

That doesn’t make this any less interesting a car, though. And with a $1,600 asking price, it’s well within the reach of many. This is, as noted, likely to be the cheapest licensed and drivable car wearing the Maserati name available to buy today. In a somewhat ironic move, the seller has snapped the photos for the ad in a strip mall parking lot in front of a business called the “Bank of Hope.”

How does all that make you feel? Is $1,600 a fair price for a somewhat needy car with a comically tainted past? Or, does the car’s condition and the model’s history, have you telling this TC to GTFO?

Advertisement

You decide!

Advertisement

Los Angeles Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.

DISCUSSION

I’ve written this about this car before.

My wife tells me I lack articulation and tact. So I’ll try to get this across as well I can. But fuck this car. Fuck this cars price. Fuck whomever sold this car new. Fuck whomever bought this car new. Fuck the DMV that issued this car a title. Fuck which and whomever sees this car and stand’s around and looks at it. Fuck whichever HOA allows this car to enter it. Fuck whichever dipshit thought this car was a good idea to design, build and market. Fuck the companies that make spare parts for this car. This car is like Nazi memorabilia. We should never forget the massive mistake and reverse in human evolution that incurred, because of it’s invention. But at the same time, we should never popularize its invention. Save a few examples (say 20) feed the rest into one of those giant car wood chippers. Melt the pieces down to make memorials of useful and beautiful cars we sadly don’t have enough examples of (Tuckers, Shelby Datonas, Jaguar D types, etc) and place the rest in a series of museums. Hopefully placed where future car designers and golf enthusiasts (the assholes that bought this horrible abomination) will see it. And hopefully never let this dark and destructive chapter of human existence repeat itself.

So no. I don’t think this is a good price for this car.

But. This car is cheap enough to buy and destroy. Someone sell this to Top Gear America so they can run it over with a tank.