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FEATURE OF THE SEASON
The Chrysler TC Convertibles Roadster

When the sun is shinning high in the clear summer sky, nothing feels better than driving with the top down in a sporty convertible. But not all convertibles are created equally, some are for show and others are to be driven. This featured convertible was created as a show car, but prefers to be seen in motion.

Chrysler TC

Convertibles have always been produced in relatively small production runs. In the old day’s they were cheaper than their coupe counter parts, because less metal was used in the body of the car. Today’s convertibles have enhanced safety, advanced technologies, and more luxury accessories, so they are typically more expensive than similar hardtop vehicles. The production runs are still small, so buying a previously owned convertible can be more than a cost saver; it could be an investment into history.

In the late 80’s Lee Iacocca and Alejandro de Tomaso created a business arrangement between their automobile companies to create the Chrysler-Maserati TC. This was to be Chrysler’s flagship for luxury and style; however, this was not to be. Only 7300 TC rolled out of the Milan factory between model years 1989 and 1991.

Chrysler TC

This particular TC is now in the hands of its third owner, John, it is a bright red 1990 with a beige leather interior and has 26,000 original miles on the Mitsubishi made V-6 engine. It has been equipped with after-market multi-spoke chrome wheels, which adds nicely to the Italian mystic of this roadster. The interior is in good condition, except for some spots from where the rear window leaked long ago, a common problem with the vehicle. The soft-top has been replaced, but the hardtop is original and in good condition. The low mileage will be disappearing quickly as this TC starts traveling routine trips to Pennsylvania and Vermont to see the grandchildren.

Two roadster convertibles that can be found in the new car showrooms today are the Ford Thunderbird and Toyota MR-2. These two contrast more than they compare with the Thunderbird being one of the largest and the MR-2 being one of the smallest convertibles. Both vehicles continue the TC’s, or rather Iacocca’s, legacy of luxury, smooth ride, style, freedom and passion for the open road.

Ford created the new Thunderbird in much the same spirit as the TC; however, no one at Ford would ever say that. There are rumors flying around that Ford will be discontinuing the Thunderbird due to poor sales. Sounds similar to the TC story. The Thunderbird didn’t become the flagship symbol that Ford envisioned, so now, it faces that same fate as the TC.

Toyota based the reintroduced MR-2 “spyder” in 2000 from the Corolla. They designed the MR-2 for drivers and nothing else. It has a great engine, drive train, chassis, and roomy cabin for such a small car. The only thing missing is a trunk. It is only for “light” day-trips or commuting around town.

The TC is without a doubt a well-rounded two-seater roadster. The interior is driver friendly and built with better quality materials than other Chryslers of the day. The leather seats wrap around the driver and passenger like gloves with good support and a handy armrest. Visibility of the road and the simple instrument display are great during the day and at night. The power windows and seat controls are small by today standards, but are easy to reach and to operate. The TC also has a nice roomy truck, there is nothing worse than having a weekend car, such as a convertible, and having no place to store a weekend bag.

The ride is smooth as any luxury coupe should be and power is adequate for an average driver. For better or worse the TC is front wheel drive. The MR-2 and Thunderbird are rear wheel drive, as are most new roadsters. The TC’s Mitsubishi 6-cylinder engine produces 141 horsepower at 5000rpm and 171 pd-ft of torque at 2800rpm. Fuel economy is respectable at an average of 18 city and 24 highway.

The MR-2 produces 138 horsepower at 6400rpm and 125 pd-ft of torque at 4400rpm. This is a lot of power for a car that only weights 2200 lbs.

The Thunderbird produces 280 horsepower at 6000rpm and 268 pd-ft of torque at 4000rpm. Ford didn’t want a muscle car, but it is not grandma’s Sunday church mobile.

The Chrysler-Maserati TC is a great collector’s car and a great driver’s car. The only problem with the car is that it looks too similar to the Chrysler LaBaron of the same time. There are a couple Chrysler TC for sale on Ebay for less than ten thousand. The cheapest Thunderbird auction is at 23K and the reserve is not meet, yet. A previous owned 2000 or 01 MR-2 in excellent condition could be had for about 18K.

 

 
 
   
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