Tag Archives: Maserati

Car Spot: A Chrysler with an Italian accent

This was Lido’s idea

Lee Iacocca did a lot of great things in his automtive career. He invented the Ford Mustang and the pony car market and the mini van while at Chrysler, again creating another market. In fact he is credited for saving Chrysler in the 80’s but he had a few clunkers like the Chrysler TC by Maserati, this week’s car spot I found at a reseller near my home.

Lee Iacocca at the introduction of the K-car.

After Chrysler become an investor in Maserati in 1985, Lido set the wheels in motion for a joint development car and claimed that the planned “Q-coupe” would be the prettiest Italian to arrive stateside since his mother immigrated. Ummm, sure. The luxury roadster, which resembled a Chrysler LeBaron because it shared many of the LeBaron’s components but took five years to complete mainly because Chrysler and Maserati engineers didn’t play well in the same sandbox. The original plan was for the TC to be introduced before the LeBaron.

It was powered by a variety of engines sourced from anemic Chrysler and Mitsubishi engines but they were cheap and kind of off the shelf stuff. Then they upped the game. 500 cars were built with an optional drivetrain consisting of a Getrag manual transmission and a 16-valve head version of Chyrsler’s 2.2 L. It was called the Maserati engine because it was assembled by Maserati and has a Maserati-branded cast valve cover.

The 200 hp engine’s parts came from all over. The cylinder head was cast in England by Cosworth and finished in Italy by Maserati. The pistons came from Mahle GmbH in Germany. It used a specially-made 2.2 block, upgraded crankshaft, and rods. A turbocharger was sourced from IHI. The rest of the engine used common Turbo II parts made in the United States.

The car’s platform was based on a shortened Dodge Daytona chassis with suspension and axles from the original model, except for the 5-speed Getrag with “Maserati” engine. The bodywork was produced by De Tomaso. The struts and shocks were specially designed for the car by Fichtel and Sachs, and a Teves anti-lock braking system was standard. The special wheels were made in Italy by a company that was a supplier to Formula One.

Does this opera window remind you of another car? How about the baby Bird?

Just about every Chrysler executive hated the car and thought it should be witten off but Iacocca refused to accept responsibility for its failure pinning it on his marketers because the car had not been positioned propery in the upscale market.  Most outpoken at Chrysler was Bob Lutz who said the partnership resulted in only the TC, a “misadventure” that wound up costing Chrysler “close to $600 million in 1985 dollars. The cost in 2021 dollaars would be $165,930 in 2021 dollars. Yikes!

Yes, that is a cellular phone.

So what would you expect with a car that was overpriced and poor design? It was projected to sellbetween 5,000 and 10,000 units, ibut only hit 7,200. In contrast, the LeBaron GTC had more color choices and exactly the same features at a considerably cheaper price. Reviewers call it out for not luxurious and only nominally European. Does this all sound vagely familiar? Read my car spot on the Cadillac Allanté. What are they worth now? Around ten grand will get you into one of these “european type sports cars”.

Be sure to check back next Friday for another one of my car spots along with a bit of history behind them. Have a great weekend.

Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1940 & ’41 Indy 500 Maseratis

Replicarz Maserati

Latest 1/43 scale Maserati racers are a colorful duo …

The late 1930s and early 1940s saw race cars developing quickly into what we would consider modern racers and Wilbur Shaw and his Boyle Special, a Maserati 8CTF, led the way at the Indianapolis 500, but others followed quickly.

In 1939 Shaw won the 500 in his Maserati with its 365-horsepower 3.0-liter straight-8 supercharged engine, and to put an exclamation point on it, repeated the win in 1940 and darned near did it again in 1941, the last 500 before WWII. But it didn’t take his competitors long to figure out Italy’s horsey Maserati grand prix cars with their lightweight aluminum bodies could conquer Indy.

Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1940 & ’41 Indy 500 Maseratis

Die-cast: Autoart’s Alfa Romeo 4C

Alfa Romeo 4C an Italian beauty …Autoart Alfa Romeo 4C

Alfa Romeo has come and gone and come again to the U.S. market, but it has held a special place in the hearts of performance-oriented drivers in Europe consistently for 100+ years.

Now Alfa is back at it with the 4C in the United States, sold through its Fiat dealerships. Finally, Alfa has a sexy sports coupe to rekindle some of the excitement the brand carried here in the 1950s and ’60s.

Lucky us, since we can’t afford a motorized Alfa, Autoart has created a spiffy 1/18 scale version using its new composite material that looks as good, or better, than its die-cast models of the past.Autoart Alfa Romeo 4C

The History

Alfa has a long history with about as many twists and turns as an Italian Alpine mountain road has switchbacks. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart’s Alfa Romeo 4C

Die-cast: Autoart’s Alfa Romeo 4C

Modern Alfa Romeo 4C gorgeously finished …alfa2

Alfa Romeo has come and gone and come again to the U.S. market, but it has held a special place in the hearts of performance-oriented drivers in Europe consistently for 100+ years.

Now Alfa is back at it with the 4C in the United States, sold through its Fiat dealerships. Finally, Alfa has a sexy sports coupe to rekindle some of the excitement the brand carried here in the 1950s and ’60s.

Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart’s Alfa Romeo 4C

Braking News: New cars revealed in Geneva

Nissan, Maserati, McLaren, Jaguar, Jeep unveil new vehicles

2015-Nissan-Nismo-Juke, geneva auto show. new cars, auto shows
Photo: Nissan

Maserati Alfieri, geneva auto show. new cars, auto shows
Photo: Maserati

Mark and I would have loved to have made the trip to Geneva. Plenty of  announcements, like the 2016 Nissan Juke. Don’t get all excited here because it still looks weird. Read more here.

Maserati unveiled the Alfieri, a 2+2 concept car, a 100% functional prototype that says much about the design DNA of future Maseratis. I think this looks so much better than what Maserati has out now but still like a lot of other cars.

McLaren-650S_Spider, geneva auto show, auto shows, mclaren
Photo: McLaren

Jaguar, geneva auto show, auto shows, new cars at Geneva
Photo: Jaguar

McLarens on the other had have a look all to themselves. I got to sit in one at the Chicago Auto Show. Introduced at Geneva is an open-top 650S joining the 650S coupe. Boy would I love to have one of these.

Jaguar confirmed the name of their all-new sports sedan coming to the U.S. in 2016, the XE. Another car on my list I would love to own simply because it’s a Jag.

new jeep renegade, jeep renegade, geneva auto show, auto shows, new cars at auto shows
Photo: Chrysler

Last but not least is Jeeps new entry into the small SUV segment, the Renegade. Great name from the past and I hope it lives up to it. I really like the styling but will wait to give it my blessing until I have a chance to drive one. This will be the first Jeep not built in Toledo or Detroit since the hookup with Fiat. The final assembly location for the Renegade will be at the Melfi Assembly Plant located in Italy built off a Fiat platform. We’ll see.

Braking News: Fisker’s new owner and more

Fisker Automotive Holdings has a new owner

Fisker-KarmaIt used to be you and me as part of Obama’s green energy push but we’re off the hook now, and out the money, because the new owner is…..wait for it….China’s Wanxiang Group with a $149.2 million bid. Cool cars but the market is not ready for this type of technology despite what the White House says. I’m showing my political side here. Sure I believe in climate change, it changes every day. Today here in Milwaukee, it’s 45 and sunny. Tomorrow it will be 40 and rain. As an FYI, buddy Mark is on the exact opposite side. We love to disagree! Read more, not about us, the car.

In other automotive news, and politics aside

Maserati Debuts the All-new Ghibli and 2014 Line-up in 50th Anniversary Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Can’t wait to pick that one up. Read more here.

McLaren releases first images of their 650S coupe prior the reveal in Geneva. Wish Mark and I could attend that one. Read about it here.

Did you hear about the sinkhole that sucked in a bunch of Corvettes at the National Corvette Museum a couple of weeks ago. Pretty wild and sad at the same time. But they will be back thanks to GM who’s pitching in to bring them back to their glory.

Audi has a new car coming out, their S3 Cabriolet, a drop top which seats four. Come on Powerball and that baby would be sitting right in my garage.

Die-cast: 1956 Maserati 300S

CMC nails sporty ’56 Maserati racer

Filename: MOD-DC0213_Maserati03.psdMaserati is just slightly below Ferrari on the ooh and aah list of exotic Italian cars that car lovers and race car collectors recognize.

So when CMC, the premier 1:18 die-cast car modeler, rolls out a stunning red Maserati 300S, serious collectors will take note. Back in the 1950s Maserati racers were primo and highly competitive with the likes of Ferrari and Jaguar in sports car competition, and the 300S generally was a success. But equally important, it had, and has, a beautiful shape.

The 1956 model that CMC recently unveiled featured a twin-plug inline 6-cylinder engine with 3 Weber carbs and a hearty 245 horsepower that could propel it from 0-60 in about five seconds with a top speed of 180 mph. THAT was moving in the mid-’50s. Continue reading Die-cast: 1956 Maserati 300S