Arguably the most star-crossed collaboration of the bunch also stemmed from a personal relationship, when then-Chrysler boss Lee Iacocca bought a stake in Maserati, then owned by his friend Alejandro De Tomaso (he of Pantera fame).
The Chrysler TC by Maserati did not look bad per se, but it did look awfully like Chrysler’s own LeBaron. And both cars were powered by variations of the same Chrysler-sourced, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The Maserati, however, cost more than $30,000 – significantly more than the LeBaron. And surely, its removable hardtop leaked more than that of the homegrown LeBaron.
As for the Tudors-like intrigues, Chrysler was later gobbled up by Daimler, and then in 2010 by Fiat, the parent of Maserati. Hoping for a more respectable, lucrative outcome, Chrysler will build a Maserati SUV derived from the Jeep Grand Cherokee at its plant in Detroit. It is built on a chassis design related to that of the Mercedes-Benz ML SUV, an artifact of Daimler’s previous ownership of Chrysler.
Perhaps the bedfellows seem less strange after a couple decades of acquaintance. (Chrysler Group)