Junkyard Find: 1978 Chrysler Cordoba

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1978 chrysler cordoba

We all make fun of the Cordoba now, but we mustn’t forget that Chrysler’s personal luxury coupe sold quite well back in the day, helping slow the company’s slide towards what appeared to be certain doom. I’m going to follow up yesterday’s junked early-70s personal luxury coupe with one built a little later in the decade.

Yes, the Cordoba was once a fairly common sight on North American roads. It was based on Chrysler’s venerable B platform, which means this car is a close relative of the General Lee and the Plymouth Superbird.

Of course, what we all remember about the Cordoba (which Chrysler’s marketers decided to pronounce with the stress on the second syllable, rather than the way the residents of its namesake city— Córdoba, Spain— do it) is Ricardo Montalban’s TV ads. Even if your parents weren’t even born when the Cordoba was new, you know about “soft Corinthian Leather.” Yes, that’s soft, not rich. You’ll win some trivia contests with that knowledge.

Speaking of soft Corinthian Leather, check out this comfy living room of a car interior! By 1978, the Corinthian Leather seats (technically an option, but I’ve yet to see a Cordoba with the base velour seats) in the Cordoba were a little less pimpin’ than the ’75 model’s deep-tufted buckets, but they still made shoppers in the Chrysler/Plymouth showroom feel they were being cheap for even considering the Fury and its cheapo vinyl upholstery. Yes, I went back and bought this car’s bench seat.

By the time of the Cordoba’s fourth model year, sales were declining a bit. Ricardo was still helping to move that iron, though!

360 cubic inches. How many horses? Who cares? Soft Corinthian Leather!

What happened to opera lights on Detroit luxury machines? Let’s import some opera lights from Detroit for the ’13 Chryslers!

That’s AM and FM radio right there. There was a time, believe it or not, when thieves would steal factory FM radios.

Including the steering wheel, fenders, door panels, and taillight lenses, I counted seven of these “golden” Cordoba medallions on the car. I believe there should be one more for the hood ornament, but this example (found in a Denver self-service yard) lacks that component.

Then there’s the Cordoba badging on the trunklid, fenders, and dash.

The original Cordoba “chronometer” was a mechanical-digital deal, but Chrysler found a source for an LED (or maybe green fluorescent) version. I might have to go back and get this fine clock for my collection, to accompany the beautiful digital clock I pulled from this ’80 Toyota Cressida.

“I know my own needs, and what I need from an automobile I get from this new… Cordoba.

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  • Chicagoland Chicagoland on Mar 20, 2012

    What helped sales was the Chrysler branding. To middle aged buyers in the 70's, it was same as Olds/Buick, and as "small" as they'd go. Calling the same car a Dodge Charger SE, merely 3 years after the Hemi was dropped, however, was dead wrong.

  • B_lawson777 B_lawson777 on Mar 28, 2012

    i would like to purchase a few items from this cordoba if you could contact me on my number thats would be easier for me on 309-644-0782 or comment back thank you!

  • Jeanbaptiste Any variant of “pizza” flavored combos. I only eat these on car trips and they are just my special gut wrenching treat.
  • Nrd515 Usually for me it's been Arby's for pretty much forever, except when the one near my house dosed me with food poisoning twice in about a year. Both times were horrible, but the second time was just so terrible it's up near the top of my medical horror stories, and I have a few of those. Obviously, I never went to that one again. I'm still pissed at Arby's for dropping Potato Cakes, and Culver's is truly better anyway. It will be Arby's fish for my "cheat day", when I eat what I want. No tartar sauce and no lettuce on mine, please. And if I get a fish and a French Dip & Swiss? Keep the Swiss, and the dip, too salty. Just the meat and the bread for me, thanks. The odds are about 25% that they will screw one or both of them up and I will have to drive through again to get replacement sandwiches. Culver's seems to get my order right many times in a row, but if I hurry and don't check my order, that's when it's screwed up and garbage to me. My best friend lives on Starbucks coffee. I don't understand coffee's appeal at all. Both my sister and I hate anything it's in. It's like green peppers, they ruin everything they touch. About the only things I hate more than coffee are most condiments, ranked from most hated to..who cares..[list=1][*]Tartar sauce. Just thinking about it makes me smell it in my head. A nod to Ranch here too. Disgusting. [/*][*]Mayo. JEEEEZUS! WTF?[/*][*]Ketchup. Sweet puke tasting sludge. On my fries? Salt. [/*][*]Mustard. Yikes. Brown, yellow, whatever, it's just awful.[/*][*]Pickles. Just ruin it from the pickle juice. No. [/*][*]Horsey, Secret, whatever sauce. Gross. [/*][*]American Cheese. American Sleeze. Any cheese, I don't want it.[/*][*]Shredded lettuce. I don't hate it, but it's warm and what's the point?[/*][*]Raw onion. Totally OK, but not something I really want. Grilled onions is a whole nother thing, I WANT those on a burger.[/*][*]Any of that "juice" that Subway and other sandwich places want to put on. NO, HELL NO! Actually, move this up to #5. [/*][/list=1]
  • SPPPP It seems like a really nice car that's just still trying to find its customer.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird I owned an 87 Thunderbird aka the second generation aero bird. It was a fine driving comfortable and very reliable car. Quite underrated compared to the GM G-body mid sized coupes since unlike them they had rack and pinion steering and struts on all four wheels plus fuel injection which GM was a bit late to the game on their mid and full sized cars. When I sold it I considered a Mark VII LSC which like many had its trouble prone air suspension deleted and replaced with coils and struts. Instead I went for a MN-12 Thunderbird.
  • SCE to AUX Somebody got the bill of material mixed up and never caught it.Maybe the stud was for a different version (like the 4xe) which might use a different fuel tank.