Junkyard Find: 1976 Chrysler Cordoba

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

So far in this series, I’ve had no luck finding Chrysler Cordobas from the first couple years of production. We’ve seen this ’78 (which provided me with a beautiful Corinthian Leather garage couch), this ’79, and this ’80 prior to today, and now we’ve got a genuine, Ricardo-approved 1976 Cordoba.

I spotted this car during my trip to Southern California two weeks ago. Rust-free California car, right?

Well, sort of. The rainy winters in coastal California tend to keep the metal beneath vinyl tops moist, and cheap weatherstripping (i.e., just about all the weatherstripping used by Detroit during the Malaise Era) tends to let water into the trunk. So, on cars like this you’ll see pristine quarter-panels and nasty roofs.

Check out the heraldry on the taillight lens. Such class!

Hmmm… the other taillight doesn’t seem to match. Which one is correct for 1976?

318 or 360, you don’t want to know the horsepower numbers. Move along.

Wire wheels and Radial T/As!

Fiat needs to bring back the opera light.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • -Nate -Nate on Jan 29, 2014

    @ IluvmyV8 " I recently read a story on Allpar about Dodge and Plymouth cop cars of the 70′s about how Mopars were the dominant police cars of the era, but as the 70′s progressed, Chrysler’s quality slipped more as the decade went by. One view point was from a police fleet manager who bought a fleet of the much heralded ’74 Dodge Monaco police car (ie- the Bluesmobile) while usually Mopars had the best performance (even the smogger E86 440 in ’74 still made 275 hp, before cats of course)the quality was abysmal. He noted that one particular Monaco had Monaco badges on one side, but the other side had Plymouth Gran Fury badges, whoops. If you think was that was bad, another person remembered having one patrol car that didn’t have the rear brakes adjusted from the factory….. minor detail of course. Also Lean Burn was a nightmare from the era as well. I think the term half baked would apply here." Oh , GOD yes ! we had a whole fleet of B & W + Metro units , St, Regis and the rest of the good looking (O.K. so I like WPC Products) with the abysmal lean burn system , for those who don't know : it was some sort if rudimentary electronic control computer placed _inside_the_PLASTIC_AIR_CLEANER_ so it heat soaked and warped then fried & died by the dozens if not hundreds . Cop Cars tend to spend hours and hours parking , idling with the AC on full tilt boogies so they heat soak really badly and cook everything under the hood . The 1975 > models also had mini - catalytic converters with where the head pipes attached to the exhaust manifolds adding yet MORE underhood heat in a Desert environment . Then there were the plastic (!) Carter ThermoQuad carbies , pretty good carbies except they had a few parts _glued_ onto the float bowls and even way back then when real Gasoline was available , after about 5 years , the glue failed and you had Gasoline pouring out and all over the engine . Amazingly , few ever caught fire but I went crazy trying to buy up every ThermoQuad carby and float bowl I could find , anywhere in America , and when Carter suddenly sopped making the carbys and replacement bowls , we had to salvage the entire fleet because we were not allowed to use anything but what the vehicle came with when new . Go figure . Interestingly , all these Dodges were very good drivers and ran well if thirstily when you had a decent Mechanic who knew how to peak and tweak them . The assembly quality was wildly variable but that's been a Chrysler Corporation hallmark since 1957 that I know of . '71 ~ '74 L.A.P.D. had mostly AMC Matadors , also good cars , thirsty but stronger than Checker Cabs . -Nate

  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Feb 03, 2014

    Lean Burn? More like Lean Bog. Had a 360 with this system and at times you'd push down on the gas to pull onto the highway and you'd hear a pop and no forward thrust. Scary with a truck bearing down on you. Ah the '70s!