Chrysler Cordoba

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Chrysler Cordoba
1978 Chrysler Cordoba.jpg
1978 Chrysler Cordoba
ManufacturerChrysler Corporation
Model years1970
AssemblyWindsor Assembly, Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Body and chassis
ClassPersonal luxury car
Body style2-door coupe
LayoutFR layout
PredecessorChrysler 300 (1971)
SuccessorChrysler Laser

The Chrysler Cordoba was first introduced as a full-sized luxury car based on the Chrysler Newport that was marketed during the 1970 model year.

The nameplate was then applied to a intermediate-sized two-door personal luxury car starting with the 1975 model year. The Cordoba was manufactured by Chrysler in North America over two generations until the 1983 model year.

The personal luxury version was the company's first model produced specifically for that market segment and the first Chrysler-branded vehicle that was smaller than full-size.

The name was taken from the Spanish city of Córdoba, Spain.


In the early 1960s, when other upmarket brands were expanding into smaller cars with such models as the Mercury Comet and Buick Skylark, Chrysler very publicly declared that there would "never" be a smaller Chrysler. The 1963 Chrysler deluxe catalog says of the New Yorker, "This is no jr. edition car." The 1962 deluxe catalog goes even further, proclaiming on the rear cover: "there's not a jr. edition in the whole family!".[1]

The Chrysler Newport Cordoba name was introduced in the spring of 1970 as a specially trimmed individual model based on the Chrysler Newport hardtop (two-door and four-door).[2] This full-size model was a "limited edition luxury car, designed to introduce you to Chrysler" and consisted of an exclusive "Cordoba Gold" paint with matching wheels, wheel covers, and side molding with vinyl inserts.[2] Chrysler described this model's textured antique gold all-vinyl interior, matching vinyl roof cover, and the hood ornament with an Aztec eagle as a "quiet Spanish motif".[2] Included in the US$3,769 (equivalent to $26,299 in 2021)[3] base price were the 383 cu in (6.3 L) 290 bhp (220 kW) two-barrel carburetor V8 engine, vinyl roof and trim, and protective body side moldings. Adding an automatic transmission, power steering, H78x15 fiberglass-belted whitewall tires, and a "golden tone" AM radio raised the price to $4,241.65.[2]

Chrysler Cordoba hood ornament

The 1974 Cordoba was originally designed by Chrysler to be the all-new Plymouth Sebring for 1975, which was to share bodies with the Dodge Charger SE. Instead, a decision was made to position the model as a personal luxury car and introduce it as the first small Chrysler. The Cordoba was available with smaller, more economical engines than other Chryslers, and rode on a 115 in (2,921 mm) wheelbase, 9 in (229 mm) less than its next largest sibling.[4] This single body style coupe was one of Chrysler's few genuine hits of the 1970s. At a time when the automaker was teetering on bankruptcy, demand for Cordobas exceeded supply for its first years, with the production of over 150,000 units for the inaugural 1975 models, and the highest number built in 1977, with 183,000 units.[4] Half of the Chrysler division production during this period (and occasionally more) was composed of Cordobas, and they helped to revive the division.[4] All Cordobas were built in Windsor, Ontario.

Although Córdoba is the name of a city in Spain, which it was intended to evoke. The car's emblem was actually a stylized version of the Argentine cordoba coin and there is a Córdoba Province, Argentina. That theme was carried out with somewhat baroque trim inside the vehicle. The first spokesperson for the car was Richard Basehart; however, Chrysler secured movie and television actor Ricardo Montalbán as the car's advertising spokesman through its entire run.[5] Notable was his eloquent praise of its "rich Corinthian leather"[6] interior.[7]

Chrysler had previously sought to evoke a Spanish exotic flair in their products when they introduced the 1929 DeSoto Six with model names of "cupe", "coche" and "de Lujo", or Spanish for "coupe", "coach" and "deluxe", while the roadster was called the "Roadster Espanol".[8]

First generation (1975–1979)[edit]

First generation
1976 Chrysler Cordoba
Model years1975–1979
Body and chassis
RelatedChrysler 300 (1970 only)
Dodge Charger, Dodge Coronet, Dodge Magnum, Dodge Monaco, Plymouth Fury
  • 318 cu in (5.2 L) LA V8
  • 360 cu in (5.9 L) LA V8
  • 400 cu in (6.6 L) B V8
Transmission3-speed A727 automatic
Wheelbase115 in (2,921 mm)
Length215.3 in (5,469 mm)[9]
Width77.1 in (1,958 mm)
Height52.6 in (1,336 mm)

The Cordoba was introduced by Chrysler for the 1975 model year as an upscale personal luxury car, competing with the Oldsmobile Cutlass, Buick Regal, and Mercury Cougar. The Cordoba was originally intended to be a Plymouth—the names Mirada, Premier, Sebring, and Grand Era were associated with the project; all except Grand Era would be used on later Chrysler, Dodge, and Eagle vehicles, though only the Dodge Mirada would be related to the Cordoba. However, losses from the newly introduced full-size C-body models due to the 1973 oil crisis encouraged Chrysler executives to seek higher profits by marketing the model under the more upscale Chrysler brand.

The car was a success, with over 150,000 units sold in 1975, a sales year that was otherwise dismal for the company. Gauges, except the tachometer, were standard.[10] For the 1976 model year, sales increased slightly to 165,000. The mildly revised 1977 version also sold well, with just under 140,000 cars. The success of using the Chrysler nameplate strategy is contrasted to the far fewer sales of its similar and somewhat cheaper corporate cousin, the Dodge Charger SE.[11][12]

Interiors were more luxurious than the Dodge Charger SE and much more than the top-line standard intermediates (Plymouth Fury, Dodge Coronet) with a velour cloth notchback bench seat and folding armrest standard. Optionally available were bucket seats upholstered in Corinthian leather with a center armrest and cushion, or at extra cost, a center console with floor shifter and storage compartment. The dashboard and door panels featured simulated burled elm trim and metal stampings in 1975, while the 1976 through 1979 models featured simulated rosewood trim. A 60/40 bench seat was introduced in 1976 and other seating/upholstery options were added each year through 1979.[11]

The original design endured with only small changes for three years before a variety of factors contributed to a decline in sales. For 1978, there was a modest restyling with the then-popular rectangular headlights in a stacked configuration (the Dodge Charger SE kept its round headlamps for 1978 rather than the rectangular stacked design of the Cordoba). A Chrysler designer, Jeffrey Godshall, wrote in Collectible Automobile magazine that this restyling was viewed as "somewhat tacky" and eliminated much of the visual appeal that the 1975 to 1977 Cordobas had been known for. The restyle also made the car appear heavier than its 1975–1977 predecessor at a time when other cars in this class were being downsized to smaller dimensions such as the Ford Thunderbird in 1977 as well as the Chevrolet Monte Carlo and Pontiac Grand Prix in 1978.

The Cordoba's sales decline in 1978 and 1979 could also be attributed to the introduction of the smaller Chrysler LeBaron in mid-1977 that was available in both sedan and coupe models and offered similar personal-luxury styling and options. At the same time, Chrysler's financial position and quality reputation were in steady decline. Rising gas prices and tightening fuel economy standards made the Cordoba's nearly 3,700 lb (1,700 kg) weight with 360 cu in (5.9 L) or 400 cu in (6.6 L) V8 engines obsolete. For 1979 a $2,040 "300" option package was offered on the Cordoba, featuring an all-white exterior, "Chrysler 300"-style grille, and a four-barrel 360 V-8 engine.[13] The Chrysler 300 was advertised and marketed as its own model, not as a "Cordoba 300."

Second generation (1980–1983)[edit]

Second generation
1980 Chrysler Cordoba
Model years1980–1983
Body and chassis
RelatedDodge Mirada
Imperial Series YS coupe
Engine225 cu in (3.7 L) Slant 6 I6
318 cu in (5.2 L) LA V8 V8
360 cu in (5.9 L) (1980 Only)
Transmission3-speed A904 automatic
Wheelbase112.7 in (2,863 mm)[14]
Length209.8 in (5,329 mm) (1980)
210.1 in (5,337 mm) (1981)
209.6 in (5,324 mm) (LS)
Width72.7 in (1,847 mm)
Height53.3 in (1,354 mm) (1980–81)
53.2 in (1,351 mm) (1982–83)
Curb weight3,446 lb (1,563 kg) (1980–81)
3,460 lb (1,569 kg) (1982)
3,467 lb (1,573 kg) (1983)
3,389 lb (1,537 kg) (LS 1981–82)
3,404 lb (1,544 kg) (LS 1983)

The Cordoba was downsized for the 1980 model year. The smaller, second-generation model used the J-platform dating to the 1976 F-body Plymouth Volaré, along with its rebadged variant, the Dodge Mirada. Chrysler also revived the Imperial for 1981 as a third variant of the J-platform.

The Cordoba and Mirada featured a standard six-cylinder engine (the 225 Slant Six) that, while very reliable, did not seem to be suitable power (95 hp) for these slightly upmarket coupes. The much-detuned 318 cu in (5.2 L) 130 hp V8 was an option (standard on the Imperial, with EFI), as was the performance-oriented code E58 360 cu in (5.9 L) 185 hp V8, though it would be dropped off the options list for 1981 and on.[15]

1981 Chrysler Cordoba LS

The 1980 and 1981 LS model (which was originally intended to be the "300") featured an aerodynamic-appearing nosecone (nearly identical to that on the Mirada) with a "crosshair" grille. Other features of this model were the deletion of the vinyl roof cover and a monotone color exterior.

The second-generation Cordoba sales were down substantially. The U.S. automobile industry's downsizing of vehicles also affected the personal luxury models. Both the Chevrolet Monte Carlo in 1978 and the 1980 Ford Thunderbird shrank in size.

With changes in the marketplace, Chrysler increasingly concentrated on its compact, front wheel drive models with four and six-cylinder engines. The Cordoba was discontinued in 1983.

Production Figures[edit]

Yearly Total[11]
1980 46,406
1981 20,293
1982 14,898
1983 13,471
Total 95,068


With fewer than 100 cars equipped with the E58 360 cu in (5.9 L) 185 hp V8, the engine option was discontinued after the 1980 model year due to low demand.[15] Only two engines were available with the Slant-6 being standard and the 318 cu in (5.2 L) V8 optional for the 1981–1983 model years.

engine displacement, type,
carburetor type
max. motive power at rpm
max. torque at rpm transmission
225 cu in (3,687 cc) Slant 6 I6
90 bhp (67 kW; 91 PS) (1980)
85 bhp (63 kW; 86 PS) (1981–83) @ 3600
160 lb⋅ft (217 N⋅m) (1980)
165 lb⋅ft (224 N⋅m) (1981–83) @ 1600
3-speed A904 automatic
318 cu in (5,211 cc) LA V8
120 bhp (89 kW; 122 PS) (1980)
130 bhp (97 kW; 132 PS) (1981–84) @ 3600
245 lb⋅ft (332 N⋅m) (1980)
230 lb⋅ft (312 N⋅m) (1981–83) @ 1600


Both the first- and second-generation Cordobas appeared in NASCAR. Ed Negre campaigned on occasion during the 1978 and 1979 seasons, and Buddy Arrington ran a second-generation car in the 1982 through 1984 seasons, alternating with Dodge Miradas and Chrysler Imperials. The Cordoba was no more aerodynamic than the other Mopars and never finished higher than 13th in any race entered.


Today the "'Cordoba", as it is known to its fans, maintains a reasonably loyal owner base, and some models are considered collectible. The very early production 1975s, particularly with the optional four-barrel carburetor, and the Cordoba-based 300 of 1979 are the most valuable.

Regarding the 300 version, Consumer Guide said in 2007 "the '79 could become a minor collectible in the distant future, but LS prospects seem slim to non-existent at this time."[16]


  1. ^ "1962 Chrysler prestige brochure". p. 20. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d "The new Chrysler Cordoba (advertisement)". Ebony. Vol. 25, no. 6. April 1970. pp. 84–85. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  3. ^ 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c Hyde, Charles K. (2003). Riding the Roller Coaster: A History of the Chrysler Corporation. Wayne State University Press. p. 223. ISBN 9780814330913. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  5. ^ Novas, Himilce (2008). Everything you need to know about Latino history: 2008 edition. Penguin Group. pp. 330–33 1. ISBN 9780452288898. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  6. ^ "1980 Chrysler Cordoba Commercial - Better Quality Version" – via YouTube.
  7. ^ Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here : The 70's--The Decade that Brought You Modern Life--For Better or Worse. Basic Books. p. 25. ISBN 9780465041954.
  8. ^ "1929 DeSoto Six". Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  9. ^ "1977 Chrysler Cordoba Brochure". p. 6. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  10. ^ "1976 Chrysler Owners Manual". p. 15. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  11. ^ a b c Flammang, James M.; Kowalke, Ron (1999). Standard catalog of American cars, 1976-1999 (Third ed.). Iola, WI: Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-755-0. OCLC 43301709.
  12. ^ "Dodge Charger Sales and Production". Applar. 16 November 2020. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  13. ^ Auto editors of Consumer Guide (7 August 2011). "1979-1982 Chrysler Cordoba 300/Cordoba LS". Archived from the original on 8 August 2011. Retrieved 13 June 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  14. ^ a b "Chrysler Cordoba, Specifications and Dimensions". Archived from the original on 10 April 2005. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  15. ^ a b "1978-1980 Chrysler Cordoba". Archived from the original on 16 March 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  16. ^ Auto Editors of Consumer Guide (16 July 2007). "1979-1982 Chrysler Cordoba 300/Cordoba LS". Archived from the original on 8 August 2011. Retrieved 22 August 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)

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