We can always look to the Chrysler Cordoba as being a model of 1970s upscale style, and this one has the legendary Corinthian leather.
The Cordoba’s style was classical and posh.
And we can all hear in our heads the call from Ricardo Montalban to enjoy the Cordoba’s rich Corinthian leather.
“I have great confidence, for which there can be no price. In Cordoba, I have what I need.” Montalban’s warm embrace of this “small Chrysler” is one of the truly memorable among all automotive endorsements.
It worked. The Cordoba debuted to fiery success in the 1975 model year, and this junkyard car’s 1977 model year saw the Cordoba promoted as “the most successful car to ever carry the Chrysler nameplate.”
This 1977 Cordoba’s Corinthian leather has been worn down by the traffic in and out of the driver’s seat. The passenger seat doesn’t look so bad.
The chrome windsplit molding that runs down the center of the hood emphasizes its length, and the contours placed an interesting landscape in front of the Cordoba’s occupants. In today’s dollars, the leather option would cost about $830.
Cordobas for 1977 had a 400-cubic-inch (6.6-liter) V8 as standard. If you wanted to save fuel, you could downgrade to a 318-cu.in. (5.2-liter) V8, and high-altitude and California buyers could specify a 360-cu.in. (5.8-liter) V8. Lean Burn was the watchword here, as Chrysler adopted computer-controlled electronic spark advance to boost mileage and drivability.
This Cordoba’s paint is likely Claret Red.
There’s unquestionably a lot of metal that went into the making of a Cordoba.
The remote mirror was a $16 option back then, which would be $63 today. If you wanted a remote mirror on the left side as well, then that would be $47, or $187 today. You’d pay $55, or $219 today, to get the nicest remote-control sport mirrors.
The vinyl landau roof had plenty of padding, and it would have run you $733, or spine-straightening $2,915 in today’s dollars.
The indulgent option was known as the Crown landau roof, featuring “elk grain”, an over-the-roof landau bar and opera lights.
The “bodyside tape stripes” would have added $42, or $167 today. Here, they’ve shrunk and slipped off their original sticking points.
The steering wheel, with its padded longwise hub, steered everything from Volare Premiers to New Yorkers, and in the Cordoba, it has this car’s signature coin in its center.
While the rim is thin and plasticky, the padded hub is nice to hold and behold.
Cordoba doors had plenty of padding, fake wood and filigree.
So did the dash, which was also transplanted from other Chrysler products with its own spin on trim.
Round headlights reinforce the Cordoba’s classical bent. While the 1977 Monte Carlo stacked its newfangled square headlights one on top of another, the Cordoba held to a more traditional look. It would switch to the Monte’s squarish style for 1978.
Note that the surface repeaters for the turn signals have been plucked from this example.
This 1977’s right-rear tail light is from a 1975-76 Cordoba. It’s not different in size from the ’77, but it has the Cordoba’s signature coin the center…
…while the left-rear features the ’77’s filigree design.
Cordobas for 1977 started at $5,418, or $21,550 in 2016 dollars. Add the aforementioned options, along with air conditioning ($2,060 today) and styled wheels ($477 today), and you’d pay close to $28K, not including the nickel-and-dime options we likely missed.
That’s about what people are paying for moderately-equipped crossovers, and they’re getting a lot more safety and utility for their dollar.
But none of them have Ricardo Montalban or Corinthian leather, and that’s a shame.