Amid the dogs and joggers near a Bernal Heights park in San Francisco was this 1975 Chrysler Cordoba. It was in fine shape, and it was for sale.
The Cordoba’s story is a familiar one, as anyone who was alive in the 1970s has memories of Ricardo Montalban cooing through the TV’s speaker about – all together now – “rich Corinthian leather.”
There was no better ad pitch in the burgeoning personal-luxury segment, and it neatly summed up the aspirations of the folks to whom it appealed. These fancy coupes promised something with extra presence and elegance.
Something so plush and detailed that you could appreciate the extras every time you took the wheel.
The added elegance was everywhere. It was next to you with plush side panels, it was under your tuckus with soft velour, and it was out in front of you, over the long hood, with money at the tip.
As a suburban kid, I was fascinated by my neighbor’s Cordoba. It was Rallye Red with a black landau top, and like all Cordobas, it had money stuck to it.
Real money! Or at least, that’s what my eight-year-old brain thought.
I couldn’t figure out why someone didn’t snatch them and cash them in.
Opera windows and lamps were standard.
This Cordoba (in Spinnaker White) has the optional Urethane road wheels for a turbine-like look. Fortunately, this one seems to have escaped the scrape of the fender around it.
This is the standard Cordoba interior in vinyl and velour cloth. It is very green in there.
The Cordoba shared its instrument panel with lesser Dodges and Plymouths, and its trim was ritzed up for its new personal luxury mission.
The steering wheel with the horn ring was on the bubble in ’75; most others had switched to the horn button being mounted behind the center pad.
This Cordoba didn’t hang around long; its price wasn’t listed, but the For Sale sign made sure to mention that this Cordoba never needed to be smogged. The year 1976 is the first year of old cars that have to pass the California smog test to be registered, and so this 1975 gets a pass.
The Cordoba was Chrysler’s one bright spot for 1975; in a soft economy and a showroom full of aged land yachts, the Cordoba was a beacon in a budding segment, with 150K made before the model year ended. (All the Newports combined sold less than half that.)
The Cordoba was the right car at the right time – for the right amount of buyers to keep Chrysler afloat.