400 V8 Survivor: 1978 Chrysler Cordoba

If you’re like me, the Chrysler Cordoba reminds you of Ricardo Montalbán and his 1970s TV commercials hawking those “rich Corinthian leathers.” Which, by the way, was marketing-speak as there was actually no such thing. But it gave the cars a big boost in sales at a time when Chrysler needed all the help it could get. This fourth-year Cordoba from 1978 looks to be a genuinely nice survivor, even with 117,000 reported miles on the clock. It’s located in Mentor, Ohio and is available here on Facebook Marketplace for $6,000. Thanks, Bruce B, for your nice find!

The Chrysler Cordoba was a mid-size personal luxury coupe sold in North America from 1975-83. It was the company’s first model produced specifically for that space and was also the first Chrysler-branded product that was not full-size. First-generation Cordoba’s would be built through 1979, competing with cars like the Oldsmobile Cutlass, Buick Regal, and Mercury Cougar. It would be a sales success for 1975 when the rest of the company’s products were suffering. The car would do well until 1978 when Chrysler switched from single oval headlights to stacked quads which apparently didn’t sit well with buyers. Sales fell by nearly a third in 1978, but the new, smaller Chrysler LeBaron had already entered the market and was taking away customers.

With either 360 or 400 cubic inch detuned engines available in the Cordoba, they had just enough mojo to propel the 3,700 lb. cars. The seller’s Chrysler has the latter motor paired with a TorqueFlite automatic. We’re told this car runs, drives and stops great. The deep red paint and white/tan half vinyl top look really nice with no rust and no damage that we can see. The aftermarket wheels with raised white letter tires do look sharp, although perhaps a bit out of place on a car like this.

The matching red interior is equally nice and – sadly – there’s no rich Corinthian leathers to be found. Instead, the seats and doors are upholstered in velour, which would have been standard (leather was an option; did Richard know this?). The passenger cabin looks like a comfortable place to hang out while cruising around town at 15 mpg or 23 on the highway, which was decent for the era.

While the Chrysler Cordoba doesn’t shout instant collectability, it certainly would be a nice car to take to weekend car shows. And it would be an inexpensive way into getting into cars made before 1980. NADA doesn’t say they’re worth a lot, but nice ones are trading online in the $15-20,000 range. Snap this one up which you can!

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Always liked these cars. These were the cars that the punk kid with the annoying Road Runner had, grew up, got a decent job and bought these. I tend to disagree with the author, I felt these were more in the “Gentlemans Cruiser” class, like T-Bird, GP, Riviera, AMC Hornet,,,just stuck that last one in there to see if you’re listening, but I think it was the nicest. Before air travel was the norm, the person that ran around the country for whatever reason, this was the car. All “Lean Burn” and “ballast resistor” woes hopefully behind by now, someone going to get a sweetheart of a car.

    Like 5
  2. Arby

    There’s a Corinth in Mississippi – maybe they got the cows down there???

    Like 2
  3. Vance

    I have to agree with Howard A, Monte Carlo’s, Grand Prix, and Cutlass, were the main competition. The long hood, short trunk lid, and lowered stance were the ” in ” look for the time. I had a yellow 1977 ‘ Doba, with the baby sh#t brown landau roof. I put RWL Tiger paws on it and factory chrome rims and they looked nice. Dad was kind enough to give me his credit card and I decided that a size bigger and raised white letters was the proper choice. He had retired from Uniroyal and I used that angle to excuse the price he paid. It was a fun cruiser for an 18 year old.

    Like 11
  4. mike

    Does the yellow TA come with the ‘Doba? lol

    Like 1
  5. Bob

    I had the same car which I inherited from my dad who had driven it for 10 years. It was the same color but with a red vinyl have roof. It looked brand new still in 1998 when I Got the bright idea one day that I should sell it. Talk about a mistake. The guy I sold it to totalled it. So sad

    Like 2
    • MARK Reynolds

      I had a 76 Charger SE which was a close sister to the Cordoba. I sold it when I got married and it was totaled 2 weeks later. So sad also.

  6. Tommy

    My childhood friend’s parents bought a mostly loaded, leftover ’78 Cordoba in October of that year. It was finished in Cadet Blue metallic with a white landau roof and white Corinthian leather inside, a very attractive automobile indeed. For some odd reason it was missing the interior door handle on the passenger side, and they drove it that way for a week or so after taking delivery while the dealer procured the part. I remember being impressed by its “Chronometer” digital clock with fluorescent green numbers, high tech stuff back in 1978. However, the car was not without its issues. The Chrysler dealer replaced the TorqueFlite transmission seven times under warranty when it kept failing. After the warranty was up, it failed again. While attractive, the spoked wire wheel covers were prone to falling off, so my friend’s father bought American Racing turbine wheels (similar to those on the General Lee Charger) for it, giving it a sportier look, even with the car’s whitewall tires. When the car was about three years old, the adhesive failed on one of the tail light lenses on an out-of-town trip and was noticed as missing upon arrival at their destination. But the Cordoba had a comfortable and quiet ride, and the A/C worked very well. They kept it for six years.

    Like 4
    • Jcs

      I had seen in a prior listing another comment that these had tail light lenses that were just glued on. Wonder why the hell they did that? Nonsensicle.

      Like 1
  7. Bob K

    A couple of quibbles with the text:
    1. It’s odd to say that sales went down in the fourth year because of the headlights. Personal luxury coupes are fashion items that need frequent overall restyling to keep relevant.
    2. When we mention that it was Chrysler’s first non full size model we should mention that it was 215 in Long – 16 in longer than a 2021 Mercedes S class, but with a tight back seat

    Like 1
  8. Paul

    A friend of mine had one with the same color/roof design but white leather interior and round headlights. I always thought it was a nice looking vehicle. He had the 360ci engine.

    Like 1
  9. EPO3

    It would be nice if the didn’t park it next to orange and yellow trailer. muddy’s up that beautful red metallic paint job.

    Like 1
  10. Joe

    My friend had a ’79 Chrysler 300, based on the Cordoba. Interior was exactly like this one pictured. It was an awesome car, and we took it to several car shows.

    Like 1
  11. Motorcityman Member

    Chryslers Monte Carlo.
    Love the long hood short deck look……I miss my 69 Cougar, and thats why I love the Challengers, new style or old.

    Like 1
  12. Rj

    My oldest Sister had this car, same color 400ci slug that was as the dealership more than it was home. It didn’t want to run cold start, so you had to let it idle for 15 minutes before pop it in drive. The fuel mileage was bad enough without letting idle for 15 minutes with the A/C on full blast. Yes you might as well have the A/C on as long as the car had to idle when it’s 115° in Phoenix. The problem was a combination of the Lean Burn computer and the Lean Burn Carburetor. After nearly two years Chrysler bought the car back via the still new Lemon Law.

  13. Greg

    Had a 1976 silver with dark red Corinthian leather bucket seat interior and matching half vinyl roof a/c am/fm stereo. The unique option, which limited mine to a 20 gallon gas tank, was a HP 400. No catalytic converter full dual exhaust and an air pump for emissions. Also had a heavy duty suspension. This was not a lean burn engine by any means. Put 180000 miles on it. When new it ran 14.7 @100 mph in the 1/4 mile. The rust by 1984 forced me to get rid of it.

  14. Kevin Foster

    I’d buy it and get rid of the lean burn and the turbine wheels,otherwise it’s a sweet car.

    Like 1
  15. Rj

    Kevin your spot on with that idea. It’s something I offered to do many times for them, but they were having nothing of the idea. They wanted mopar to make it right because Joan liked the car a lot otherwise. She ended up with a 1980 Z/28 in a very nice silver/grey stripe combination. That was her second Z/28 so she knew what it was….

  16. KC John

    I think the wheels really make the car. They scream 1978. It’s a day two mod that works on this car. Imho

  17. Mike Adams

    I’m guessing this car has way fewer miles on it than most of the under 50k “original miles” cars claimed on Barn Finds.

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