Soft Corinthian Leather! 1979 Chrysler Cordoba Special


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The original Chrysler Cordoba (does anyone else remember “soft Corinthian leather” commercials?) was starting to die out by 1979 as America was looking for smaller, more fuel-efficient luxury cars. This 1979 “Special” model is located in Palatka, Florida and is listed for sale here on eBay, where the buy-it-now is $3,999.

1979 Chrysler Cordoba-03

image courtesy of

The seller insists that this is a special version of the Cordoba and points to a 1979 brochure showing a duplicate car in the pages as proof. It certainly does look the same, but I think I like the narrower whitewalls on the car for sale better than these wide versions.


You can see a slightly damaged left front fender trim in this shot, but I’m encouraged that the car appears to be stored indoors in a nice environment. I’m wondering what the labels on the dash and windshield mean, as I’ve seen similar labels on cars at salvage auctions. Regardless, the paint looks glossy and may actually be original, and the car as a whole looks very straight.


I think this is one of the nicer views of this style Cordoba, but I’m a little concerned about the trailer hitch on the back. At least it looks like a small one, so hopefully it hasn’t been used for major towing duty. Those are giant chrome-plated plastic wheel covers, by the way, not wheels. I remember we used to sell them for quite a bit of money at the hub cap store I used to manage–it’s good to see a complete set on this car.


Here’s what this car is known for! Can you feel yourself sinking into that soft Corinthian leather now? As an interesting side note, the leather didn’t really come from Corinth–this was just a fancy name dreamed up by Chrysler’s advertising agency, as most of the leather used in these cars came from Newark, New Jersey! Back to the car at hand–I can believe the claim of 80,300 miles based on the condition of the interior and weatherstripping. The seller doesn’t tell us about any non-working items, but it might be worth further inquiry before bidding.


Here in a decent-looking engine compartment we find the 360 V8. In this application, the V8 produced only 190 horsepower, but that should still be enough for you to enjoy driving the car. I’m happy to see the air conditioning belts in place despite the seller not telling us whether it works or not. They have, however, recently installed tune up parts, a new battery and starter and replaced the brakes. I’m not sure if $4,000 is too much for this car, but you certainly couldn’t refurbish one to this standard for that kind of money, and where are you going to find another survivor like this one? Let us know if you want some of that soft Corinthian leather for yourself!


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  1. erikj

    for give the spelling: macadro mateblone? and those coronation leather comm.

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    • Jamie Palmer JamieAuthor

      I think you are thinking of Ricardo Montalban?

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  2. Gary I

    Only a single comment and it is listed as sold already, must have went quick. I drove one in high school (stepdads car). I got made fun of from some of my friends, but I liked it. It was jacked up on air shocks and had a different and faster 360 in it. Cool car, jumped tracks real good. Like I said stepdads car, air shocks, high school!

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  3. Mike H. Mike H.

    The whole of my life I’d have sworn he said:

    “Reech Co-Reenthian Lay-ther”

    You’re right, though; it is “Sow-ft Co-Reenthian Lay-ther”.

    He tasks me. He tasks me and I shall have him! I’ll chase him ’round the moons of Nibia and ’round the Antares Maelstrom and ’round perdition’s flames before I give him up!

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    • Jamie Palmer JamieAuthor

      For some of the New Yorker ads, it was “rich”, not “soft”. Love the quote, too :-)

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      • Mike H. Mike H.

        While I recall him fondly as Mr. Roarke (your host. . .) from my childhood, to me he will always be Khan Noonien Singh, fake chest plate and all.

        RIP Mr. Montalbán. You were an icon, and I’m sure that it’s all daiquiri’s and cigars for you and Hervé Villechaize (“The plane! The plane!”), wherever the two of you landed.

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      • Matt D

        Funny how I spotted that rich / soft error, when I can’t remember what my wife told me 5 minutes ago!

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    • Mike H. Mike H.
    • Chris N

      The Man, The Legend, The Corinthian Leather!

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    • Roseland Pete

      I also thought it was “rich Corinthian leather.”

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  4. joeinthousandoaks

    Mike H has it right.

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  5. Charles

    I like the looks of this car. The unusual paint scheme looks great, and sets off the dated design. Notice that it does not have a vinyl top which is a plus. The car has obviously been treated gently or in would not be as nice as it shows at this age. As for the class 1 trailer hitch, they could not have overloaded the car with that hitch. I towed a 30 airstream behind a charger the same year as this, and it pulled like a truck. My car had a class III hitch on it to handle the weight if that camper.

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  6. grenade

    Ugly cars.

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  7. Kincer DaveMember

    I had one of these back in 1990, I had a new job and a Brand new Beretta GTZ and I didn’t want to drive that in the winter, I was 20 years old and a guy at work that I had known for years had a 1976 Cordoba for sale for $500, this thing was almost mint condition so I bought it for a winter beater, it was black with a white half vinyl top and a white leather interior, bucket seats and a console. This thing was really sweet and me being young at the time I decided my winter beater needed to look cool, so I dyed the top black added a set of cheap chrome and black wheels, dual exhaust and a few other minor touches. You wouldn’t believe the compliments I’d get then the looks I’d get when I’d say thanks but this my winter beater lol. I loved driving that car, it was so comfortable and smooth. It still had the original 8track and I used to play my dads old Eagles and Bob Seger tapes lol

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  8. Gerry

    Great looking comfortable car. 70s period cool, I like it, It sold , so was a more than fair asking asking price !

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  9. Chris N

    This was the lowest point of style and quality for Chrysler (and frankly the rest of the U.S. auto market) though I must admit that the fact that there is still one left in this condition makes me think they built at least one right. I think that MOPAR got the proportions right, the body style is not hideous, but they were too dressed up, too much frill and chrome, but the seats are nice and soft, just unsupportive. Hit them with some armor all, turn a corner and you are on the passenger side. I’ll bet a dollar that since it lives in FL now ‘grandpa’ bought it new and it lived in a garage 90% of the time and it is on the market because he passed.

    It would crack me up if they resurrected the Cordoba name. Maybe???

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    • Russ

      I have to disagree… this series of the Chrysler Cordoba (and Dodge Magnum) was ten times the car that its replacement was. I bought a Dodge Mirada as a low mile ‘exec’ car at the local dealer, traded in a beautiful 79 Plymouth Trail Duster on it, what a mistake. The Mirada was THE worst car I ever owned:
      1. Chrome peeling off back bumper – in big pieces within the first year.
      2. Door panel tops, a-post trim and other interior pieces made of plastic that cracked in several places, about every six inches. Chrysler claimed they had found the problem, replaced all the pieces, they all cracked again.
      3. Fender end caps were mounted properly aligned on the fenders but the crease on them did not match the creases on the fenders.
      4. Taillights crooked and could not be made straight.
      5. Silver paint dulled almost immediately, could not be made to shine, eventually completely abandoned all horizontal surfaces.
      6. First morning I had the car I heard splashing from the back… the rear fenderwells had 4 inches of water in them and nowhere for it to go – there I was the day after I bought the car drilling holes to let the water out!
      7. Not sure which was worse, the power of the 318 or the fuel mileage.
      8. Gas cap door had an imperfection in the steel, could not be painted successfully. Like it had a big scab in the metal.
      9. So much play in the differential, shifting in to reverse at a fast idle resulted in a ringing CLANK sound.
      10. Door handles repeatedly broke so you could not open door from the outside.
      11. Plastic coated mylar trim would not stay stuck in the rubber nose of the car. At 75mph it was blowing across the hood like catfish whiskers.
      There was more than this but honestly this was the vehicle that really showed Chrysler at its lowest point. Oh – horns quit working… dashboard warped… carpet was too small and pulled away from door sill plate… seats poorly stitched and crooked-looking…

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  10. JimA

    I’ve had either a 77 or 78 Charger or Córdoba (each year and each version) for most of the last 36 years. The 75-77 style with the round headlamps looks better. My current one is a 77 Córdoba de-chromed, triple black with T-tops, bucket seats and a mildly built 360. It’s a driver that will never win awards but it’s sharp, gets loads of compliments and what a great highway cruiser in the summer it is.

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  11. jim s

    this one is sold but the seller also has a 1984 Rolls with low miles for just $ 14999.99

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  12. CJay

    “The Banana Boat” is what we called the 1976 I had. I took the car as payment for installing a Suburban quarter panel. Someone thought that Yellow with a Green vinyl top and a Green leather interior was a good combination. Painting the vinyl top white softened the ugly.

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  13. KyleK

    Nice driver for the money. I remember them sitting either in the older people’s driveways or the high school parking lot with fat wheels and tires and glass packs. Either way I liked them.

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  14. james burton

    i had one of these back in the late 80s that was a t-top 400 cid factory big block car. i put in a built 440 and it would run the 1/8 mile in low gear at 81 mph in the mid. 8ths. range. 272 gears in the rear. man you talking a highway cruser. the steering sys. got so bad i finally parted it out

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    • Charles

      I had the Charger version with T-Tops. I believe those are somewhat rare. On mine the 400 failed and I installed a built 440 from a 66 New Yorker. That big boat was fast!

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  15. Bill

    My Dad had a 79 for a company car. He’d let me drive it when I accompanied him. I remember the first time hitting “resume” on the cruise control from a stop and having the accelerator pedal fall away from under my foot. Never knew a car would resume cruise from a stop. And it would accelerate hard, too!

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    • Charles

      I believe that your cruise control was malfunctioning. All of the Mopar cars of that vintage that I was exposed to that had factory installed cruise control would not resume unless the car was moving at least 30 MPH.

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      • Bill

        Well that makes sense. Even as a know-it-all kid, that didn’t seem right to me.

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