Factory 400 & Corinthian Leather: ’76 Cordoba

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As a model, Chrysler Cordobas rarely need much of an introduction. Its distinctive name and bold styling combined to make it the kind of car you’d likely turn your head and stare at in 1976. The one that’s for sale here on eBay has some interesting options, including the 400 CI “B” motor. The seller has listed it with an opening bid of $1,000 and a Buy-It-Now of $2,500. 

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Now, I am all for being enthusiastic about a project, and thinking with the glass half-full. But the seller’s claim that “a lot of love will get this car in showroom condition in no time” seems like a bit of a stretch. A lot of love and even more cash might make that happen, especially when you look at the sunburnt upper surfaces from head to toe. Oh, and the fact that it doesn’t run!

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The good news is that the all-important Corinthian leather is present, and it appears to be in excellent condition. Surprisingly good, actually, considering how rough the outside is. This Cordoba is located in Pennsylvania, but it was originally assembled at the Windsor, Ontario plant. Despite its origins in the cold environs of the north, the Cordoba is said to have a solid frame.

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You’ll also need to source a taillight, and a few other things. There’s some interesting contradictions here: the body is a mess but the interior looks decent; the original keys are still with the Cordoba, but the engine bay and trunk opening show years of debris and neglect. So, while someone may have loved this car one time, it’s in need of a full reconditioning. Would you take it on?

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Comments

  1. tyler

    Looks like the tail light is sitting on the passenger seat?

  2. jeff

    A little more money can probably buy one in much better shape. Also note the lack of title. Are these being restored yet?

  3. Paul A Raymond

    You dont have to source a tail light its sitting on the front seat..

  4. Mike

    Jeff, it appears that missing right taillight is sitting on the front passenger seat – at least that’s one less part you’ll have to track down! Yes, If I wasn’t neck-deep in garage projects right now, I’d jump on this right now – especially with the “B” motor.

  5. Dan

    Ok, I will jump in as well. Is that the taillight on the front seat?

  6. Philip

    I’d buy it. I’m close enough to do a PPI and make sure that a title can be gotten. Most of the surface rust easily be media blasted, followed by etching primer and some filler primer. Some sanding and enamel in factory color with clear to finish. Inside should be fine, maybe lite repair and some dye maybe carpet. The vinyl top is the big question.iiks like the trunk is OK as I s the pinch weld shown. If the rest of the car is as good your golden. The 400B is a nice base for a low buck factory hot rod, these fees out real nice with big tires and wheels similar to the same year Monte Carlo. For the cost for f admission it is worth it to have something different.

    • AMCSTEVE

      Please excuse my ignorance Philip but what is a PPI?

      • Philip

        Hello Steve,

        PPI is Pre Purchase Inspection. Something no one should skip on any car, no matter location age or supposed condition. If you can’t afford air fair in coach one way, you cant afford a restoration to go sideways on you and many do, well over 50% of the time in my experience. How you are prepared and what you do makes the difference between a successful completion and something that sits for 20 years then someone buys the scraps from you half completed.;

  7. terry

    Remember Ricardo Montalban in the commercials for these? “Look what they’ve done to my car! Rich Corinthian leather.”

  8. Francisco

    Exactly what is Corinthian leather? I looked in the Bible under 1st Corinthians. There is no mention there of leather.

    • Ed P

      Corinthian leather was just an ad man’s attempt to make it sound exotic. Most of the leather came from New Jersey.

  9. Tony Goodner II

    Reeech Corinthian leather…..from Corinth, MS

    • Philip

      Corinthian Leather comes from cows in Corinth…

  10. Curt

    Looks to me like theres mold on the dash.

    • terry

      Not just mold, rich Corinthian mold.

      • CapNemo

        Rotfl!

  11. Jim C

    Hey, the tail light is in the front seat! lol .. had to do it sorry..

  12. jaymes

    is earl scheib around still

    • DrinkinGasoline

      “I’ll paint any car….any color for $29.95 !” Geez, I’m old.

  13. DrinkinGasoline

    Uh Oh !…Better get Maaco !

  14. nessy

    Even with the faded and worn paint, the seller should still WASH the car, wipe down the interior, pump up the flat tires and clean the wheels. You can see why there are no bids. Why is it so hard to wash a car that you are trying to sell? Gee, is it that hard to put the taillight back in place too?

    • Jeffro

      Preach on Brother! Maybe we should pass offering plate so he can at least air up the tires. Sorry, but that’s just a pet peeve of mine. Cars always sell faster & for more $ if they are clean and can roll. Unless it’s a Porsche…different rules for them

  15. Rex Kahrs Member

    I don’t know if these cars are being restored per se, but I have seen two very nice examples at car shows over the last few months, and they are really cool. I’d love to have one.

  16. Ralph H.

    Pretty low on my list as far as a candidate for restoration…agree with previous post, a better example could be had with a little more money…lack of interest doesnt surprise me..

  17. Chebby

    That interior tail light is convenient: now you know when you’re stepping on the brakes.

  18. Brad

    Was the “B” motor a pre-lean burn ?
    My Dad bought 2 of these brand new; a ’75 and a ’76. One also had the rich Corinthian leather seating, floor mounted shifter, fully loaded, and was a 2 tone paint scheme: dark metallic blue and cream color. Beautiful cars, these were.

    • Ed P

      The first “B” motors appeared in 1958. The 400 appeared about 1972 before lean burn but were changed later.

  19. Rustytech Member

    These were some of the nicest cars around in the mid 70’s, far nicer than the pricier E Cadillac and may someday be a true collectible car. I have seen several of these that got minor restoration to driver cars, but there’s not enough value to undertake a full restoration at this time. Also these didn’t have a frame, they were unibody if my memory serves me correctly.

    • Ed P

      Chrysler used a stub frame at the front of the car. The rest of the body has “structure” inside the sheet metal body for strength. The exterior sheet metal is not stressed.

  20. M B

    The tail light lens was retained by two metal clips AND a “seal” around the perimeter of the red lens. Think windshield sealer. Many fell out and were lost, good that this one is still there.

    Power windows and a tilt wheel are noticed. The leather almost looks too good or possibly already replaced. It looks too tight for a factory cover, to me, on those cars. Not sure if the 400 engine is the LeanBurn 400 4bbl or the 400HO dual exhaust (no cat converters!) engine. Former would have a 2.71 rear axle ratio and the later would have a 3.21 as standard rear axle ratio. Also the popular W23 Class II 16 slot road wheels, 15×6. ALL Cordobas of the first model years were built in Windsor and had better quality of assembly than many other Chrysler products back then.

    From what I see, a good repaint and vinyl roof cover, new tires, and general maintenance issues would make a great value and unique car to enjoy!

    • Philip

      It’s not a Lean Burn Car. There isn’t the obvious computer module hanging off the drivers side of the air cleaner. Don’t think Lean Burn was available on the 400 2 barrel in that year. I had a 1980 Le Baron with Lean burn. By the time I got it she was so hacked up, and half the parts were missing, including the cat. The rest was mostly disconnected and the car ran like a hot mess.

      We pulled the whole deal and dropped in the 68 383 2 barrel and 727 out of a Fury III that was going to the scrapper . The camshaft was changed to the Mopar’s ‘Purple” mechanical cam and lifters, we added headers and Weiand single plane intake with 800 Carter AVS. talk about your raped ape’s. This sucker passed everything but a gas station as they say. Later we replaced the rear with an 8 1/4″ 3:23 sure grip out of a Diplomat to replace the open weak 7 1/4″ differential. She was a black with red ‘Corinthian cow covered 2 door with factory buckets/console. in 1987 it cost the crazy sum of 250$. The Fury III was out of the city impound and bought for 51$, and the rear from the diplomat was the most expensive part dollar for dollar at 100$ from the salvage yard. The car had factory 10 spoke aluminum wheels, and once done was a real looker. I sold the car to a friend who
      had it until it was hit at a traffic light in 1999, effectively totaled.

      The tail light halves in these use a form of foam tape that turned to mush as it aged, allowing water into the tail-amp housing. If the clips popped as the plastic ages, the lens falls off unceremoniously, and the ‘clip ledges’ can be broken easily if man handled.

      I agree with MB, pint and vinyl top with a whole bunch of disassembly and detail oriented work, which is the fun part of it all.

      These cars and the Dodge Magnums with T-Tops are sought after and quite nice, when made into a street car/ muscle car. They can still be had and fixed up for not a lot of money, and will accept any big or small block Mopar you desire. A Magnum GT was available in 1979, which is quite nice once you upgrade the lethargic lump under the hood with something much peppier. An A-833 4 speed can be installed and made to look factory, although only Mexican- only M body ( think Diplomat/Grand Fury/St-Regis) body Magnum GT’s came with the stick 360 and a Dana 44.

      The later 70’s weren’t totally devoid of quasi muscle cars though most were only visual or handling packages since emissions choked them to death and killed the big block in anything but a truck. With emissions exemption as these have aged in most parts of the US, a plethora of power train options are available.

      Compared to cars of today, these monsters are style kings, certainly the T-top Magnum and Cordoba cars from 1978 and 79 are quite handsome. This car isn’t a T-top but would still lend itself well to street rod or resto-mod, whatever your desire, and for not a lot of money.

  21. ccrvtt

    Personal preference puts the Monte styling ahead of the Cordoba, but ultimately the Chrysler is the classier ride. Good find. I hope someone who loves it buys it and takes it to limit.

    Which brings up an observation: Too often we look at these hulks and accurately and realistically point out that you’ll be upside down on value almost immediately. We need to remember that for most of us this is a hobby and not a business. A labor of love gets compensated accordingly.

    • Brad

      Oh yeah. my ’77 Monte had superior styling. The 350 4BBL 4 bolt and posi 3:73 made for great performance, and the swivel buckets were chick magnets. The Monte was a capable car, crossing the State of Texas in less than 7 hours, from Port Arthur to El Paso. Nonetheless, the styling of the Cordoba was beautiful, when properly equipped.

  22. HeadMaster1

    My Dad bought one brand new in 1975……he/we learned why you never buy a first year model of anew vehicle. The tires that came on it were great for rain in Windsor, but the tread pattern was a perfect match for the grooved freeways of Southern California…..Result, the car drove like it was on rails…..literally on rail, STUCK in the grooves…..So, brand new car, off to the tire store for new tires…..few months later the electronic ignition went out, then the alternator went out, about 4 times…….The funniest/scariest thing that happened was a family vacation in 75 from So Cal up to BC Canada……Being a 75 model it was the first to have cat. convertors and require “UNLEADED” fuel……Let’s just say finding unleaded fuel outside of CA in 1975 was about the same as finding leaded fuel today……Lots of circling small towns looking for no-lead…….My dad loved that car so much that by late 76′ he traded it in on a new 77′ buick estate wagon, that he kept until 83…….

  23. Chris N

    Ricardo explains the origins of Corinthian Leather with David Letterman. https://youtu.be/3p9g3JCZv1E

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