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Mr. Montalban’s Express: 1979 Chrysler Cordoba 300

Ricardo Montalban couldn’t been seen in a Lil’ Red Express in 1979. A chopped up Volare on Fantasy Island, maybe, but never a Dodge pickup truck! So for the last year of the ’70s, Mother Mopar created a 300 out of a Cordoba, so Mr. Corinthian Leather could make both his acting and promotional gigs quickly. This one of 3,811 can be found here on craigslist in Utica, NY for $4,500. Though showing rust in a few typical spots, for being a claimed 40,000 mile car from New York, it is relatively clean. These 1979 Chrysler Cordoba 300’s had enough mechanical and trim detailing to earn the red, white, and blue badging, relative to the times. The aluminum wheels are all accounted for with center caps and trim. The bumpers still have their matching color rub strips. Pin striping and emblems specific to the 300 package are still where they were hung nearly 40 years ago. If the car hadn’t been sitting for so long, it looks like it could be ready for Friday night car shows right now.

Inside, fading can be found on the door panel plastic, as well as some light cracking of the aforementioned Corinthian leather. One dash split can be seen up top, but overall, the steering wheel, armrest, carpet, and console all look great. Some conditioning of the seats would really improve the reclining buckets. And this is just how I like to outfit my luxury cars, by skipping the power windows. How about that engine turned dash? In a Cordoba no less!

Cobwebs could have been a dealer add on, as Chrysler’s in 1979 weren’t exactly selling like today’s SUVs. When Cordoba went to stacked, rectangular headlights, sales began to fall. The 300 package, which added $2,040 to the bottom line, wasn’t able to turn the ship around. Packing Chrysler’s largest passenger car V8, the 360 with a 4 barrel, as well as plenty of off the shelf heavy duty parts, the Cordoba could hold its own with smaller and sportier vehicles. Said to need a new gas tank and owner. Are you ready to make this Cordoba 300 your fantasy?


  1. Roger

    These are pretty quick cars for the era with the E58 360 police engine and a few other added goodies,my wife owned one of these when we first met and I drove it a few times,when you kicked it down the speedometer and factory tach went in one direction and the fuel gauge would go the other,it had the power windows and ( non working)power locks and a different steering wheel than the featured car but because of numerous issues after we were married it found a new home,wish now we would’ve kept it knowing what I know now.

  2. John D.

    Our dealership had one new one and one from the factory auction. The used one became my demo. It was a sweet car. But in 79 – 80, they were sale resistant, especially for a small store that generally sold family cars. I believe 79 was the year that saw the Cordoba go from being our best selling car to everybody wanting the small gas sippers.

    • Grey O'Brien

      I agree with you I got a new one when I graduated from high school in 81. It seems like the dealers in So.Cal couldn’t get rid of them.

  3. Sparkster

    I’m guessing that the “wood” under the tires means it doesn’t move from that location and is covered after pictures are taken. Not a bad idea non the less

  4. 68 custom

    I think these shared the engine and tranny with the Little red express so they have the potential to be a good runner. I have never before seen one devoid of power options but this car appears legit. someday these may command head scratching high dollars prices but it has not happened yet, they are fairly rare!

  5. Jack Quantrill

    Had a ‘78 Cordoba, Black with red Corinthian “lather “. Went 200,000 Miles, and the gardener bought it for $500. They laughed when test driving but bought it anyway.

  6. Rustytech Member

    The 78/79 Cordoba’s had a 318 with a 2 bbl. they were a dog! Not a bad car, just slow. The 300’s had a standard 360 with 4bbl. they were quick, but scary going into a high speed turn. I loved mine, and drove it well over 100k before Tin worm ate most of it. I hate road salt!

  7. David Miraglia

    The car for the real Khan, not the fake one

  8. V. Clark

    I owned a 78 I believe and it had the big block 400 727 torque flite auto in it and was pretty quick for being as big as it was I paid $900 for it in the early 90s drove it 3 years and sold it for $1200 one of the best cruisers I ever had mine was green with white corinthian leather and a white opera roof beautiful car should have kept as it only had 65k on it when I sold it

  9. carsofchaos

    I know I’m in the minority of people who dig these, but I do. For them being rare, I have seen 5-6 of them for sale here in the Jersey area over the last year. What’s say we pool our money, buy all of them, then corner the market……

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