CC Capsule, Part 2: 1981 Chrysler Cordoba LS – Introducing Darlene

001 - 1981 Chrysler Cordoba LS CC

A few weeks ago, not one, but two Curbside Classics in motion were facing me at my neighborhood intersection on a Friday evening after work.  I was waiting for a different American luxury car of roughly the same vintage to make a right turn onto the main thoroughfare, and in the process, I had almost missed the opportunity to photograph this Cordoba which is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful personal luxury cars of its era.  When I had finished writing it up the very next day, I had no idea what was in store for me that same weekend.

003 - 1981 Chrysler Cordoba LS CC

I had been unable to photograph the the car’s most unique feature which was its aerodynamic, body-colored nose cap which completely transformed the look of the non-LS Cordoba into something much sportier and athletic-looking.  Think “brougham in an upscale track suit.”  I had been reasonably satisfied with the few shots I had managed until I spotted this same car from the bus on the Sunday afternoon of that same weekend, three weeks ago.  Of all times for me not to have my camera (which is usually tethered to me, even when I go out socially), this was especially frustrating.  Nonetheless, I deboarded at the next stop and doubled back to the driveway where the owner was detailing it.

006 - 1981 Chrysler Cordoba LS CC

He was in mid-conversation with two other passersby, two friendly ladies who looked to be roughly in their fifties, who were talking about and admiring the car’s sleek lines and pristine condition.  (I had just finished writing and scheduling my original Cordoba post on this car for the following Wednesday at that point, so it hadn’t run yet.)  I introduced myself to the owner and mentioned this site – and as it turns out, he’s a regular CC reader.

In the ten minutes or so in which he and I talked, at least two couples passing on the sidewalk also stopped to seriously admire this car.  One gentleman who incorrectly guessed the model year as “1978” seemed surprised to find out Cordobas were made into the 80’s.  I didn’t say it aloud, but was thinking, “Where was all this Cordoba-love back when it was needed, friends?”  Ha!  Nonetheless and needless to say, I was excited to be standing inches away from this car and speaking with its owner.

005 - 1981 Chrysler Cordoba LS CC

Enough about me recounting this experience – let’s get to the good stuff.  The owner’s name is Adam, and he has christened her “Darlene”.  We give names to the things we love.  Darlene is powered by Chrysler’s venerable 225 Slant Six and three-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission.  She’s bone-stock and all-original, save for the wheels which were sourced from another Cordoba.  Adam is the third owner, having made this purchase several years ago from the nephew of the original owner.  Would you believe that as of this writing, Darlene has just under 12,500 miles on the clock?  As the story goes, the car had belonged to an older couple in Ohio.  When the man of the house had passed away, the lady simply chose not to drive but quite literally to church and back.  When given to the nephew, he basically took the car on one trip, annually, from northern Ohio down to Cincinnati and back.

007 - OTHER 1981 Chrysler Cordoba LS CC

Adam had previously owned a different, Daystar Blue ’81 Cordoba LS pictured above (can you imagine having owned not one, but two of these beauties?) and had been casually looking for another one.  Admit it…like me, even if you don’t need, can’t afford, or don’t have space for the car of your dreams, you have searched the internet for it if only to torture yourself.  Adam ended up finding this ‘Doba (finished in Nighwatch Blue), and here’s the beautiful part of the story… The seller had another offer for full-asking-price on the table from another prospective buyer who had planned to flip it.  In successfully conveying to the seller just what an affinity he had for this car, Adam scored this stunning Cordoba for less than asking price, as it was important to the seller that the car would be loved and appreciated.  This is one example of where a buyer’s enthusiasm was advantageous and not a detriment.

004 - 1981 Chrysler Cordoba LS CC

Speaking of appreciation, are there any car photos better than those taken by an adoring owner?  All of these pictures are Adam’s shots of Darlene.  She currently rides on those ten-spoke wheels featured in the two top shots, but I feel the original wheels shown in the fourth and final shot are just as handsome.  (Adam still has the original set.)

Every once in a while, I’ll spot a car in the wild that makes my motor rev.  This is the first time, however, that two chance sightings (in one weekend, no less) led to an actual up-close viewing and a chance to talk with the owner.  Adam, thank you for this opportunity, and also for sharing your story and fantastic photos.

Chicago, Illinois.

Part I: In Motion Classic: 1981 Chrysler Cordoba LS – All Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go.