Here’s something to enjoy over breakfast: a very fine round-eye Cordoba, by John Baker.
Hmmm. Monte Carlo in a more expensive suit?
Man I’d love to rescue that, doesn’t even look like there’s any rust!
Some things were made to be round, like steering wheels (cough, Elon) and Cordoba headlamps…
I do like the name “Corinthian Cruiser” at the top of the windshield – very clever.
I know they were intended to be personal luxury coupes and have whitewalls etc but something about the Cordoba makes it look pretty decent with the inevitable chrome mag wheels that find their way onto many examples.
The twin round headlamp look is much better than this one I found some years ago. No inboard parking lamps either on the square eye either.
In retrospect the stampede to rectangular headlights in the late 70s wasn’t always pretty. Many curvaceous automotive ( and motorcycle) shapes were blighted by them.
What’s weird is the stacked rounds seemed to be concocted to more or less fit directly in the footprint of the large singles with only a revised header panel and little other retooling, yet unlike the Monte Carlo or LTD II(from the Elite) it actually looks like Chrysler changed the hood stamping a bit to square up the lines going to them. The result definitely wasn’t worth it.
They just had to change the front piece/apron. I’m sure it has a name but the front piece of painted plastic or metal that holds the grille and headlights. The fenders and hood look unchanged. They blended the round and rectangular all in the front piece.
Actually no, not only was the hood new to accommodate the stacked lights, the fenders were as well. Look at the cutlines, the round lights have the fender/hood seam right in the center of the light bumps, the 78 has the light bumps fully contained within the hood
For some reason, cars with stacked rectangles always seem to wind up looking the same.
The vertical square-headlight stack was deployed almost exclusively as a final facelift to eke out a last model year or two from an aging design. I can’t think of any American car or US-spec import “born” with stacked squares.
St. John’s cemetery is not far from home, and it is where many infamous mobsters are planted or ensconced, and several weeks ago there was a very patinated Cordoba parked across from the latticceria, not far from Lucky Luciano’s mausoleum.
A comparison to my Subaru.
I wonder if Lido was doing consulting work for Chrysler on the sly. Or saw the writing on the wall with the Duce.
The Cordoba is typical Lido; take an existing frame, add a sporty body or luxurious interiors, and voila; a whole new market segment home run.
Considering how badly Ford was playing the smaller PLC game in the mid-seventies (Torino Elite, Cougar), the Cordoba sure seems like a better executed Iacocca project.
After the 1962 downsizing debacle, Lynn Townsend and Elwood Engel had a habit of just making their own Mopar version of whatever had worked for GM the last model cycle and taking the remaining scraps of that market. For the most part, that plan worked well, and the Chrysler version of the Grand Prix/Monte Carlo is an example of when it worked ‘extremely’ well.
Unfortunately for Chrysler, there were circumstances and events during the seventies which otherwise put a real crimp in the follow-GM program, first with big, intermediate-based ponycars to take the biggest engines, then later sticking with traditional full-size cars while GM played the downsizing game much better.
The Cordoba was really the 70s version of the Charger – a B body with all new coupe only sheetmetal and some extra luxury inside compared to a Coronet.
While the Cordoba gets all the mid-seventies B-body Chrysler love, most recall that the similarly styled Charger SE wasn’t so lucky.
But there were lesser B-body coupes, too, that are mostly forgotten. There was the Plymouth Fury ‘Sport’ which is mainly remembered as the basis for the last intermediate Road Runner, a truly lame, quasi-musclecar that was a mere shadow of the original. It’s a toss-up if it was better or worse than the nearly as bad next year’s lame six-cylinder Volare Road Runner.
On the Dodge side, 1975 saw the reemergence of the Coronet coupe, quickly renamed the next year as the Charger ‘Sport’, and finally the Monaco (what, no ‘Sport’?) for the coupe’s last year in 1978 before a major restyle.
Unfortunately, none of these lower trim Mopar coupes sold anywhere near as well as the Cordoba.
I think the problem with both of them is that the 75s went full Plodge and gave up on making them look different apart from fussy little details, the dodge and plymouth “regular” coupes(and sedans) were the same, and the Cordoba and Charger specialty bodies were the same, and all that identity got watered down. The Charger (on and off again SE) probably shouldn’t have existed, I have always argued the Charger deserves credit for being one of the first intermediate PLCs with a specialty body, but there were certain defining traits about it that carried through between 66 and 74 that all were simultaneously shed for 1975.
The 76 Charger Sport for my money was the most pathetic though, the Charger name on a plymouth body (plodge aside, those fenders were a defining Plymouth theme), which had zero resemblance to the SE to boot, its like product planners realized their error for 1975 and to try to fix it made it worse! At least the Roadrunner wasn’t speced any worse than it was from the 74s, and while the styling was more formal there really wasn’t any rule as to how a Roadrunner should look, just that it was based on a Plymouth B body coupe.
Has it been lowered, or is it just 47 years of gravity?
Once, long ago in the mid 90’s, I briefly owned a ’77 Cordoba. It was a $250 dollar beater car, but still had a certain something, even though the leather closely resembled dissolving mummy skin.
I’ve got so much love for these. I still hold out hope to catch one in motion with my camera one day.
Round headlights is the only way to go on this car. My father had a 77 for a very short period of time as the car was filling in between jobs back in 1978. I recall it being red and I drove it twice to the best of my memory. Wasn’t a bad car with it’s 360.
These grew on me quite a bit, I never was much of a fan of the Cordoba after the more sleek and muscular era of 68-74 B body coupes, but in the context of designs in the 70s they stand up really well, even the bumpers look well integrated.
The light in the photograph catches the lines of the car just right, and really sets it off.
I think it has some version of the Cordoba emblem “coin” on the centers of the rims.
Shorn of all trim (chrome trim, chrome strips, various vinyl toupees), the round-light Cordoba was a really nice-looking car. In a way, it had some Tribute-to-Virgil-Exner styling cues that actually worked (full wheel openings all around, a hint of separate fender blades front and rear, long hood/short deck,classic-style grille…) that made stand out, style-wise.
IDK about skipping the vinyl top, it was really made to have one and the take rate had to have been substantial. The gen 2 with its’ double quarter windows – also seen on many contemporary Japanese hardtop coupes (Subaru, Datsun 200SX, Corolla), like most late ’70s sheer line cars, looks much better in rarely-seen-in-their-day vinyl-free form.
The Charger and Magnum seemed to have a few variants where the landau top wasn’t equipped with. I’d agree it’s a little naked looking, but I prefer it overall.
Were it not for the Cordoba, I doubt Chrysler Corporation would have survived the 70s (and even then, it barely did). Not only was this car a bona fide sales success, personal luxury cars were immensely profitable. It was originally supposed to be a Plymouth, so making it a Chrysler, with an appropriately higher price tag, was a smart move.
My wife learned to drive in the ’76 Cordoba her dad bought new. Buying any Mopar in the 70s was like playing Russian Roulette with quality and reliability. He got one of the good ones.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Copyright 2011 - 2021 Curbside Classics. All Rights Reserved.