Cohort Capsule: 1975 Dodge Charger — Disco Ready! – Love To Love You Baby!

Photos from the Cohort by Hyperpack.

My wife is a fan of dance music, particularly any made between the late ’60s and the ’70s. Be it funk, disco, or salsa she’s always ready for a good time on the dance floor. It isn’t rare for me to find her playing some disco-era Earth Wind and Fire or Chic while working or cooking. Her love for that music period is genuine and heartfelt.

This of course leads to car-oriented-me to ponder useless car-oriented matters, such as: What car would I’ve driven to take my wife to a late ’70s Chic concert? In other words, what would have been an ideal Disco-car? And while a Monte Carlo usually pops into my head as the obvious answer, I think that today’s ’75 Dodge Charger find could work just as well.

Technically speaking, this Charger’s corporate sibling — the Chrysler Cordoba– would be a more appropriate ride. After all, I can do a Ricardo Montalban impersonation pretty well (that Latin accent…) But ultimately, a Charger of this era would be just as good for the purpose. If in good condition, of course.

The reinvention of the Charger as a full PLC has been a matter of discussion ever since the event, but in the long run, the nameplate turned out to be rather malleable. This Charger is usually not the one that pops first into my head when the nameplate is mentioned, but is not nearly as forgotten to me as the ’82-’87 one. 

Still, adapt or die. That’s as true for artists as for cars. And the Charger went through some dramatic changes to make it into the ’70s. Not unlike the original Bee Gees, which went from being a pop-soft-rock 1960s outfit to a 1970s disco powerhouse in order to survive; and thrive. You may question the Charger’s transformations –or enjoy them– but it was that, or no Charger at all.

But let’s leave the Bee Gees aside, about whom my wife cares little. Too John Travolta perhaps? I honestly have no idea. What I do know is that she was rather mesmerized when I recently played her Donna Summer’s early Disco hit “Love To Love You Baby.” Not the single, but the LP’s 16 min. piece. An expensive-sounding bit of danceable music with Euro flavor, lush-sounding violins, and a very ’70s rhythm section. And well, a good deal of ‘musical’ moaning. Donna’s piece was followed by some Barry White and Earth Wind and Fire’s “September”. All this while driving on my ’96 VW Golf on our way to the beach.

Yes, it was Boogie Time inside my Golf. All fun alright, but still… it was the wrong car. And thinking some more about it, what I needed was a mid-70s Cordoba Charger.

Donna’s “Love To Love You Baby” came out in ’75, heralding the arrival of the Disco era. The same year the Cordoba-based Charger came out to the market. Depending on your preferences, the confluence of the two being the peak of Western Civilization or the beginning of a long and steady decline.

And no wonder that early Disco sounded so sexy; those 1970s car interiors certainly looked lust-inducing.

But yes, the ’75-’78 Charger was a perfectly full-on Brougham PLC. A change that had been clearly coming, with the ’73-’74 Chargers already available in very Brougham form if so desired.

Base engines for the ’75 Charger were the 360 cid V8, with the 318 cid and 400 cid V8s available as well. And style-wise, the model wearing the trims and fittings for the era. From the “distinctive European road-style parking lights” to louvered opera windows.

Now, when it came to numbers, either the public didn’t fall completely for the Brougham Charger, or were more smitten with the Cordoba’s exotic-sounding Corinthian hides. In ’74, the Charger had moved 74K units in three trim levels, while only 30K units sold for ’75 altogether. Meanwhile, the Chrysler Cordoba moved 150K units.

But can you blame buyers? Chrysler as a brand had more cachet. And well, Montalban’s voice and presence were mighty charismatic, plus the guy could dance too. In case you didn’t know.

I honestly prefer Disco music over the Brougham cars of the ’70s, but that doesn’t take away that these cars speak to some of you out there. And I know that as worn as this Charger is, somewhere out there, someone would Love To Love This Baby.


Related CC reading:

Curbside Classic: 1976 Chrysler Cordoba – Fine Corinthian Brougham

Curbside Classic: 1978 Chrysler Cordoba – The Fine Little Chrysler

CC Capsule: 1977 Chrysler Cordoba Sin Cuero Corintio