Curbside Capsule: 1979 Chrysler 300 – Red, White And Brougham

(first posted 4/23/2013)    While we have already done the first-gen Cordoba story here on CC, both the original and the facelifted ’78, today I want to tell you a little bit about a rare ‘Doba from 1979. Perhaps you’ve heard of it: the 300. In the middle of Chrysler’s 1978-79 meltdown, somehow, they managed to get this special edition out the door.

While the all-show-no-go “performance” packages were all the rage in the mid- to late-’70s, the 300 went beyond mere tape decals. Offered only in Spinnaker White, 300s came with a special cross-hair grille, 300 emblems on the grille, wheel centers, taillights and door panels. In addition, a 300 logo was etched into the opera window.

Rounding out the exterior changes were special alloy wheels, RWL Goodyear tires, color-keyed bumper rub strips, fake fender vents (not a recent affectation, apparently), sport mirrors and red, white and blue pinstriping. All in all it was a rather attractive package–not half as gaudy as your usual Herb Tarlek Edition Cordoba.

All 300s received a 195-horse version of the 360 CID V8, powered by Mopar’s storied Torqueflite, natch. Just a bit more than 3,800 were built, and though a similar treatment was offered on the redesigned, downsized 1980 Cordoba, it was not called a 300 but instead a Cordoba LS.

Interestingly, this primo 300 shot by our own Richard Bennett has the landau roof, despite the brochure stating that no vinyl roofs were available with the 300 package. Did someone strong-arm their C-P dealer, or did this car originally belong to a Chrysler Corp. big shot? It was found in Michigan…

No column shifts were allowed–all 3,811 300s got bucket seats with a passenger recliner and console-mounted shifter. The sport wheel looks much more appropriate here than the usual two-spoke Cordoba wheel.

This one seems to have been customized a bit, judging from its non-stock hood ornament (original cars had no hood ornament, only a “300” grille medallion) and a rear deck spoiler. Yes, a spoiler. I understand that this was the sporty version of the Cordoba, but a spoiler may be a bridge too far!

Anyway, this one is currently for sale, so if you have a jones for a sporty Corinthian-leather upholstered personal luxury coupe, look no further; but better hurry!