Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Cordoba is a model once famously promoted by actor Ricardo Montalbán for its “rich Corinthian Leather” interior. Let’s see what we make of that fancy upholstery and whether it lives up to the car’s current price tag.
How many of you have watched car pricing skyrocket over the past year or so and have thought to yourself that, I too would like to board this crazy train? Perhaps that was the thought of the seller of yesterday’s tidy but worn 1984 Mazda B2000 pickup. At $8,750, most of you thought that the little truck needed to be a whole lot tidier and a hell of a lot less worn to garner any interest. In the end, the crazy train wasn’t stopping at our station, as you sent the Mazda packing with a massive 90 percent no Dice loss.
You know, it’s hard to say whether the actor Ricardo Montalbán is today better remembered for having played, and then reprised the role of Khan Noonien Singh on Star Trek, or for playing the convivial and yet kind of creepy Mr. Roarke on Fantasy Island in between. Of course, for those of us who are car nuts of a certain age, he is and will always be best remembered for his stint as a Chrysler spokesperson, touting the “rich Corinthian leather” of the Chrysler Cordoba.
The Cordoba was Chrysler’s stab at the hip mid-size personal coupe market that was burgeoning in the 1970s. It went up against competitors like Chevrolet’s Monte Carlo, the Pontiac Grand Prix, and Ford’s Thunderbird in that crowded but lucrative category.
It certainly looked the part, with its ostentatious upright grille, long hood, and de rigueur landau roof. The design was recycled for the contemporary Dodge Charger but those sold in tiny numbers compared to the Cordoba. Maybe the Dodge’s leather wasn’t as rich or as Corinthian?
This 1979 Chrysler Cordoba represents the model’s updated style from its mid-cycle refresh which came a year earlier. That revised the nose, replacing the round headlamps and inset turn signals with stacked rectangular lights and large fender-capping flashers that also housed cornering lamps. The rear end also saw some attention, although the changes were more subtle, being limited to a more acute angle for the block-style tail lamps on either side of the squared-off trunk lid.
All of that complimented the Cordoba’s baroque styling although the nose did become a bit more generic as it seems that all the American manufacturers were going for the same stacked rectangular lights and faux Rolls Royce style grille at the time.
This one appears to be an amazing survivor, having done a mere 69,000 miles per the ad. That very same ad also claims that the Cordoba still wears its original Chrysler Midnight Blue paint and color-coordinated vinyl landau roof. For the most part, the bodywork looks to be in good shape. There is a sizable dent on the left-front fender though. That appears to be the result of something having fallen on the car rather than an interaction with another car or object. Aside from that, all the chrome — and there’s a lot of it — seems to be in great shape, as do the turbine-style wheel covers which are wrapped in era-appropriate whitewall tires.
Inside, there’s that rich Corinthian leather that Montalbán loved so much. That’s also blue, tying in well with the exterior hue. There’s one feature on the Cordoba that Chrysler never let its suave spokesperson tout, but which I bet he would have enjoyed immensely. That, of course, the crotch-cooler air vents in the dash. This is a wonderful design that places a small air vent under the steering column and another beneath the glove box, either of which is intended to keep the occupant’s junk from getting too sweaty. Why don’t cars have this amazing feature anymore? I’m looking at you Elon Musk?
Popping under the hood reveals that this Cordoba does indeed have A/C componentry. The ad doesn’t say, however, if it’s working other than the mention that “Everything inside works with the exception of the aftermarket radio.” In regards to that non-working radio, the ad claims that “the original radio with 8-track tape is included but not installed.”
Powering the car is a 195 horsepower 360 CID V8. That’s mated to a three-speed Torqueflite A727 automatic as one would expect. The combo should give the 3,800 pound Cordoba adequate performance, but don’t plan on rushing any pregnant ladies to the hospital in one.
According to the ad, this Cordoba is a two-ower car and comes with a clean title. It has received a new dual exhaust setup and has enjoyed a service on its disc/drum brakes. The present owner claims “I would drive it to California tomorrow with no hesitation.”
That’s not going to happen if the car sells, however. At $6,350, we’re about to weigh in on how likely a scenario that just might be. What’s your take on this rare survivor Cordoba and that $6,350 asking? Does that seem like a deal for all that rich Corinthian leather? Or, do you think that’s just too rich?
H/T to Peter McCarthy for the hookup!
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