The Chrysler Cordoba (and 300)
The early days of the Chrysler Cordoba
The Chrysler Cordoba first appeared in 1975, a twin of the formalized Dodge Charger SE. It was reportedly meant to be a Plymouth, rather than a Chrysler, and the new nameplate was allegedly a last-minute change. It is quite possible that much of the Cordoba’s success came from that name — it allowed for Chrysler-level interior and exterior trim, added a sense of luxury and class that was more consistent with the Chrysler than Plymouth (even if Chevrolet was busily reaching up and Cadillac equally busily reaching down), capitalized on Chrysler’s reputation from past near-luxury cars.
The Chrysler brand needed the extra sales; “full size” cars had suddenly become unpopular, and that was most of the Chrysler brand’s stock-in-trade. Over half of the Chryslers built in that first year were Cordobas. For just over $5,000, a buyer could say with pride that they owned a Chrysler, in the days when Chrysler ranked with Lincoln and Oldsmobile.
The Cordoba was a B-body, like the humble Coronet and Satellite, but given the Chrysler sound-insulation and luxury-feel treatment, it sold in vast numbers. A full 150,000 Cordobas were sold in 1975, all of them two-door hardtop coupes. In February 1975, PR man Frank Wylie bragged in a press release, “Cordoba the new Chrysler personal luxury car has flourished wondefully in 1975. Already Cordoba is #3 among the specialty cars. It is outselling such astablished cars as Gran Prix, Cougar, T-Bird, Toronado, and Riviera (January 1-February 20 sales showed Monte Carlo at 23,838; Ford Torino X at 10,752; and Cordoba at 10,445. Gran Prix followed at 7,983; the Cougar and Thunderbird could not break 5,000, and Toronado and Riviera were both below 2,400.)
The Cordoba was still the big seller for Chrysler in 1977. A small step up in wheelbase, but a big step in luxury feel, many changes took place under the Cordoba's skin in the name of saving weight. The wheelbase was a modest 115 inches, not much more than the "compacts," but the B-body ride was far smoother than the F-bodies, and cornering was not compromised.
The smallest engine, even in 1975, was a cash-back option: the 318 V-8 coupled with a TorqueFlite automatic. The standard engine was the 400 cid V-8 (with two or four barrel carburetors) until 1978. Like the Charger SE, the Cordoba could also be ordered with a 360 (depending on year, both two and four barrels could be available). Equipped with this big engine, the Cordoba easily beat the Buick Century Regal and Ford Granada in acceleration, with a 17-second-flat quarter mile; but gas mileage suffered accordingly. It was priced just a little above Regal, yet below Granada by a good margin; and the interior was quieter than either of those competitors. (All based on Car & Driver which recorded a 0-60 time of 9.3 seconds — well below the 1976 Dart Sport 360.) Performance wasn't bad for the time, and strong torque meant instant acceleration at highway speed.
Starting in 1978, the 318 had Lean Burn and, in California, a four-barrel carburetor; the 400 got Lean Burn in 1977. A single 1976 model has been reported with Lean Burn; Martin McCrea confirmed that it was purchased in September 1976 in Bedford, Massachussetts, and was, a year later, imported to Ireland; his father owned the car in 2011, but was planning to sell it.
The Cordoba was originally a B-body, one step in size above the Valiant A-body, but smaller than other Chryslers, which were C and D bodied (Chrysler would eventually step down to the next-generation A-body, dubbed the J or M, and eventually end up selling K-cars). The wheelbase was a modest 115 inches.
The suspension used longitudinal front torsion bars with lower trailing links and an anti-sway bar, coupled with semi-elliptical rear springs and a rear anti-sway bar. This provided the large, heavy car with surprisingly good handling. A standard lockup torque converter showed up in 1978 and by 1979 was on most cars.
For 1977, Cordoba added a chrome-plated grille, eight new body colors, new tail light lenses, deck lid lock cover and medallion, black and white checked cloth-and-vinyl seat covers, low-slip torque converter (to go with the standard 400 V8 engine), suspension crossmember rustproofing (“Autophoretic Paint System”), weight reductions, cooler-running fifteen-inch glass-belt radials, more reliable wire terminals, higher-capacity ignition switch, and double-contact starter relay for better starting. New options included T-tops, a padded landau roof with an illuminated opera band across the roof and Frenched rear quarter windows, color-keyed body-side mouldings, side and deck stripes.
Despite annual styling and option changes, the early Cordobas remained similar in appearance and substance through 1979. They were joined in 1978 by the Dodge Magnum XE and GT, and in 1980 by the virtually identical Dodge Mirada.
In 1978, the Chrysler Cordoba saw many weight-saving changes under the skin, and a power sunroof was made optional; only a single car, the two door hardtop, was sold. Dropping the cash-back pretense, the base engine was now the 318 (with two barrel carb, or four barrel carb in California) with Lean Burn; the 360 was optional in both two and four barrel carb versions, along with the 400 V8.
Cordoba was still popular for a Chrysler in 1978 with 112,000 sales, but the writing was on the wall; 112,000 was a scary drop for a car that had beaten 160,000 for two years in a row. Even that 112,000 would be looked on with nostalgia; in 1979, the last year for the “full sized” Cordoba, sales dropped below 80,000 (possibly, partly due to a square-look makeover). That was also a good year, compared to what was to come.
In 1980, the Cordoba joined the LeBaron and Dodge Mirada on a shorter wheelbase; the “new” chassis, dubbed J-body, was essentially the same as the M-body Diplomat, which in turn was essentially the F-body Volare-Aspen. The standard V8 was replaced by a base slant six.
The appearance kept the new square look, complete with front fins reminiscent of the final Valiants. Two new premium models were brought out, the Cordoba Crown and the Corinthian Edition Package; the latter had 60/40 cashmere leather seating, leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, and many other luxury features. New Cordoba coin ornaments were added to the hood and body sides; forged aluminum wheels were made optional, along with a vinyl Landau roof, flag-type driver's outside mirror, opera windows, new tail lamps and colors, three two-tone paint combinations, and front and rear side marker lights and reflectors. Bright moldings were applied just about everywhere they could be on Crown. Tires were comfort-oriented P195/75R15 glass-belted radials with whitewalls; three new wheel covers were available. Halogen headlights were now standard.
The new Cordoba two-door hardtop had a new appearance and was smaller and lighter in weight than typical Chryslers. The chrome-plated grille had a vertical texture and was surrounded by a chrome-plated die-cast frame for extra richness. New quarter windows, tinted glass all around and chrome-plated stamped aluminum bumpers were standard. A special Crown edition with padded Landau vinyl roof, "Frenched" rear-window treatment and opera lamps was new.
A 318 V8 with two-barrel or four-barrel carburetor was optional. The only engine available in California was the four-barrel 318. Not noted as being available, but likely, was the 360.
Sales plummeted even further, to below 50,000, making the car and the Chrysler brand niche players. Still, Cordoba managed to outsell the Dodge Mirada and Chrysler Imperial.
The 1982 cars brought halogen headlamps, better rustproofing, and clearcoat paint; an optional four-way passenger seat, with new bucket seat cushions, a new polished steering wheel, and a better stereo. The LS was added, and front-end styling was changed, with the parking and lane-change lights moved between the headlights and the grille. The front wheel drive cars were far more popular, and Cordoba’s four-door stablemates would remain to represent the rear wheel drive contingent until 1989, selling mainly to fleets. The Cordoba stayed on through 1983, and dropped out of the game, having gone from a 160,000-sale monster to a barely-moving “Volare with frills.”
Was a Plymouth version of the Cordoba ever planned?
Burton Bouwkamp wrote:
The 1975 Chrysler Cordoba was always intended to be Thunderbird/Riviera/Grand Prix competition. This upmarket specialty segment was stable and profitable, so the “beancounter” management finally agreed that we needed to be there.
The mistake that we (including me) in Product Planning made was deriving the 1975 Dodge Charger from the Cordoba sheetmetal. The Cordoba style was far too formal for the Charger buyer. We would have been better off carrying over the 1974 Charger. [The Charger SE looked identical to the Cordoba, but came with a performance suspension. Just 36,000 Charger SEs left the line, though, compared with over 160,000 Cordobas. — editor]
Within two years Charger sales were so bad that the nameplate disappeared - replaced by the Magnum. In the meantime the Cordoba sold well and made a lot of money for the Corporation.
There were no plans to do a Plymouth version of the Cordoba. By that time, Chrysler and Plymouth were combined into one division, so C-P dealers had a luxury specialty car (Cordoba).
1976 Details from Rich Hutchinson
In small print above the year in “1976 Cordoba,” the brochure said, “The Small Chrysler.” Standard seating was a “cashmere-like knit cloth and vinyl” bench seat with center armrest; the uplevel was the velour 60/40 seat configuration. Top of the line was the famous Corinthian leather.
The dashboard was traditional 1970s Chrysler, with a three spoke wheel that looks pretty sporty. The climate controls were hidden to the left of the steering wheel much like they were on the Omni/Horizon, and for all of the cars' beauty that's still a foolish place to put them.
The (optional) power window controls were mounted flush against the door panel, likely in the same spot the standard crank was. The optional sunroof was manually operated. It featured the Chronometer clock on the passenger side of the dash.
The 1976 Cordoba rode on a 115" wheelbase, and stretched to 215.3" long. It was 52.6" tall and 77.1" wide. The brochure tells me the 400 ci V8 with 2bbl carb was standard, fed by a 25.5 gallon gas tank. Optional V8 motors were:
- 318/2 bbl carb (no charge option to save fuel)
- 360/2bbl carb (except in California)
- 400-4V single exhaust
- 400 ci 4bbl and dual exhaust (n/a in California).
My folks had a 1976 Cordoba, and I've got great memories of it. It was burgundy with white leather and a white landau roof (even thought the brochure doesn't list that as a possible combination; a late addition perhaps?). It had the 400 4 barrel carb. My dad always raved about the handling, and I still think it's one of the most beautiful cars they came up with. 1976 was my favorite version too. A very classy looking vehicle. The latter stacked headlight versions didn't cut it, and the downsized version really didn't cut it.
(The following photo and the one at the top of the page are from Tannon Weber's 1978 model. It has a 4-barrel 360 with dual exhaust, headers, an X pipe, and a 3.21:1 SureGrip 9.25" rear axle. The color is Cadet Blue Metallic. The Torq Thrust II wheels are 15" by 7", and have P255/60R15 tires on them. You can e-mail him at this address.)
The Cordoba-based Chrysler 300 (Bob Downard)
I owned two of these great cars in the early 1980s while working at a Chrysler dealership, and can attest that the performance of these rare machines was on par, if not beyond the Z-28, Firebird and even the heavily smogged up Corvettes of the day! (See http://www.chrysler300clubinc.com/1979300.htm)
Here in Canada these cars usually came fully loaded, and beefy rear sway bars, a factory tach, and brushed trim was standard on the dash. With the 360 4bbl W2 premium motor from the Lil Red Express pickup, a stout Torqueflight and 3:21 final drive, mine would pull red line in 3rd gear. I bought my first from Chrysler Credit as a repo, the body was mint, but the car had been badly beaten mechanically. The price was low and with a little help from a buddy in the parts department, (and the fact the car had several months warranty left on it), we rebuilt the motor, trans and rear end just full of Direct Connection parts. I paid the difference between stock and my employee price, warranty paid the rest!
As a result of this overhaul, my 4400 lb leather and air conditioned “Cordoba” 300 would sit and smoke the tires nonstop from a start and give a nice spin and step sideways into second gear. I ran it once at the drag strip, and despite my inexperience, recorded a 14.7 in the low nineties.
1980 Chrysler Cordoba details
Cordoba for 1980 was redesigned and restyled for a more contemporary appearance, to be smaller and more economical. The wheelbase was dropped to 112.7 inches, length to 210 inches, and weight cut by an ample 400 pounds; but it remained roomy, and even had more legroom and rear hip room than in the prior year. As with the F and M bodies (Volare and Diplomat), it had a transverse torsion-bar front suspension. However, sales continued to fall, without a break in the straight-line plummet experienced since 1977; and by 1981, only 20,000 Cordobas were sold, though in 1976 and 1977 Chrysler had built 160,000 of the popular cars. Luxury was being rapidly redefined, and despite strong sales of some K-based vehicles, Chrysler would not be seriously considered a luxury brand (or a near-luxury brand) after the 1970s.
A new premium model was brought out, using an ex-Imperial name: Cordoba Crown. The Corinthian Edition Package was brought out as well. The grille was changed and given a more vertical look; the dual headlamps were replaced by single rectangular lamps, in the fashion of the day; new Cordoba coin ornaments were added to the hood and body sides; forged aluminum wheels were made optional, along with a vinyl Landau roof, flag-type driver’s outside mirror, opera windows, new tail lamps and colors, three two-tone paint combinations, and front and rear side marker lights and reflectors. Bright moldings were applied just about everywhere they could be on Crown. Tires were comfort-oriented P195/75R15 glass-belted radials with whitewalls; three new wheel covers were available. Halogen headlights were now standard.
The new Cordoba two-door hardtop had a new appearance and was smaller and lighter in weight than typical Chryslers. The chrome-plated grille had a vertical texture and was surrounded by a chrome-plated die-cast frame for extra richness. New quarter windows, tinted glass all around and chrome-plated stamped aluminum bumpers were standard. A special Crown edition with padded Landau vinyl roof, "Frenched ' rear-window treatment and opera lamps was new.
A Corinthian Edition Package, with 60/40 cashmere leather seating, leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, and many other luxury features was also available.
Inside, new door trim panels had integral armrests and door pull handles with Cordoba coin insets. There were four interior color choices, an optional illuminated entry system, and a new Featherwood instrument-panel trim (not actually wood). A cloth and vinyl folding center armrest split-back bench seat, front and rear ashtrays, color-keyed molded headliner, and tinted glass, all standard. More serious features included an inside hood release, full interior lighting, standard bi-level heater-defroster, electric rear defroster, intermittent wipers, and alternator and temp gauges. Comfort features included a standard AM radio, optional cruise, and power locks with armrest-mounted switches, along with air conditioning (both manual and thermostatically controlled) coupled with a better heater; a Maximum Cooling Package; and a new console in the instrument panel (with bucket seats). Late in the year, an electric glass sunroof was added; and cornering lamps and leather seats were available, the latter only on Crown.
Engines included the slant six, and a 318 V8 with two-barrel or four-barrel carburetor was optional. The only engine available in California was the four-barrel 318. Not noted as being available, but possible, was the 360.
Improvements included lighter-weight windshield wiper carriers, a new cruise control servo body, reduced emissions-control maintenance on single-barrel slant six and four-barrel 318, sidesill jacking, 18 gallon fuel tank, better rustproofing, standard 60 amp alternator, and other features described in the 1980 Chrysler Engineering section.
A new console was optional on Cordoba models with bucket seats, color-keyed to the interior. It had an air vent on the passenger side and a storage compartment with a push-button cover. The shift mechanism was console-mounted on vehicles with bucket seats and console.
The air conditioning automatically activated when the dehumidifier was used.
Special removable tinted glass panels on either side of the roof let in light and could be stored in the luggage compartment in a vinyl bag for the open air feeling of a convertible.
An electronic digital clock was optional. Its vacuum fluorescent blue-green display provided bright daytime and soft nighttime intensity.
A new power-operated tinted glass sun roof was optional on Cordoba-with or without a vinyl roof. The sun roof was color coordinated in one of two tints -gray or gold, and had an integral sun shade. The motor unit for this option was located in the trunk area for improved headroom.
The illuminated entry system option turned on the interior courtesy lights, and illuminated the door lock cylinders whenever either exterior door handle was lifted and released -even though the car doors were locked. All courtesy lights turned off automatically after 30 seconds or when the ignition switch was turned on.
New outside mirrors for featured an aerodynamic, flag-type design. The optional right mirror was convex to increase the field of vision to the rear.
The optional power seat adjuster let you adjust the seat 6 ways-up, down, forward, backward, plus tilting forward or backward. The power option was available on the driver's side with bucket seats or the driver's side of the 60/40split-back bench seat.
Tilting steering column was available, too.
A four-barrel, dual-exhaust version (E58) was available late with the Chrysler 300 package, except in California. Improved engine breathing resulted in an increase of 55 horsepower over the same engine with a 2-barrel carburetor and single exhaust system. This engine was also equipped with the Electronic Spark Control System. The distributor had two magnetic pickups-instead of just one-to improve idle spark tinning stability for better idle quality and improved fuel economy.
1980 Cordoba standard features
Featherwood trim was standard, using injection-molded plastic in two sections which were ultrasonically welded together. The trim pad was molded vinyl, the top of the instrument panel of plastic and easily removable for servicing.
Chrysler's modular instrument panel was designed to make bulbs, switches, gauges and other units in the panel more accessible for servicing. All instruments, switches, controls and the radio were accessible and removable from the passenger compartment side of the panel. The snap-in top cover provided access to radio speakers and wiring.
The speedometer had a maximum speed of 85 miles per hour (with 55 highlighted in blue) and had smaller calibrations for kilometers per hour. An odometer-plus a trip odometer with a push-button reset-were both calibrated in miles and were standard.
The bilevel heater system had components for optional air conditioning (ducts and outlets), in conjunction with heating ducts and outlets. When the "Bi-Level" button was depressed, the heated air was distributed 30% to the floor area and 70% through the air-conditioning instrument-panel outlets. Cordoba's heater had a four-speed blower; automatic temperature control was optional.
Windshield washer jets on wiper arms put four streams of washer fluid directly onto the windshield at each wiper blade for fast cleaning. The wiper blade arm on the driver's side had an articulated action: the blade arms parked off the windshield below the hood line.
A compact spare tire was standard, because it was lighter in weight and easier to install. It provided more usable trunk space because it could be stored vertically in the quarter panel wall. A conven tional tire was available at extra cost. It was not available with air conditioning except when Sure-Grip Differential was ordered which required the conventional tire.
Wide rearview mirror had its mounting bonded directly to the windshield glass, giving it a good location for rearward visibility. The mirror was adjustable on a ball joint and had a day-night selector.
By applying light pressure to the turn-signal, the signals will flash to indicate a change of lane and will stop flashing when the lever was released.
Power steering had a fast-ratio steering gear with 3.5 turns stop to stop.
Controlled by engine temperature, carburetor, air velocity and vacuum, the automatic choke was standard. The heat-sensing coil was recessed in the exhaust manifold on 6-cylinder engine and in the exhaust crossover choke pocket on the V-8; it used electrically assisted heating.
Circuit breakers prevented wiring damage and automatically provided for restoration of circuit continuity when the fault was removed. The following circuits were protected: headlamps, wipers and power windows, seats, door locks. A system of fusible links protected the charging system circuit and all main electrical circuits. Extreme overload current in any protected main feed circuit opened that fusible link without disabling circuits fed by other fusible links-thus preventing total electrical power loss due to a problem in that main feed circuit.
For many more details on the 1980 Chrysler Cordobas, including radio options and such, see our main 1980 engineering page.
1982 Chrysler Cordoba
For 1982, halogen headlamps became standard; a new rear suspension anti-sway bar became optional, along with a new high-altitude emissions control; and precoated steels, painted with a zinc-rich primer, were used to prevent rust. In addition, a new formal vinyl roof without opera windows became standard; a clearcoat paint finally became available; dual remote control sport mirrors were standard; and body-side, hood, and decklid stripes became available as a single option. Otherwise these models were essentially a carryover of 1981, with two models - Cordoba and Cordoba LS. Standard features included a wide-ratio TorqueFlite automatic transmission, 225 slant six engine with a single-barrel carburetor, power steering and brakes (disc front, drum rear), and P195/75R15 glass-belted radials. A variety of steering wheels and wheel covers were available, along with three vinyl roofs - cabriolet (simulated convertible), padded landau vinyl, and non-padded landau vinyl.
Engines were now down to the trustworthy 225 slant six with single-barrel electronic feedback carburetor, and the 318 V8 with two-barrel carburetor (four-barrel in California only); a single transmission was available. A kickdown feature was standard to make passing easier; the transmission automatically dropped a gear when the pedal was pushed about 1/3 of the way down. When the optional center console was ordered, the gearshift was placed in it instead of on the column, its normal position. A compact spare was standard, a standard spare was optional (along with larger 7.0” JJ wheels that accommodated 205/75 or 215/70 radials).
The instrument panel, with brushed-aluminum trim, was made of injection-molded plastic with a vinyl trim pad. The top of the instrument panel could be removed for easier access; the dashboard itself had a modular design, also for easier servicing. All instruments, controls, and the radio were accessible from the passenger side. Gauges for the alternator, temperature, and fuel level were standard; the speedometer only went up to 85 mph. A trip odometer was standard. Windshield washer jets directed four streams of fluid onto the glass, and two-speed wipers were standard with blades that parked below the hoodline. Remote outside mirrors were standard, using wire/spring connectors, as was tinted glass.
Luxury features included a semi-automatic climate control, with a slider that would set the temperature anywhere from 65 to 85 degrees (Farenheit). A vent feature (push Norm in and then pull it out) allowed for use of the fresh-air vents without air conditioning. Another option that should have been more popular was the electric rear defroster, which came with a 78-amp alternator. Other options included tilt wheel, T-bar roof, intermittent wipers, automatic cruise control (on the stalk), digital clock, power windows, six-way power seat, 60/40 split-bench power seat, power locks and deck-lid release, illuminated entry system, and cornering lights.
Radio options included the standard AM unit as well as a digital quartz-lock seek-and-scan FM stereo; 8-track or cassette with AM/FM stereo radios; plain AM/FM stereo; CB radio; power and standard antenna; and premium speaker packages.
Chrysler Cordoba feedback and other information
Dave Butler wrote:
I own a 1978 Cordoba. My daughter has been using it as a daily driver since May 2000. It is equipped for motion with a 360 2-barrel engine, and a Torque Flite. 3 speed, naturally.
The 360, with a 2 barrel carb, will keep up with the 350 4 barrel [in my 1977 Caprice]. Perhaps not in acceleration, but it will run all day, on the highway, with the 350 4 barrel. As a matter if fact, without bragging too much, the 360 will run on the big road with the BMWs and Mercedes that have the audacity to pass me when I am running back and forth from Indy to St. Louis. I follow them, to see if they are going to get a speeding ticket.
The Cordoba of which I speak has a virgin interior of "Fieeeeen Coreeeenthian Lather", except for the driver's seat. I have worn a hole in the entry side of it, from sliding across the left side of the bucket.
It seems that, as was the case with many vehicles, an option package later become a full car - Sal wrote: "I recall reading that the first Cordoba was actually a trim package available on the Newport line in 1970. The cars wore a gold paint and interiors were trimmed in an Aztek print."
Dave Butler of Missouri wrote about his 1978 Cordoba
The damn thing rattles. Typically Chrysler of that era, there are a lot of body rattles, though there don't seem to be a lot of loose body parts. The suspension is so soft that it seems to be worn all the way out, but the car still corners like a champ. How do you explain that?
The 360 doesn't ever seem to be straining itself, maybe because it isn't making very much horsepower out of that many cubes. The car doesn't have a tach, but my poor old deaf ears can usually tell when an engine has had enough, and this engine doesn't ever seem to whine for mercy.
For comparison purposes, I have a 1977 Chevy Impala with a 350 4-barrel, and I believe that it and the Chrysler are about evenly matched. The Chevy might get it in the middle ranges, but at the git-go, and on the top, I think the Chrysler will hang in there. Someday I will get my son-in-law to drag with me, him in the Chevy, me in the Chrysler, and vice-versa. I'll send that report when it is available.
To summarize how it feels to drive that Chrysler, it is like this ... It is like being pulled in a loose Studebaker wagon by four Arabian horses who don't know that the wagon is rattling loosely behind them. The engine "thrums" along. That's the best way I can describe it. It just goes thrumming along down the road, and never mind that the body rattles. The steering is loose as a goose, but responsive, when you know where it finally engages, and the car tracks straight, as long as you don't try to steer it too much.
It is as though the engine is telling you, "You hang on here, boy. I'll drag ya where you wanna' go.......you just hang along, and point me somewhere".
Whatever faults the Cordoba suffers in the rattle department, the engine makes up for. This car is well worth restoring.
Tannon Weber wrote:
About a year ago, I purchased a '78 Chrysler Cordoba, with a little over a hundred-thousand miles on it. It had been driven by and older guy, who was the original owner, and it was in need of some repair. At this point, I've put into it a new radiator, new muffler, some new exhaust hangers, the standard tires/brakes, a new master cylinder (replacing the original), some miscellaneous, easy to reach gaskets, and I rebuilt the front-end. I also replaced the lean-burn ignition with a stock electronic ignition. My $1200 investment in the original car, plus less than $900 in large-item, non-consumables repair, and this has turned into a pretty sweet car.
My experiences with my car were not too different from Dave Butler (who posted about his '78), but since completing the work that I have, it feels like an almost totally different car. The front-end is tight, and the steering is amazingly responsive. Replacing all of the ball joints, rubber (with polyurethane), and tightening up the steering gearbox helped with that immensely. Removing the lean-burn seemed to give me tons of extra horse-power, without changing anything else. Rebuilding the front-end also allowed for a proper alignment, and I went from getting nine to ten miles per gallon with this 2-barrel 360 to fifteen, in the city.
As for rattles, rebuilding the front-end worked wonders. The car is quiet when the front takes bumps, and I can definitely tell that the springs in back need replacing. Fortunately, St. Regis police cars had compatible rear-ends, with some different mountings and springs, and it looks like I can put a much beefier rear-end, with better handling characteristics, on the Cordoba.
It won't win any races right now, but I haven't finished yet...
Stephen E. Connelly
In 1975, I took possession of a brand new 1975 Cordoba. It was dark blue with a white vinyl coach roof. At the time I took the option of the non-catalytic convertor 318 engine. Unleaded gas was a new commodity in 1975 and was sometimes scarce. This engine could burn any type of gas, leaded or non-leaded and met the air quality standards of that time. My car rode very smoothly and was extremely quiet and rattle free for Chryslers of those days. The 318 had great power and got 21 mpg city and 25 mpg highway [webmaster's note: I never came near that in a 1976 Valiant]. I was attending my last two years of college at the time and this was a great commuter car. I lived in the Northeast at the time and the car handled great on the snow and ice (with studded snow tires of course). I owned the car for two years and traded it in for a Volare station wagon in 1977 as I got married. In the two years I owned this Cordoba I had no problems what so ever. I wish I still had that car.
|Gen 1 (1977)||1978||1979||Gen 2 (1982)|
|Wheelbase||114.9” (2.9 m)||<||<||112.7”|
|Length||215.3”||215.8||<||209.6 (LS) /210.1”|
|Turning diameter||41.2’ (38.6’ in 1975)||40.7’|
|Weight (225)||3,403 - 3,460|
|Headroom F/R||37.7 / 36.6||<||<||37.5 / 36.5|
|Legroom F/R||42.4 / 32.4 (1977)
41.9 / 33.9 (1975)
|42.6 / 32.1||43.7 / 35.2|
|Hip room F/R||55.8 / 57.0||<||<||55.5 / 57.0|
|Shoulder room||58.0 / 61.0||<||59.2 / 61.0||58.8 / 59.3|
|Trunk capacity||16.3 cubic feet
(13.8 shown in ’75)
|<||<||16.7 cubic feet|
|Alternator||50 - 100 amp||60 - 78 amp|
|Rear axle||8.25”||7.25” or 8.25” hypoid|
|Axle ratio, 225||n/a||2.9:1|
|Axle ratio, 318||Unknown||2.2:1|
|Front sway bar||0.94” diameter||<||?||1.0” diameter|
|Rear stabilizer||0.86” diameter|
|Rear leaf springs||57” x 2.5”, 4 leaves
(5 leaf optional)
|58” x 2.5”, 4 leaves
(5 leaf optional)
|Engines||318, 360, 400||318, 360||<||225, 318|
|Transmissions||3-spd Torqueflite||<||<||3-spd Torqueflite|