The division’s big luxury sedans, all based on the corporation’s massive C-body platform, weren’t selling, in a nutshell. To expand and recharge the model line, product planners took a bold step. They lifted a project from the company’s Plymouth division—a proposed personal luxury coupe based on the smaller Satellite/Sebring package. With some minor changes in trim, features, and badges, the Plymouth became the 1975 Chrysler Cordoba.
Introduced on September 4, 1974, the ’75 Cordoba was offered in only one body style, the Model 22 two-door coupe. Choices included two available vinyl tops, halo or landau, and three V8 engines: 318 CID, 360 CID, and a 400 CID big-block V8, all coupled to the company’s trusty TorqueFlite automatic transmission. There was also long list of comfort and luxury options, of course. With a base price of $5,072, slightly more than a Chevy Monte Carlo but significantly less than a Pontiac Grand Prix, the Cordoba flew out of the Chrysler showrooms right from the start. Billed as “the new, small Chrysler,” the model sold more than 150,000 units in its first year, accounting for 60 percent of the division’s total volume of 251,000 cars in ’75.
Thanks to the brisk demand, the Cordoba received only modest trim changes for the first several years, followed by a minor facelift in 1978 to include trendy rectangular headlamps. But by then, Cordoba sales were slipping, a trend that was not reversed by a complete redesign for 1980 on the Chrysler J-body platform (a stretched Volare/Aspen, essentially) and the Cordoba name was dropped in 1983. The industry had taken a new direction, and Chrysler, too: to K-cars, front-wheel drive, and minivans.