The 1976-1977 Cordoba mostly rested on its laurels, but demand remained strong. The 1976, touted as "... nothing short of superb," tallied 120,462 units -- second only to the Monte Carlo in the "specialty" coupe class. The 1977, billed as "The Most Successful Car Ever to Wear the Chrysler Nameplate," set Cordoba's all-time record: 183,146.
The most obvious change for the 1976 Cordoba was
the grillework, with its thin, tight vertical bars.
Options proliferated for 1976 to include tilt steering wheel, manual steel sunroof, space-saver spare tire, and a 60/40 front bench seat with dual backrest recliners. Minor trim changes occurred for 1977, when the optional tilt wheel could be newly rimmed in ... yes, fine Corinthian leather.
"But above all," cooed the 1977 brochure, "is your choice of unique optional roof treatments available this year. There's the Crown roof in padded elk-grain vinyl, with unique opera windows and rear window treatment, illuminated by a slender band of light that extends across the roof. Totally distinctive. Then there's the choice of Halo or Landau vinyl roof with elegant opera windows and slender opera lamps. There are two 'convertible' treatments -- the choice of either a sun roof or the exciting new T-bar roof, with lift-out tinted glass panels, for open-air driving pleasure."
Sadly, the Cordoba's early success went unrewarded. Though a total restyle had been scheduled for 1978, Cordoba had to wear a mere facelift instead, a reflection of Highland Park's fast-deepening cash crisis. Ricardo Montalban purred, "Look what they've done to my car," but the result was a shade tacky.
Headlights doubled to four rectangular bulbs stacked astride a hatched grille, giving an uncomfortably close resemblance to recent Monte Carlos. In addition, the new flat-lens tail-lights looked cheap compared to the previous design.
For more on the 1978 Cordoba, see the next page.
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