Canceled Cordobas: Two That Didn't Make It
Interesting ideas invariably crop up along the new-model development path, only to be cut down. But while there were plenty of such notions surrounding the Chrysler Cordoba, two of the more intriguing ones have come to light through the good offices of Allan Kornmiller, who proposed them as head of Chrysler's B-Body Studio where THE Cordoba was designed.
One idea was for a "Cordoba Salon." As outlined in a memo for a "discretionary design project," it would have started with the inner structure and 117.5-inch-wheelbase chassis of the B-body Dodge/ Plymouth sedan then being restyled for 1975.
To that, Kornmiller proposed adding "'Cordoba' windshield, cowl, hood, front fenders, grille, front and rear bumpers, [and] rear deck as carryover components," plus "new quarters, end die castings, front and rear doors (inner and outer) and greenhouse structure. ..."
The obvious intent was a smaller sedan "carrying a Chrysler price tag," a notion Kornmiller said had "considerable support" from his staff. He also wrote that "Product Planning sees [this model as] 'a sedan to step down to,'" though that presumably included what we'd now call "Chrysler intenders," as well as existing Chrysler owners.
Though Kornmiller was unable to provide photos, the Salon idea was fully explored in both sketches and clay models. But as we know, the car never appeared. Though it would have been interesting, management doubtless wanted to avoid possible sales interference with high-line mid-size Dodge/Plymouth sedans -- and maybe to conserve cash.
Kornmiller made a more fanciful suggestion in a March 1974 memo to Design Office Director Richard Macadam. Though Cordoba's introduction was then mere months away. The Great Gatsby was the year's big hit movie, and Kornmiller had just read a Time magazine article on selling the film.
Quicker than you can say "promotional tie-in," he proposed a limited-edition "Gatsby" Cordoba coupe. Naturally, it would be all-white: paint, vinyl roof, body moldings, upholstery -- even carpeting and "wide white" tires. He also envisioned a "white gold" hood ornament and "gold on white" body striping with "white [bumper] guards and nerf stripes to match....
"Our Legal Department could clear use of the name," Kornmiller wrote. "If refused, [we] could still refer to the 'Gatsby Image' or the 'Gatsby Tradition.' From a free advertising point of view, even a 60-second spot on national TV would be worth the cost of putting such a car together."
But again, the public would be denied. Though this notion was also well developed, thanks to considerable, frenzied design work by studio manager Bob Gale, planners likely feared confusing or diluting the image of the standard product. And in the end, a "Gatsby" simply wasn't needed -- the Cordoba sold just fine as it was. Besides, it would have looked silly with "wide whites."
For prices and vehicle specifications of the Cordobas that did make it to production, see the next page.
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