Brian gave you guys a Regal Turbo to check out, and I’ll agree that for $1000 it’s a decent score, rusted through trunk and all. His choice highlights what I’ve been thinking for years: not everything made in the late 1970s and early 1980s was worthless, it was just underpowered. That Regal, with a new trunk and a Grand National’s touch, could be a riot. But let’s check out the other end of the scale for a moment and see where a little money might get you.
The Cordoba was the bright spot in an otherwise dismal decade for Chrysler. After years of CEO’s hammering on that there would never be a “small Chrysler”, a car meant to become a Plymouth was rebadged and given the entire Chrysler treatment. And it sold, over 160,000 in it’s first year alone and held that trend throughout the first generation of the model. With the standard engine being a 400ci big block and a 727 backing it up, it was hard to not at least appreciate the effort that went into taking the five-year-old B-platform and turning it into a stout “personal luxury” coupe. The engine options were a cash-back 318 and two 360’s, a two barrel version and the E-58 police-spec four-barrel version. Looking back, they’re basically a Road Runner in Ricardo Montleban’s tux, which isn’t a bad thing at all. But how desirable are they?
I found this example on Farley’s Page, the all-Dodge Diplomat site. It’s out in Denver, Colorado and it’s optioned about as far as you could take a Cordoba: instead of the 400ci, it’s got the E58 360, which is still plenty punchy for a smogger mill, and for an added bonus, the obnoxious Lean Burn system was never on this car. The 727 has recently had a go-through, and all of the heavy-duty cooling systems are here, as well as a heavy-duty alternator.
Inside it’s pure 70’s luxury: power seats, power windows, power sunroof, floor shift, top-of-the-line stereo with 8-track, cruise control, delay wipers, power trunk release, and tons more. But all you need to see are those seats: if nothing else, Chrysler knew how to make a damn comfortable seat, and that leather looks inviting, doesn’t it? It might not move exactly like a Charger, but no Charger is going to make the ride as comfortable as this ‘Doba will.
Now, about the price. I’ll admit that $10,500 is eye-raising for what used to be engine donor material, but think about this: Where the hell are you going to find another one that you can guarantee is as clean, as complete, and as close to ready as this one? Honestly, turning the 360 into a 408ci stroker that looks stock is the only thing I can think of doing…even the wheel covers look right enough that they should be left alone. What do you think?