Over the past two months we’ve learned that among the most interesting and affordable of the $5K Mopars are the 1980 and later J-Body Dodge Miradas, the Imperials, and this edition’s feature, a beautiful 1982 Chrysler Cordoba.
Chrysler, among the Big Three, was the worst positioned when the seismic 1973 OPEC Oil Embargo hit. Its lineup had the largest cars and it was slowest to respond to the demand for smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. But one area of strength was in the mid-sized personal luxury category where the first-generation B-Body-based Chrysler Cordoba initially sold well against its GM and Ford competitors in an era of strangled, anemic and downsized low-compression engines as well as safety standards that added heft to all offerings, save for popular imports like the Honda Accord that were perfectly positioned for the new market reality.
In 1978 the Cordoba was given a mid-cycle refresh and with it came a sales decline, due in part to the less-attractive stacked headlights and the introduction of the M-Body Chrysler LeBaron and Dodge Diplomat. For 1980 the Cordoba moved to the downsized, crisply-styled J-Body platform it shared with the new-for 1980 Dodge Mirada and a year later, the limited production Imperial coupe revival. The Cordoba regained some sales traction against downsized Ford’s Thunderbird as well as Chevrolet’s Monte Carlo and the popular Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme.
In Burgundy, this 1982 Chrysler Cordoba presents exceptionally well, save for the wear visible to the driver’s seat. But with a listed price of just $3,000, there’s plenty in our stated $5,000 budget to address these and any other issues that might surface.
The owner states that he’s selling the car due to a medical condition. If the stance looks unusual, it’s because it’s been lowered it three-inches all around. With 111,000 miles on the clock, in the extensive provided 13-photo collection, the original paint shows quite well (but why don’t sellers take a bit more care in photographing they are they are selling as all the junk in the background really detracts from the car’s presentation). The 318 V-8 is equipped with an HEI ignition with a four-barrel intake, a four-barrel Edelbrock carb, a custom air cleaner, and M/T valve covers. This Cordoba has fine Corinthian leather trim which except for the driver’s seat, as mentioned previously, looks to be very well preserved given its age.
While a car from the early eighties isn’t going to ride and handle like a new Challenger – which is very close to the same size dimensionally – it should feel relatively modern. Maintenance parts, consumables, should be readily available from your local Autozone or NAPA auto parts store.
Given its overall condition of this Cordoba, it seems very fairly priced at $3,000. Like many cars in this series, you will not feel embarrassed to show up at a cruise or a weekend morning Cars and Coffee. Certainly, you’re likely to be the only Cordoba there. Be prepared to speak with interested part who affect a Riccardo Montalbom accent. Contact the owner at his Craigslist ad here and be sure to tell the seller in the greater Seattle area that you saw his car at the Mopar Muscle Ultimate $5K Mopar Challenge.
For some additional, drive-ready Mopars, check out these listings.
From the 1950s, this 1954 Dodge Royal Hemi for $4500 in Sacramento, California (Craigslist)
From the 1960s, this 1966 Dodge Dart convertible for $5,500 in Ashland, Oregon (Craigslist)
From the 1970s, this1970 Dodge Dart Swinger for $5,700 in Corona, California (Craigslist)
From the 1980s, this 1988 Imperial for $3,499 in Modesto, California (Craigslist)
From the 1990s, this 1999 Jeep Cherokee Sport 4X4 for $4,900 in Powder Springs, Georgia (Craigslist)
The 1999 Jeep Cherokee listed above is especially interesting as the ad is very descriptive, the seller has unblemished feedback, and it’s the rarer two-door model. A clean, rust-free, unmolested under $5,000 XJ Jeep Cherokee are becoming harder to find as time goes by. If you’re looking for a Chrysler-built Jeep, especially a late-run Cherokee (the last one built in the US was produced in 2001), this one would seem to be well worth checking into.
Our out-of-box pick for this edition of The Ultimate $5K Mopar Challenge is this, a 1980 Dodge motorhome located in San Diego. I ask you where can you find a Dodge-powered home, looking this good, this well-equipped, for just $2,300? Think of how much fun you can have if you decide to go retro camping with your family? Or just how good this rig would be for a race weekend in the infield, instead of an over-priced hotel room?
As previously, if you see an interesting Mopar on your local Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, let us know at [email protected]
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