The plush new Cordoba, a downsized "personal" luxury car, single-handedly saved Chrysler sales in the wake of the Arab oil embargo of 1973-74. The two-door hardtop coupe accounted for 60 percent of Chrysler sales in 1975, with 150,105 sold, and exceeded Chrysler's entire 1974 sales of 130,000 cars. Engines offered in the Cordoba ranged from a 150-horsepower V-8 to a 400-cubic-inch power plant long at home in the 300 series. The Cordoba is permanently associated with actor Ricardo Montalban of "Fantasy Island" fame, who became the television pitchman for the car, and the "fine Corinthian leather" interior of the top-of-the-line models. The Cordoba remained a popular seller through the balance of the decade, with sales dropping below 100,000 only once--in 1979, the year the federal government was forced to bail out the automaker to keep it from bankruptcy.

THE SPECS

Price: $5,581

Engine: 318-cubic-inch V-8

Horsepower: 150 at 4,000 rpm

Wheelbase: 115 inches

Overall length: 215.3 inches

Seating capacity: 6

HISTORICAL FACTS

Year: 1975

President: Gerald Ford

Median family income: $13,719

Dow Jones industrial average (year-end): 858.71

Academy Award movie: "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"

Milestone: Pet Rocks go on sale