Ricardo Montalban, and the Promise of “Soft, Corinthian Leather.” [video]

Boldride

In 1982, Ricardo Montalban solidified himself in Star Trek canon by playing Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn. But the Mexican-born actor’s timeless quotability actually started in 1975, when he shilled for Chrysler. Can you say “soft, Corinthian leather,” anyone?

The Chrysler Cordoba was originally used as a name for a special edition 1970 Chrysler Newport Hardtop, but the name returned in 1975 as a standalone model.

By 1977, Ricardo Montelban was internationally famous as Mr. Roarke, the proprietor of Fantasy Island on ABC, a stroke of exceptionally good timing for Chrysler.

The name Cordoba could be traced back to a city in Spain, although the car’s emblem (which you can see as a keychain in the video below) was a modified version of the Argentinian Cordoba coin. But it was the leather seating (which was in no way from the Greek city of Corinth) that people remember:

Just to be clear, the leather for these vehicles originated from a supplier outside Newark, NJ. But the Chrysler marketing ploy worked, as the “Corinthian leather” became a highly quotable feature from the Cordoba.

PHOTOS: See more of the 1975 Chrysler Cordoba

The Cordoba itself was a fairly fetching vehicle, built in the height of “personal luxury coupes.” Three V8 engines were offered, from a 318 cubic inch V8, up to a 400 block– the largest engine used in a production Chrysler to date.

The model you see here was offered from 1975 to 1979. A second generation ran from 1980 to 1983, but it did not have the same panache and style of this Hispanic-influenced American boulevard cruiser.

VIDEOS: See more automotive clips and videos on BoldRide!

Welcome to Throwback Thursday. This is our new feature where we’ll look back at car reviews and ads from days done by and poke fun at how ridiculous our hair looked from decades past. Enjoy!

View Comments