Edward S Jordan, commonly known as 'Ned' founded the Jordan Motor Car Company, based in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1916. Production of their vehicles continued until 1931 with over 43,000 examples being produced during that time. The vehicles that Jordan produced used components from other manufacturers and distributors, resulting in vehicles that were not the most technically advanced on the market. Power came from the Continental engines. Bosch ignitions, Bijur starters, and Timken axles were a few of the other components that made up a Jordan. Where Jordan excelled was in styling and design. The beautiful bodies were often clothed in exotic metals such as aluminum which helped keep the weight to a minimum while retaining structural rigidity. Vibrant colors often adorned the exterior while the interiors were plush and cozy. While most marques relied on fast drying black paint, Jordan used exotic colors such as Egyptian Bronze, Blue Devil Blue, Burgundy Old Wine, Ocean Sand Gray, Savage Red, Apache Red, Mercedes Red, Venetian Green, and Chinese Blue.
From the beginning, the Jordan automobiles were popular due in part to a successful ad campaigns that touted 'an honest car at an honest price', and later featuring a Playboy model. The Playboy ad first appeared in the June 1923 edition of the Saturday Evening Post with the model driving the Jordan and racing a cowboy. The idea behind the advertisement was to inspire readers to image where the car could take them, and how it could change and enhance their lives.
In the first year of production over one-thousand Jordan automobiles were sold. The flamboyant cars were stylish, attractive, and very colorful. Sales peaked to over 11,000 examples sold in 1926 but by the close of the 1920's, sales began to decline. The onset of the Great Depression and fierce competition were just a few of the reasons for slow sales. Jordan offered a new model in 1927 that turned out to be a flop. A reorganization of the company soon followed but it was not enough; by 1931 the company was out of business.
By Daniel Vaughan | May 2006
The Jordan Playboy was an undistinguished automobile - it was, after all, an 'assembled car' - but one thing set it apart from the competition - the advertising used to market the car.
Jordan president Ned Jordan had been a successful advertising executive and turned his full talents to selling the Jordan. His copy spoke less about the car's technical specifications and more about the thrill of the road.
Jordan advertising of the 1920s was legendary. The most famous ad was titled 'Somewhere West of Laramie...' and described a gal who was happiest when driving her Jordan in the wide open spaces and the wind in her hair.
In the end, great advertising wasn't enough and the Jordan Company closed its doors in 1932.