Former GM designer Charles “Chuck” Jordan has passed away at age 83. He worked at GM from 1949 to 1992 and was appointed Vice President of Design in 1986. Among his works are a number of “Motorama” dream cars.
Charles “Chuck” Jordan has died at age 83 on last Thursday 9 December 2010.
He graduated from MIT and joined the GM Styling Staff in 1949 as a junior engineer.
A few years later he moved to the advanced design studio and worked on a number of “Motorama” dream cars, including the Cameo show truck (1955) and the Buick Centurion (1956).
During his career he was appointed design director of Cadillac and Opel.
In 1986 he become GM’s fourth Vice President of Design, following Irv Rybicki, Bill Mitchell and Harley Earl.
Below we report the biography and the official statement from GM Vice President of Global Design Ed Welburn.
Renderings by Chuck Jordan. From the collection of Mark Jordan (Souce: Dean’s Garage)
An extensive image gallery, incuding some of Chuck Jordan’s drawings, can be found at Dean’s Garage.
Additional information on Chuck Jordan can be found at the following sources:
Charles M. “Chuck” Jordan, 83, was the fourth man elected to the position of vice president of the General Motors Design Staff. He assumed this role on October 6, 1986 and held it until his retirement six years later in November 1992.
In 1949, Jordan joined the GM Styling Staff as a junior engineer. He spent the 1950s in a number of different studios and position at Design.
He moved to the advanced studio, where he designed a couple of notable “Motorama” dream cars, such as the Cameo show truck for 1955 and the Buick Centurion for 1956.
One of his advanced studio concepts was also chosen by Pontiac general manager Bunkie Knudsen as the basis for that division’s first general of “wide tracks.” Jordan was also instrumental in the design of the 1958 Corvette and the XP-700 “Phantom” Corvette concept.
In 1957, he was appointed Cadillac chief designer. In 1962, Jordan became executive in charge of automotive design, responsible for all GM car and truck exteriors. From 1967 to 1970, Jordan was design director for Adam Opel AG in Rüsselsheim, Germany. While there, he was responsible for a number of well-regarded designs, including the Manta coupe and the 1968 production model GT sports car.
Jordan was appointed executive in charge of automotive exterior design for GM’s upscale car segment – the Buick Oldsmobile Cadillac group – when he returned to the United States.
In 1972, he assumed a similar position for Chevrolet, Pontiac and commercial vehicles.
In 1977, Jordan was named director of design for the entire Design staff. He was serving in that capacity when Irv Rybicki retired in 1986 and he was named vice president of Design.
The Jordan team was responsible for the 1990’s generation of Camaros and Firebirds, the Oldsmobile Aurora, and the 1992 Cadillac STS. His design leadership team also produced concept cars like the Oldsmobile Aerotech and the Sting Ray III.
Chuck Jordan was succeeded by Wayne Cherry in 1992.
Official Statement from Ed Welburn, GM Vice President of Global Design
“Chuck Jordan was the person who hired me as an intern in 1971 while he was working for Bill Mitchell, and I will always be appreciative of the opportunity he gave me to join GM’s Design Organization. Chuck was always involved in the hiring of talented, young designers, and he took great interest in their growth and development.
“He was a strong creative force at GM Design, and a passionate leader. It always felt as if every new project he was leading represented a new mountain to climb, and was a fresh opportunity to create new trends and statements in automotive design. He had the charisma and passion of few others in the industry.
“Most people associate Chuck Jordan with very tailored and crisp designs of Cadillac and Corvette automobiles, but Chuck also had a passion for truck design and created some of GM’s most significant concept and production trucks of the 1950s.
“More recently, I’m glad that Chuck had an opportunity to visit GM Design just this past summer while he was back in the Detroit area for the Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance. He spent hours touring our Design Center in Warren and talking with our design staff. It was a wonderful to have him back in the place in which he helped create such a rich legacy.”