It has been stated that Ned Jordan, founder of the Jordan Motor Car Company is perhaps best known for his advertising skills rather than his automobiles. But in fairness to him, the Cleveland, Ohio-based car company did actually build some rather nice machines in its short life span. It just so happened that while his cars weren’t exactly ground breaking in terms of engineering, company president Ned Jordan did have quite a gift with words. His advertising features were a flourish of prose, with evocative images of freedom and youth. Mr. Jordan was so good at convincing people, in fact, that following a successful career as a salesman for National Cash Register, Jordan founded his car company before he even had a car to build or a place to build it. Such was his gift that he wooed investors into funding his dream before he even had a product to show them. Thankfully for him (as well as his investors), the first car emerged in June of 1916 to positive reviews. Jordan had hired chief engineer Russell Begg to handle the design. While Begg was certainly competent, the Jordan was more of a “component car” built using off the shelf parts and assemblies from other manufacturers. The car was rather well built though, and of comparable quality to a contemporary Buick or Oldsmobile, which placed it solidly in the mid-range prestige car price bracket.
Jordan gradually perfected their craft, and grew to become a respected prestigious brand by the mid to late 1920’s, particularly with the car that it became synonymous for, the Playboy Roadster. But with an economic crash looming, Ned Jordan could not keep his company afloat and with only a handful of cars leaving the factory in 1930, the company entered receivership in 1931 and no amount of poetic flourishes could save the business.
This 1919 Jordon Touring is a magnificent example from this oft-forgotten marque. Sitting proudly on large artillery wheels and whitewall tires, this is a big, imposing car and a very interesting alternative to a large Buick or similar car of the same era. It is finished in period appropriate cream and brown two-tone on the body, with a lovely brown leather interior and a large tan top. It is loaded with fascinating details that set it apart from lesser machines. Most notable is the fabulous windscreen for the rear-seat passengers. In the spirit of a dual-windshield Phaeton, this touring car has a unique arrangement with a large windscreen that attaches to the back of the front seat. Once in place, it then can slide back toward the rear passengers to provide greater protection from the weather. It’s a very clever arrangement not seen on any other car like it. A pair of jump seats in the rear allows it to become a seven-passenger tourer. The full set of side curtains are cleverly stowed inside the top when not in use. Other details include a small storage compartment between the jump seats, a stylish rear-mounted spare, Jordan branded Moto-Meter and Jordan branded step plates on the running boards. All in, this is a fabulous looking automobile.
Thanks to the proven Continental inline six, it is a strong runner as well. The engine on this example is very well presented in the engine bay. It sends its power rearward through a three-speed manual gearbox. Road manners are very good, and thanks to that big six-cylinder, it is a strong performer. Our first choice for this wonderful car would be to take it on tours, and although an older restoration, it is certainly nice enough for casual and mid-level shows. Shown or driven, it is sure to turn heads and raise a few eyebrows. Jordan Automobiles are rare and fascinating, a bit off the beaten path, and carry with them a captivating history courtesy of the colorful Mr. Ned Jordan himself.