- Jordan automobiles were “assembled cars,” which meant they were built with stock components purchased from other firms, such as clutches, engines, etc.
- Jordans were lightweight with aluminum bodies and stylish with some European design elements.
- Beautiful, innovative advertising, particularly “Somewhere West of Laramie” ads, contributed to Jordan’s immediate success.
- Ads appealed to women at the time when it was acceptable and chic for women to drive.
In 1916, Edward S. (Ned) Jordan established the Jordan Motor Company in Cleveland, Ohio. Jordan first produced four and seven passenger touring models and a roadster. These soon were followed by a sedan and a limousine. Jordan automobiles were “assembled cars” with stock components purchased from other firms (such as clutches from Brown-Lipe and engines from Continental). The Continental 6 engine produced slightly less than 30 hp and gave the car a top speed of 60 mph. The Jordan’s lightweight aluminum body incorporated some of the style and features of European design. 2,000 units were sold the first year and nearly double that the next.
The immediate success in sales, however, was often attributed more to Ned Jordan’s poetic advertising than to the engineering and styling of the Jordan car. With the introduction of the Jordan Playboy in 1919 came some of the most remembered and influential automobile advertising in history. The Jordan Playboy was one of the very first cars to be advertised in women’s magazines, and to be advertised in a new revolutionary four-color printing process. Jordan’s ads were sheer poetry; romantic, rhetorical, irresistibly flattering, and women loved them. They got the message out at the very time it was becoming not only socially acceptable for women to drive, but actually quite chic. In 1923, Jordan’s famous “Somewhere West of Laramie” ad appeared and it was immediately applauded, celebrated, and immortalized.
Sales continued to rise and 1926 became Jordan’s best year with 11,000 cars produced. In 1927, Jordan introduced the Little Custom, but it was not as well-received as was expected. Rumor had it that Henry Ford would be introducing a new model for 1928 at half the price of Jordan’s Little Custom. Jordan’s last effort was the 1930 Speedway model, but at more than $5,000, and at the beginning of the Depression, there were few buyers. The firm went into receivership in 1931 and was sold to a company making vacuum cleaners in 1932.