On Dec. 9, a legendary designer who helped lead the way for the modern era of automotive styling at General Motors passed away. Chuck Jordan was 83 years old. For most of the 1950s and '60s, Jordan developed several iconic designs at GM.
During this time, GM set the tone for industry styling. From 1986 until he retired in 1992, Jordan worked as the vice president of GM design – only the fourth man to have this position.
He entered GM in 1949 right after he graduated from MIT. He excelled in several areas, including diverse projects such as tractors and locomotives.
He got his big break when he transferred to the advanced design studio where he worked on several Motorama cars, such as the 1955 Cameo show truck and the 1956 Buick Centurion.
The GM Motorama is composed of a stunning collection of concepts that embarked on a tour of the U.S. in the '50s. Jordan’s work was so riveting that one of his advanced studio concepts was picked by Pontiac general manager Bunkie Knudsen to serve as the basis for that division's first general of “wide tracks.”
Jordan was also instrumental in designing the 1958 Corvette and the XP-700 “Phantom” Corvette concept. At GM, he had also worked as design director of Cadillac and Opel and as oversight of exterior styling for GM's premium brands.
He also led GM design, following in the footsteps of Irv Rybicki, Bill Mitchell and Harley Earl. Since then, Wayne Cherry and Ed Welburn have held the task.