The GM Collection
Charles M. Jordan was born October 21, 1927, in Whittier, California. He showed an early interest in automobiles, designing and building scale model automobiles in grade school, one of which won a sectional award when he was in the seventh grade.
He went on to receive a Mechanical Engineering degree from the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). As a sophomore in 1947, Mr. Jordan entered the General Motors Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild model car design competition. He designed a car, built a clay model of his original design and ultimately won the top national award, plus a $4,000 scholarship. Upon graduation from MIT in 1949, he joined the General Motors (GM) Design Staff as a junior designer. His career was interrupted by the Korean Conflict, in which he served as an Air Force officer at the Missile Test Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Upon returning from his military assignment, Chuck resumed his career at GM, becoming Chief Designer of the Special Projects studio in 1953 at the age of 26. In 1957, he became Chief Designer of the Cadillac studio and in 1962 was named executive in charge of exterior design. LIFE magazine selected Mr. Jordan 'one of the 100 most important young men and women in the United States' in its September 1962 'takeover generation' issue.
Mr. Jordan became Director of Design of Opel in Germany in 1967, a position he held until 1970 when he returned to GM's U.S. design staff as executive in charge of exterior design. In 1977, Chuck was named Director of the GM design staff and in 1986 was named Vice President of Design for all of General Motors, the post which he held until retirement in November 1992.
Chuck's design experience during his tenure at GM included all types of vehicles; experimental and production passenger cars, trucks, buses, trains and earth-moving equipment. In addition to his professional experience, his illustrious career includes many awards and accolades as well. Below is a listing of his significant achievements:
- Life Member - California Scholastic Federation (1945)
- Honorary Judge - Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance (1970 to present)
- Advanced Management Program - Harvard University (1979)
- Distinguished Service Citation - Automotive Hall of Fame (1990)
- Honorary Doctorate - Art Center College of Design (1992)
- Designer of the Year (1992)
- Wally B. Ford Award - Center for Creative Studies (1992)
- Honorary Doctorate - Center for Creative Studies (1996)
After his retirement, Chuck spent time with his grandchildren, working with his Ferrari collection, promoting creativity in automobile design education around the world, and teaching an automotive design course at Valhalla High School in El Cajon, California.
Sadly, he passed away on December 9, 2010 at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, California.