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Charles M. Jordan

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Charles M. “Chuck” Jordan (born October 21, 1927 in Whittier, California - December 9, 2010) was an American industrial designer who worked for General Motors variously as Chief Designer of Special Projects and later, in 1986, as Vice President of GM Design, making him the fourth ever person to take hold the position after such legendary designers as Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell. He retired in 1992.

Chuck Jordan's career began with a four-year scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which he secured by being the national award winner in the Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild model car competition. In 1949, he joined the GM Design (then Styling) Staff as a junior engineer. At the age of 26, Jordan was named chief designer of the special projects studio where he designed the Aerotrain, GM’s concept of future locomotive transportation.

After his stint with special projects, he moved to the advanced studio where he designed a couple of notable Motorama show cars: the 1955 Cameo show truck, the 1956 Buick Centurion Concept and the XP-700 “Phantom” Corvette. His work in this period wasn't just limited to concept cars, he also worked in the design of the 1958 Corvette.

In 1957, he was appointed chief designer for Cadillac where he took Harley Earl's tailfin concept to its extreme. By the early 60's, Jordan became executive in charge of automotive design, responsible for all GM car and truck exteriors.

From 1967 to 1970, Jordan worked as design director for GM subsidiary Adam Opel AG in Rüsselsheim, Germany. His work there included the Manta coupe and the 1968 production model GT sports car. His time at Opel developed a close relationship with him and the division, going so far as to even lend his services in the styling development of the 1986 Omega and 1991 Astra.

After returning to the United States, Jordan was installed as executive in charge of automotive exterior design for GM’s luxury brand divisions, namely, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac. In 1972, he assumed a similar position for Chevrolet, Pontiac and commercial vehicles.

Under Jordan’s direction, GM produced vehicles such as the Buick Reatta, the 1990s generation of Camaros and Firebirds, the Oldsmobile Aurora, and the 1992 Cadillac STS. Jordan was especially proud of these last two models. His leadership also produced concept cars like the Oldsmobile Aerotech, the Ultralite, and the Sting Ray III.

Chuck Jordan retired from General Motors on November 1, 1992 and taught car design to high school students in Southern California. .

On December 13, 2010, Chuck Jordan passed away at the age of 83 from lung cancer.

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