The greatest advertisement in the history of the automobile, “Somewhere West of Laramie,” was written for a conventional car during a dull era and a duller economy, by a cocky little 40-year-old redhead, Edward S. Jordan.
In contemporary jargon the Jordan was “assembled”: “an extremely neat machine, the principal components of which are constructed by specialists,” as an English magazine kindly put it. “We never were automobile manufacturers,” Jordan admitted in a 1945 monograph, The Inside Story of Adam and Eve:
We were pioneers of a new technique in assembly production, custom style sales and advertising. We had one air compressor to power the assembly line…bought only the finest component parts from the most experienced quality parts makers, designed a chassis for those parts that possessed the most ideal weight distribution yet attained. Then we ‘dolled them up’ just as every good car is dressed today.
No one cares about the cars, though survivors do exist, and from the mid-Twenties on they were pretty snappy numbers. Some Jordans are even recognized by the Classic Car Club of America.
What we do care about was the magic Ned Jordan wove around them: the most romantic (and often risqué) prose heretofore expended on an automobile—and the first car ads seriously directed at women.
Continue reading Part 2 tomorrow….