When Jordan Grand Prix burst onto the scene with its iconic 191 challenger, it set the bar very high for its future race cars.
Looking through the gallery of cars produced by the Irish team over its fifteen years in Formula One, it’s a collection the team can be very proud of.
I always had a theory, if it looks fast, it probably is fast, although given the complexity of the design process, the technical specifications that have to be adhered to, and build precision involved in manufacturing, it being pleasing on the eye is hardly a designer’s primary motivation.
Having said that, if the end product looks great, all the better.
Every season we look forward to the new Formula One projectiles being unveiled. Each year, the designers have to work within new rules and regulations which go a long way towards influencing the overall look of the cars.
How each individual designer interprets those regulations is what gives each car its individual look and personality.
Yes, each car has its own personality. While on the subject it’s worth noting Ireland’s Jordan team certainly delivered on that front.
To put it simply they were the rock n roll in a paddock that preferred AOR and the only real noise came from magnificent V10 and V12 motors.
This image was epitomized by the team owner Eddie Jordan who seemed to derive as much pleasure from bashing the bejaysus out of a drum kit as sealing another lucrative commercial deal to keep Jordan Grand Prix on the road.
In fact, EJ gigged regularly with his band Eddie Jordan and the Robbers, I kid you not. On a more serious musical note, real rock stars were regular guests of Jordan Grand Prix.
They don’t come much bigger than U2 now do they, although Beatles fans would argue that George Harrison might possibly be one exception.
It was interesting to see him scamper into the Jordan garage at the 2000 Australian Grand Prix desperate to escape the attentions of some VIP guests not to mention some awestruck journalists.
In fact, I remember Eddie Jordan being mildly amused at my apparent indifference to the presence of ‘a Beatle’ for God’s sake, one of the most famous people on the planet.
The truth of the matter was I just hadn’t noticed him zipping by, as I focussed on another interview with the Irish team principal. Once I did I can assure you I was suitably impressed, but resisted the temptation of requesting an interview.
When John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) of the Sex Pistols and PIL fame turned up in Indianapolis, I couldn’t resist. I decided The Godfather of punk, well known for his strong opinions on everything would be worth a few words. He duly obliged.
It wasn’t earth-shattering stuff, but we did end up in a wrestling match. Lydon took exception to me saying I had all of his albums, mistakingly thinking I was attempting to ingratiate myself with him. It was an odd reaction, but there you go. Oh, I won.
But let’s get back to those beautiful cars. There were some raised eyebrows when Jordan launched its 1997 challenger. A reptilian head was emblazoned on the nose of the car.
There was a collective look of bemusement at this somewhat outrageous livery from the Formula One establishment, but, it was another successful marketing ploy that garnered additional attention for the Irish team going into a season where they would continue to make their presence felt on and off the grid.
Aesthetically that 197 was very pleasing on the eye and it was a contender for the title of my other favourite Jordan.
But I remember instantly loving the look of the Jordan 195, the team’s 1995 challenger. It looked compact, agile, and nimble, with beautiful lines set off by its sculpted side pods.
It was another Gary Anderson design and while the Peugeot V10 powering the Jordan that year may not have been the most reliable power unit on the grid, it did develop enough grunt to help the 195 to second and third at that seasons Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, a race that also delivered Jean Alesi’s one and only GP win.
On that day the 195’s piloted by Rubens Barrichello and Eddie Irvine looked more than comfortable nipping through the tight corners and chicanes around the isle Notre Dame park circuit.
So while it is hard to beat the sexy 7 up Jordan that launched The Irish team into Formula One, the 195 gave Jordan Grand Prix the look of an outfit that was no longer the new kid on the block.
The next few years would see Jordan compete with the best of them. But that’s for another day. In the meantime, add a Jordan 195 to the favourites section in your gallery.