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Founded in 1946 by Edward “Ned” Tordoff, three generations later, JCT600 is still a Tordoff run, family business.
The JCT600 history started with Tordoff Motors Ltd which traded under the name of Brooklands Garage. Edward Tordoff, along with two other partners owned and ran the garage located in Bradford. Edward Tordoff suddenly passed away at just 47 years old, his son Jack Tordoff, only 15 years old at the time had been training to be an architect. However, due to the circumstances, he decided to join the garage as an apprentice motor mechanic in 1950.
Jack left to do his National Service in the army in which he continued in mechanics, maintaining the Hillman car belonging the major. He returned in 1958, however, he almost stayed as he was well-liked and had been strongly encouraged to remain in the army with an offer of a commission. Due to the death of his father, Jack felt it was better to go home to support his mother, otherwise, he likely would have stayed and the Tordoff business would have been a whole different story.
Jack’s mother returned her son’s support and with a £1,000 loan from her, Jack bought out his late father’s two partners from the business. One of the partners had been Willie Jowett of Jowett cars, where Edward Tordoff had worked for 25 years prior to setting up on his own. It was actually Willie Jowett that gave Jack Tordoff encouragement to enter into the buying and selling of used cars. According to Jack, he “knew nothing about the motor trade” at the time, but with help, he learned quickly.
With his army experience behind him, Jack brought some of that tradition with him which helped him to begin to stand out in the business world. Cars were smartly and cleanly presented by ensuring the inside and engine compartment was valeted. Cleverly, he also got the edge on his competitors by doing something simple that was unusual at that time, opening when the customers were more likely to shop, on weekends.
They were awarded a sub-franchise for Standard and Triumph cars from the Farnell family, the oldest Land Rover dealers in the country. In order to accommodate the new additions, another dealership was built alongside the original one. At this time the business still had its original name of Tordoff Motors, however, one year later Jack bought himself a Mercedes 600 with the registration number in his initials, Jack Crossley Tordoff (JCT) and the number 600 for the model of Mercedes and the new company name was born and a new era of success.
In 2016, they marked 70 years in business by holding a conference and celebration for their staff of around 2,000 as well as extending the invitation to suppliers and business contacts. The company proudly celebrated its achievements spanning seven decades including over one million vehicle sales. The conference told of the company’s first-ever sale which was a Bradford-built Jowett van priced at £175 and to their performance of averaging around 825 vehicles a week during that same year. An incredible history and much to celebrate.
Its staff of around 2,000 includes four generations of the Tordoff family. Including Jack’s son John Tordoff as the company’s chief executive. Keeping it all in the family may have prevented JCT600 from becoming worldwide or one of the more expansive companies, however, this has not ever been their goal. “We don’t want to be the biggest, just the best”.
JCT600 represents 22 of the world's most well-known brands and operates from over 50 locations throughout Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and the North East.
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