THE founder of Bradford company JCT600 and business legend Jack Tordoff has died aged 86, his family have announced.
Mr Tordoff, a “proud Bradfordian and Yorkshireman”, passed away peacefully on Sunday, October 3, following a lengthy illness.
During a career spanning 71 years he built JCT600 from a single workshop and petrol station into one of Yorkshire’s best success stories, now boasting 54 dealerships representing 25 of the world’s leading car makers and employing a team of 2,300 people in Yorkshire, up to the North East, and down to Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.
He was married to his wife Jean for 66 years, and together they had three children, Lesley (Who sadly died in 2013), Ian and John, and also had 10 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
JCT600 now has a turnover of £1.3 billion and this year marked its 75 anniversary.
The company said Mr Tordoff was “immensely proud of having helped to create one of the largest and most highly respected privately owned motor groups in the UK and the largest private company in Yorkshire”.
John Tordoff is the firm’s chief executive with Ian a director, while seven of his grandchildren are also employed in the business.
JCT600 was founded by Mr Tordoff’s father Edward in 1946 as Tordoff Motors, with two business partners, but when he died when Jack was just 14, he left school at 15 to work as an apprentice mechanic in the business.
At 21, he completed his National Service in the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, achieving the rank of corporal, and after leaving the army, he returned to the business, borrowed £1,000 from his mother to buy out the remaining two original partners and began selling cars.
In the late 1950s, Mr Tordoff bought a Mercedes-Benz 600 with the registration plate JCT600 on – his full name being Jack Crossley Tordoff – and he proudly wore the number plate ‘JCT600’ on all his rally cars as he competed in Britain and Europe during the 1960s and 1970s.
He had notable success, winning the International Circuit of Ireland Rally in 1973 driving a Porsche 2.7RS, the first international rally win for this iconic car.
Jack’s grandson, Sam, has continued Jack’s motor racing tradition in later years with many race wins in a number of disciplines, including the Porsche Carrera Cup and the British Touring Car Championship.
A JCT600 spokesperson said: “Seventy-five years after its foundation, Jack’s legacy lives on with JCT600 remaining true to its Yorkshire heritage with its purpose-built head office and training centre based in Apperley Bridge.
“It also remains very much a family business with its values embodied into its culture – JCT600’s commitment to being the best place to work was recognised when it achieved a place in the Sunday Times ‘Best 100 Companies to Work For’ list In 2016.
“Jack was passionate about the importance of always putting the customer first and providing the best possible shopping experience.
“The business has continued to invest in its physical dealerships, but also embraced technology and innovation, developing a successful digital offering as well as establishing its own training programmes to ensure colleagues provide outstanding service.
“As a result, generations of car buyers in Yorkshire and beyond trust the brand he helped to create.”
For his business success, Mr Tordoff received an MBE in 2008 and an OBE in 2018.
He also had close ties to Bradford City, taking the club out of administration in 1983 and as chair helped to rebuild Valley Parade after the City fire disaster.
He was an honorary Life President of the club and JCT600 has been the team’s main sponsor for the last decade.
When he received his OBE, Mr Tordoff said: “I’m fortunate to have enjoyed a fantastic career and I am tremendously proud of what we have created at JCT600.
“To have now been given this award by Her Majesty is the ultimate honour and I believe testament to the hard work, grit and enterprise for which Yorkshire is famous.
“I am very grateful to the people who work with me every day, both past and present, and who have helped me to grow JCT600 into Yorkshire’s biggest private company and to achieve this honour. From the bottom of my heart, I thank them all – they are the best.
“I am Bradford born and bred and have never lost sight of my roots or how important it is for successful companies to give back to their local communities.
“With my children and grandchildren now working in the business, I know that we will stick to the values which have set us apart and continue to always put the customer first. I remain a proud Yorkshireman, and never more so than today.”
The family has requested privacy during this difficult time.