There are no two ways about it - Ian Callum is a legend of automotive design and has penned some of the world’s hottest cars.
The Scot - Jaguar’s Design Director since 1999 - decided earlier this month that it was the right time to step down and hand the baton over to Julian Thomson, currently Creative Design Director, effective 1 July. Thomson’s worked with Callum at Jaguar for 18 years so the transition should be smooth – but the good news is that Callum will be retained as Design Consultant, so he’s not totally ditching Jag.
Starting his career with Ford in 1979, then moving to TWR (Tom Walkinshaw Racing) in 1991 and then Aston Martin, it was at Jaguar where he really made his presence felt. Joining the brand when it was under Ford ownership, he reinvigorated the marque with some stunning creations and totally reshaped the carmaker into what it is today.
We take a look at 10 of Callum’s best designs:
1- Ford RS200:
Although it may be remembered for bringing the Group B rally scene to a close following a fatal crash in the 1986 Portuguese Rally it (along with the Lancia Delta S4 and Audi Quattro) contributed to the epic era of Group B homologated road cars. Packing a 1.8-litre Cosworth engine making 250bhp (Group B cars were tuned to 450bhp) 200 were produced using a tiny wheelbase and an all-wheel drive layout.
2- Ford Escort Cosworth:
The Escort started a long and successful relationship between Callum and Ford and as with many of his creations, it became an icon of its period thanks to its huge whale-tail wing and hood bonnet vents.
3- Nissan R390 GT-1:
The mid-engined supercar was designed for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and just one road car was built to homologate the racing car. Callum helped design the car for TWR and its V8 made 632bhp. The road car had 542bhp.
4- Volvo C70:
Maybe Volvo’s best-looking car of the modern era, it spawned a convertible variant too but the coupe was the best.
5- Aston Martin Vanquish:
This one really put Callum on the map. It was Aston’s poster car and their first 200mph road car (Vanquish S). The proportion and general design was also fed into his work with his next company, Jaguar.
6- Jaguar XK:
It had more than a hint of Aston Martin… not such a bad thing considering how hot he made the latter!
7- Jaguar XJ:
Its hindquarters may have split opinion but the fact it’s only going out of production now proves Callum knew what he was doing!
8- Jaguar F-Type:
It made to production almost unchanged from the C-X16 prototype and with nods to the E-Type too, this was probably Callum’s greatest hit.
9- Jaguar C-X75:
The one that got away! It would have put up a strong fight against the Ferrari LaFerrari, Porsche 918, and McLaren P1 if Jaguar had put it into production! Oh well, if you want to see it in action you can always watch the 007 film Spectre…
10- Jaguar MkII Restomod:
Our favourite Callum design is this late Fifties MkII which was originally created for himself (with help from Classic Motor Cars Limited) but due to the positive response (who could resist this restomod with a modified 4.3-litre V8 XK-sourced engine mated to a five-speed manual…) a limited edition run of cars was put into production.