Ian Callum has loved Jaguars since he was a child in Scotland. (He’s also the older brother of the equally talented Moray Callum, executive director of Ford Americas Design.) It was his awe of the 1960s-era Jags that inspired him to be a car designer. In 1968, the fourteen-year-old Callum sent a sketch to Jaguar in hopes of landing a job.
Ian is one of the great talents in car design, with a career that includes running Ford's Ghia concept-car studio in Turin, Italy, and putting Aston Martin back on the map with his seminal DB7 design. When he took the top design job at Jaguar in 1999, the company had lost its way—until the unveiling of the first complete production Jag under his direction, the 2006 XK, which bore a distinct resemblance to his last Aston Martin, the DB9.
Ian Callum’s historical knowledge and love of the classic British sports-car maker and his powerful understanding of modern design language make him the ideal tour guide of his masterwork, the 2014 Jaguar F-Type. He gave me this design tour at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
I've known Ian since the Ghia days. He's always been a bit shy unless he's talking about cars and car design. And then he pours it on. When he describes a particular car, like this F-Type, he is very specific about the whys and wherefores of every crease in the metal. It is beyond fascinating. You realize mid-conversation that you are getting a master class in understanding car design when you listen to him.