The greatest pleasure of a life lived in - and around - fast, beautiful cars for me hasn’t been the process of driving them, but getting to meet the people that created them in the first place. And among those, the greatest pleasure of all has been the time I’ve been lucky to spend with Ian Callum, director of design at Jaguar, architect of its renaissance and formerly of Aston Martin.
Callum’s the man who designed the Aston Martins DB7 and DB9 and the original Vanquish, the entire range of modern, handsome Jaguar saloons and SUVs and of course the Jaguar F-Type, the car that once and for all allowed Jaguar to escape the gravitational pull of the totemic E-Type. A beautiful car certainly, but so potent it could not help but anchor the brand in the past.
I spoke with Callum over the course of an afternoon earlier this year. We spoke about his early days as an inexplicably car-obsessed child in Dumfries, where he and his brother Moray (who, remarkably, occupies a similar role at Ford) grew up. We spoke about his education at Glasgow School of Art and then Royal College of Art, his time as “an apprentice” in Turin, then the car industry’s global think-tank for new ideas, about the DB7, his “calling card” and about Jaguars past, present and future.
It’s a very personal, intimate film, a rare chance to get to know the creative mind behind a process that’s all too often buried in the grim industrial process of building cars. For me, that makes designers like Callum even more heroic than their contemporaries in other disciplines, but take a look over this insight into his life and thought processes and make your own mind up.