JAGUAR SKILLS - IAN CALLUM MARK 2
Ian Callum used to dream of driving a Mark 2 #Jaguar-Mk2
when he was a boy. Now he’s Jaguar Cars’ Director of Design, he’s built his own modern version. And it’s a bit special. Words and images Daniel Bevis.
Restomod. Hot rod. Tribute. New Classic. These are some of the names levelled at the Callum Mark 2 Jaguar. It’s a hard thing to pigeonhole with existing terms, as it takes the whole concept of reworking classic cars into something quick and reliable with modern upgrades – like an Eagle E-Type, say, or a Pug1Off 205 GTI-6 - and elevates it to celestial levels. Let’s just settle on ‘fantastic’, shall we? As fantasy is what it surely is, embodying the very apogee of childhood yearning in something surreal, sumptuous and exotic.
‘Sacrilege!’ cry some. ‘Inspired!’ counter others. It’s certainly a polarising creation. We first caught up with the car, along with a couple of its creators, at the Salon Privé concours in South London, where it was causing quite a stir among the classic collectors and retro aficionados. So just what is the story behind it?
Well, there are two key names in this tale of dream-weaving: Classic Motor Cars (CMC), and Ian Callum. Let’s start with the latter. Callum is the Director of Design for Jaguar Cars, so it’s unsurprising that his dream car build would be based in something iconic from the marque’s illustrious history. His CV, however, spans more than just polished silver leapers; Jaguar may be where it all emotionally started for him, having submitted some design sketches to the company at the tender age of 14 back in 1968, but after studying at Lanchester Polytechnic’s School of Transportation Design, Aberdeen Art College and the Glasgow School of Art (graduating with a degree in Industrial Design), he subsequently strode from the Royal College of Art with a post-grad Masters degree in Vehicle Design and landed a job at Ford. He was there from 1979-1990, working on everyday fare such as the Fiesta and Mondeo along with the Group B bruiser RS200 and the Escort RS Cosworth, something that he counts among his favourite career achievements.
After Ford, he moved on to be Chief Designer and General Manager of #TWR-Design
, having a hand in drawing up the Aston Martin DB7 and Vanquish. He also penned the outrageous Nissan R390 which, if it’s not a car you’re familiar with, you really should Google right now, as it’s a masterpiece. In 1999 Callum made the move to Jaguar, neatly bookending his fascination with the brand by fi nally designing some cars for them – the XK, the XF, the sensational C-X75 concept and, most recently, the fabulous F-Type all have Callum DNA woven through them.
Jaguar’s star is shining brightly in 2014 – the F-Type has proved to be a runaway sales success; the launch of the forthcoming XE represents, Callum reckons, a modern equivalent of the Mark 2; West London is heaving with longwheelbase XJ (LWB) limos… so to whom does a man of Callum’s calibre entrust the custom reworking of a classic car, built by the company that now acts as his own design outlet, in order to showcase and fulfil his desires in an extraordinarily public manner? Aha, that’s where Shropshire’s CMC comes in. No pressure, then.
CMC needn’t feel any weight of pressure, of course – they thrive on this kind of high-end, bespoke work. ‘Every time I go to Classic Motor Cars it excites me to see so many wonderful cars being worked on with passion,’ says Callum. ‘I always leave feeling a much happier person.’
The company has been operating since 1993, building a worldwide reputation for world-class restorations – it’s the quintessential example of that age-old cliché about being ‘built by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts’; you get the feeling that these chaps would be doing the work even if they weren’t being paid for it.
Operating from a 40,000sq.ft. base which is so clinical and dust-free it’d make McLaren blush, they’re experts in all areas of the build: engineering, bodywork, trimming, electrics, paintwork – it’s very much a case of being the jack of all trades, but master of all too. Why a Mark 2 Jaguar, then? Well, it stretches way back into Callum’s past. ‘This is a very personal statement,’ he explains, ‘a long-held notion that, although the Mark 2 has always been a beautiful car, it could be even more exciting in shape and performance. The Mark 2 by Callum aims to retain the integrity of the original, a form and presence that I’ve always admired. It will possess an intuitive driving experience, because not only does it have to look exciting, it also has to be exciting to drive.’
This resonates with memories of the young Callum seeing such machines racing at Ingliston in the 1960s. The stripped-out aesthetic of the racing cars appealed to him, in particular the practise of removing bumpers – however, while this works for a Mini or an Escort, you can’t do it to a Mark 2 as the bumpers don’t have anything beneath them. It’s for this reason that the Mark 2 by Callum has CAD-designed composite bumpers that are part of the overall form – ‘it’s a fi ne balance of extracting and adding’, he admits – and these are arguably the most controversial element of the design.
Elsewhere on the exterior, the car is rife with natty tweaks. Mark 2 Jags are famously tricky to keep cool, and a large part of this is actually getting the hot air out, hence the louvres incorporated into the widened front wings. Much of the chrome brightwork has been removed to clean up the lines, and the left rear wing has a vented panel to draw air out of the passenger compartment. The centre-exit twin exhausts are just a bit of fun for Callum, really – he’s a hot-rodder at heart and hey, this is his car. So why the hell not, eh?
On the subject of hot-rodding, that gruff straight-six has been in for a little workout as well. The high-torque 4.3-litre unit has twin SU carbs with ram air induction; architecturally, it’s a 3.4-litre head on a 4.3 block, which is the optimal setup for torque, as this was always designed to be a modern, reliable daily driver. How much torque? A neat, usable 280lb.ft. to complement the 260bhp – not absurd, but plenty.
With all this in mind, there’s also electronic ignition and a high-torque starter, as well as the luxury of a bespoke CMC rack & pinion steering setup with electric power assistance. And when it comes to everyday drivability, a lot of thought has been put into how the thing can happily keep up with the traffic on today’s pockmarked roads – the front suspension has been totally reworked, with highlights being uprated springs and adjustable dampers, as well as a repositioned subframe to improve the anti-dive characteristics; at the rear a few parts have been robbed from the much-maligned X-Type’s setup, including the blade control wishbones (‘a brilliant piece of engineering,’ CMC’s Peter Neumark assures us).
Another detail that has been ruffling the feathers of the purists is what’s going on under the arches. The car wears 17” Torrino splitrim wires of staggered widths, significantly broader than the originals, with the arches and spats reprofiled (and wings widened) to accommodate. They certainly work for us, but what do you think? Well, love ’em or loathe ’em, it’s certainly a statement.
One criticism that’s often levelled at classic cars of most eras and genres is the brakes, but Callum’s got little to fear here when he jumps on the middle pedal, as the servo-assisted discs – 320mm front, 280mm rear – are more than up to the job of hauling the thing up.
Good thing too, as there are one or two luxuries aboard to carry about… cast your eyes over the interior photos, and you’ll see something that looks like a cross between a classic #Jaguar
and a very expensive handbag. The seats have been redesigned, and trimmed in fi nest Scottish leather - and trust me, it’s so soft it’s like having your thighs stroked by kittens. ‘Quilting on the interior is in vogue at present,’ says Callum, ‘but it does reflect a more traditional period. This seemed the most appropriate texture for the trim.’ The interior fairly oozes with moneyed panache, fusing classic design cues with modern accoutrements; the dash is in dark oak with piano black edging, the carpets are Wilton, and yet a flick of a switch reveals a cunning foldaway touchscreen, operating sat-nav, DVD, iPhone connectivity, Bluetooth, even a reversing camera (which has been rather niftily positioned in the aperture for the boot button, the boot release having been relocated inside). It really is a glorious place to sit, and with modern sound and heat insulation, combined with a pliant and controlled ride, it’s as close to driving a brand new Mark 2 Jaguar as you’re ever likely to get. Because, well, that’s what it is, really.
So, this is one man’s vision of the perfect, optimised, contemporised Jaguar Mark 2 – a unique proposition, a spectacular one-off. Yes? Well, no, actually – if your pockets are sufficiently capacious, CMC are building the car in a limited run. OK, it’s one of those if-you-have-to-ask-how-much-then-you-can’t afford- it sort of deals (take a deep breath, line up a six figure number, start it with a 3 and just keep going), but this is something that us mere mortals could actually buy, should we strike it lucky with our numbers on Saturday night. And doesn’t that make the world a little more wonderful?
TECH DATA SPECIFICATION
Engine & transmission: 4.3-litre straightsix, twin #SU-HD8
2” carburettors w/ ram air induction, aluminium radiator w/built-in oil heat exchanger & electric cooling fan, bespoke twin-bore stainless steel exhaust, electronic ignition, automatic choke, 90 amp alternator, high-torque starter motor, 5-speed manual ’box.
Chassis: 6.5x17” (front) & 7.5x17” (rear) #Torrino
split-rim wire wheels w/ bodycolour spokes & polished aluminium rims/ hubs, wheel spinners, re-engineered suspension including uprated coil springs, rollbar & wishbone bushes, adjustable dampers, solid subframe mountings, blade control rear wishbones & outboard discs, 320mm discs (front) & 280mm discs (rear), custom #CMC
rack & pinion steering w/ power assistance & optimised steering geometry, 20-gallon fuel tank & Le Mansstyle quick-release filler.
Interior: Redesigned front & rear seats trimmed in Scottish quilted leather, Alcantara headlining, leather sun visors & doorcards, dark oak wood with piano black edging, redesigned instrument faces & toggle switches, modern audio & sat-nav incorporated into original centre console/ radio tower, inertia reel seatbelts, Wilton carpets, modern heat & sound insulation, electric clock, stainless steel tread plates with Callum logos, Callum signature etched onto glovebox, modified heating & ventilation system, remote central locking, heated front & rear screens, #Clarion
NZ502E single-DIN multimedia station (w/ 16cm flip-out touchscreen, sat-nav, audio & DVD, Bluetooth, iPhone & iPod connectivity), 6x 350W Clarion component speakers, studio-grade speaker cable.
Exterior: Redesigned front & rear composite bumpers, widened front wings w/ louvres, reprofi led aluminium wheel spats, vented panel in left rear wing, repositioned fuel filler, chrome trim removed and smoothed, remodelled door handles, modified front quarterlights, front wing sidelight pods removed (w/ sidelights incorporated into headlights), wing mirrors fitted to both front doors, plastic inner wing shields fitted to front wings, Callum boot badge, boot opener button replaced by reversing camera (with boot release relocated to interior), uprated wipers with interval delay, quartz halogen headlights, daylight running lights, centre-exit exhaust tails. Thanks: Peter Neumark and all at #Classic-Motor-Cars
, Sati Parmar at Salon Privé.
“Owning a Jaguar Mark 2 was a boyhood aspiration of mine. Now the dream has come true”
Redesigned by Ian Callum. Reengineered and rebuilt by CMC. #Ian-Callum
aims to retain the integrity of the original, a form and presence that I’ve always admired.”
“Sacrilege!’ cry some. ‘Inspired!’ counter others. It’s certainly a polarising creation.”