Ian Callum was the only person who could do it! When it came to reimagining the Jaguar Mark 2, a cherished British icon, only Ian Callum with twenty years of experience as Jaguar’s chief designer could preserve the essence of the original Mark 2, while bringing its performance, handling, and interior accommodations up to today’s high standards. Callum’s Jaguar design mantra was always, “What would Sir William Lyons think of this?” We think if Sir William was still with us and could take a drive in the Mark 2 by Callum, he would give Ian a hearty, “Well done.”
The Jaguar Mark 2 by Callum
The Jaguar Mark 2 by Callum is a hand-built reimagination of one of the world’s most iconic sports sedans, the result of an eighteen-month collaboration between designer Ian Callum and British restoration experts Classic Motor Cars. The Mark 2 by Callum updates the style, performance, and handling of the original car making it suitable for everyday driving in today’s world without it losing its character. “This is a very personal statement,” Callum explained to NewAtlas.com. “It’s 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. Whilst maintaining the purity of the car’s form, I wanted to add a number of modern twists to the design. Simplification and clarity were my objectives.”
Changes in the Mark 2 by Callum start under the hood, or bonnet if you prefer, where the original 3.8-liter XK six-cylinder engine has been enlarged to 4.3-liters producing 260 horsepower DIN and 280 lb-ft of torque. The fuel system includes twin SU HD8 two-inch carburetors with ram air induction. A five-speed manual transmission delivers the power to the rear wheels.
The front and rear suspensions, redesigned and engineered by CMC, now have upgraded coil springs, anti-roll bars, and adjustable dampers. In the front, new solid mountings reposition the subframe to improve anti-dive characteristics. With 205-section front tires and 225-section tires on the rear, all mounted on seventeen-inch wheels, the Mark 2 by Callum can handle with the best of today’s vehicles.
The interior has been revised to meet Callum’s high standards and now includes new front and rear seats trimmed in Scottish leather, restyled leather inner door panels, dark oak interior wood trim, and redesigned instrument faces and toggle-switch levers. A modern Clarion audio/infotainment center resides behind the dash and is controlled by a touch screen that retracts into the dash when not in use.
The crux of any successful reimagination lies in the modifications made to the body. The changes should be subtle and must not alter the perceived essence of the original car. Callum replaced the front and rear bumpers with composite bodywork, enlarged the fenders to accommodate wider wheels and tires, and remodeled the exterior trim and lighting eliminating most of the chrome and brightwork, all while retaining the visual essence of the original car.
All that sounds nice, but what’s it like to drive? Says Ian: “The ride is much smoother than the standard car, but there’s better damping control, too. The body doesn’t sway around alarmingly and stays more horizontal in corners, with much less tendency to exuberantly swing its tail. It’s quieter and easier to drive all round.”
Designer Ian Callum
Ian Callum was born in Scotland in the mid-1950s and, like many of us, progressed through childhood sketching cars in his school notebooks. But, unlike the rest of us, Ian demonstrated significant design talent and continued his education following secondary school. He obtained a degree in Industrial Design from Glasgow School of Art and a Master’s Degree in Vehicle Design from the Royal College of Art in London.
Ian embarked on his professional career as a junior designer for Ford in 1979, eventually becoming design manager for Ghia Design Studio, then owned by Ford. However, he became disenchanted with the compartmentalized organizational structure at Ford and left to join Tom Walkinshaw Racing in 1990. He thrived on the challenges of the smaller working environment and rose to Chief Designer and General Manager of TWR Design in 1991. Ian was responsible for the designs of the Aston Martin DB7, the Aston Martin Vanquish, and the V12-powered DB7 Vantage shown below.
In an interview with Auto Trader in 2016, Ian spoke about his work on the DB7: “The DB7 was the most important car of my life. It changed everything. It changed my life completely. I was an obscure designer working for a freelance company. I had left Ford. I didn’t want to do corporate stuff. I just took a chance, really, and working as a freelance designer my first job was the DB7. I left Ford not knowing what was going to happen in my life, thinking I would just be a back-room boy doing little projects and that was it. It changed forever.” Indeed, his life did change. Along with a host of positive comments from design experts, Ian received the Jim Clark Memorial Award in 1995 for his design work on the DB7.
Callum Uniquely Qualified to Reimagine the Mark 2
In addition to Ian Callum’s innate design talent and his formal design training, he is uniquely qualified to reimagine the Mark 2 thanks to his passion for the Jaguar brand and the Mark 2. Callum is proud of his legacy at Jaguar: “I remember Jaguars of the 1950s and 1960s: they were always quite revolutionary, quite spectacular. Driven by professionals and rock stars, up there with the elite. The biggest part of the legacy, for me, is that I brought Jaguar back to its rightful place.”
His love affair with the Jaguar Mark 2 began when he was a child. He told The Telegraph in 2014, “I used to see them racing in Edinburgh when I was a boy and thought they looked much better stripped back without the chromium – see, I was even thinking like a car designer back then. So, when I got a chance, I wanted a simpler, tidier car without all that extraneous detailing and the girders [bumpers].” He feels that the 3.8-liter Mark 2 was, “Really a performance car with four or five seats and four doors. When you think about it, it’s a four-door XK150.”
Ian Callum’s prodigious design talent was influenced by some of the world’s great automobile designers. He considers the most important to be General Motors’ Bill Mitchell, along with Giorgetto Giugiaro. “From a young age, when I think about car design, Bill Mitchell was probably my first [inspiration]. I love the ‘60s GM cars like the Corvette and, maybe more importantly, cars like the Buick Riviera. That era of American design was very special. The Buick Riviera was just a masterpiece of art. Giugiaro definitely was an inspiration to me during the ‘70s and ‘80s. I grew up with that origami style being the focus of my drawing techniques at that time. I’ve changed since then, but that was important.”
Without question, Ian Callum has talent, passion for the Jaguar brand and the Mark 2, and was influenced by some of the great car designers, but what really sets him apart from other designers is that he’s a dyed-in-the-wool car nut. In an interview with PistonHeads.com, he said, “I’m a car nut as much as a designer. Not all designers are, but I just love cars.” His eclectic car collection includes a chopped 1932 Ford hot rod with a Ford 351 Windsor V8 producing about 450 horsepower; a lowered 1956 Chevy two-door with a small-block Chevy engine; and a 1976 Jaguar XJ Coupe, in addition to the reimagined Mark 2.
CALLUM – A New Venture
Ian Callum left Jaguar in 2019, but the good news for all car fans is that he has not retired. He has undertaken a new design and engineering venture, simply called CALLUM. Says Ian: “To design the alternative has always been my mantra, but always the beautiful alternative and something to enjoy. CALLUM is an exciting new chapter that will focus on ‘Journeys to Destinations’ and all that encompasses.”
We look forward to seeing what Ian Callum and his team have in store for us!
CAR and DRIVER: https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a15361655/50-years-in-the-making-ian-callums-custom-jaguar-mk2-is-incredible-and-you-can-buy-one-of-your-own/
CAR and DRIVER: https://www.caranddriver.com/features/a15130282/ian-callum-what-id-do-differently-feature/
THE TELEGRAPH: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/news/11075555/Ian-Callum-Jaguar-Mk2-to-enter-production.html
THE TELEGRAPH: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/classiccars/11067858/Jaguar-Mk2-reimagined-by-Ian-Callum.html
NEW ATLAS: https://newatlas.com/jaguar-mark-2-update/33582/
MOTOR TREND: https://www.motortrend.com/news/jaguar-mark-2-by-ian-callum-review/