When Ian Callum resigned as Jaguar’s long-serving design director last year it wasn’t to head off to a peaceful retirement. The 66-year-old Scot has a resume many other automotive stylists would cheerfully kill for, from the Aston DB7 through to the Vantage, Jaguar XF and F-Type and even the i-Pace EV.
With several other former Jaguar-Land Rover executives he set up an eponymous design and engineering consultancy, CALLUM, which has gone on to create a high-end restomod of one of his career highlights, the original Aston Martin Vanquish.
In Callum’s version the Vanquish’s 5.9-liter V12 has been cranked to 580 hp. The car sits 0.4 inch lower and rides on 20-inch wheels. New carbon-fiber front and rear bumpers and side strakes update the look.
The first-generation Jaguar XK HVAC controls are out in favor of a new carbon-fiber center stack with an integrated touchscreen interface. The seats are new and positioned slightly lower. R-Reforged, a division of Switzerland’s AF Racing AG — a technical partner of Aston Martin that also happens to run Astons in DTM racing — is building the car.
Expectations that CALLUM’s future projects will follow a similar ‘greatest hits’ trajectory are set to be confounded according to the man himself.
“I want to produce something more than a revamped car,” he told Autoweek, “not just a remix of my own albums.” Meaning that the CALLUM Vanquish 25 (25 are being built) will be, as he puts it, “a stepping stone to something bigger.”
While the CALLUM Vanquish was, as Callum the man says, “effectively the facelift it never had,” we can expect the next project to be considerably more ambitious.
Like the Bentley Bacalar we told you about a few months ago, Callum is planning to make a car that will sit on an existing architecture, but will undergo a radical transformation.
“We definitely want to do a complete rebody at some point,” he said, “to introduce a level of change that isn’t currently available on the market.”
Callum’s back catalog gives plenty of potential inspiration, with the F-Type – still in production – an obvious candidate for a revolutionary makeover.
“We will take something that already exists – there is no point reinventing the wheel – it has to be a platform that is close to your heart and one you feel affinity for,” he said. “On a personal basis I’d love to take the F-Type and do something quite radical to it.”
Given Callum’s love for Jaguar’s golden era sports cars – as a schoolboy he wrote a letter to company founder William Lyons saying he wanted to style its future models – his take on a classically inspired update would certainly be a compelling one.
But, like most of the auto industry, he also admits to be considering an electric future, specifically a model based on the i-Pace’s flexible architecture.
“It always deserved other body types, we did look at doing them when I was still at Jaguar, but a variety of factors got in the way, let say” Callum admits. “Electric cars offer huge opportunities because they have a tightly packaged powertrain and you’ve got a huge amount of freedom to change what’s around them.”
Whatever Callum – and CALLUM – does next, it certainly won’t be boring.
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