Gallery: the long road to the Jaguar F-Type
Ian Callum, director of design, talks exclusively on the cars that led Jaguar to today’s all-conquering roadster
Posted: 02 May 2013
Ian Callum on… the 2000 R Coupe
“This was the first ‘public’ car developed by myself and the new team at Jaguar Design. I knew we had a while before we need to show our colours and so instigated a concept model to demonstrate our intention.
“Working with Julian Thomson we created a modern day XJC, a car we both admired and felt was quintessentially Jaguar. The form language was tight with hard edges. Many directors felt uncomfortable with this notion as they felt Jags should be ‘soft and round’. I believed differently!
“I’d felt that recent concept Jaguars were a little flabby, and so wanted to add some tension to the forms. Jaguars had, after all, historically often possessed sharp lines. Julian and I discussed the grille a lot and decided that the Mk II shape was the way to go just to give the car instant recognition, especially to those who doubted our future philosophy. I was uneasy about it as a face and felt it still retro, but one step at a time…
“The interior design direction also came under a lot of scrutiny as we were under a lot of pressure to lose the wood. We decided to do the opposite, and embrace what was rightfully ours, but designed in a very modern way. I always had J Mays’ backing on this new approach to modernising Jag. In fact this is exactly what he brought me in to do. I think he liked the car very much and supported me thoroughly on all future work, right through to the XJ, after which Ford and Jaguar parted company.
“At this point Julian and I laid down a rule-book for future Jaguars based on the learnings from that R Coupe... interior and exterior — our Jaguar Design Philosophy. Of course it was really the same one that William Lyons had created, albeit unwritten all those years ago. But the grille had to go.”