When Ian Callum arrived at Jaguar 20 years ago he joined a car company saddled with a traditional design and an outdated brand image. Callum's challenge was to modernize the look of the cars while still linking them to the classics of the past such as the E-Type sports car and Mark 2 sedan.
Callum retired from Jaguar this month, but one of his final appearances in his role as the brand's design director was in May at the Automotive News Europe Congress, where he explained that his legacy was managing to fuse Jaguar's past with its future in designs such as the full-electric I-Pace.
The problem was the XJ. Jaguar's flagship sedan was praised when it launched in 1968 but it was so successful that every subsequent model referenced the design right up until 2010.
"That, unfortunately, gave Jaguar the reputation of being a traditional car company, when in reality it is a very modern and innovative car company," Callum said.
Instead of repeated references to the XJ's quadruple round headlights, Callum defined Jaguar design as flowing lines, a sense of speed, elegance and exaggeration.
"Jaguar invented truly beautiful proportions probably before any other car company," he said.
Where in the past Jaguar beauty was typified by the E-Type's iconic, elongated hood, now it's represented by the I-Pace's short hood, cab-forward design. "It has all the values of a Jaguar. It has proportion, stance, beautiful lines, excitement, it has exaggeration," Callum said. Not least in its 22-inch wheels (he had wanted them to be 23 inches).