Ian Callum already has an armful of design awards. Now he’s topping himself with Jaguar’s all-new F-Type, the English luxury carmaker’s first two-seat convertible in the last 50 years.
The stakes have never been higher for the Scottish-born designer: Jaguar’s D-Type and E-Type roadsters were pop culture icons of the 1950s and 1960s.
Steve McQueen, the King of Cool, roared around Hollywood in a 1957 Jaguar D-type XKSS, which he repainted British racing green. Bad boy Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones tooled around London in Jaguar’s spectacular E-Type during the Swinging ‘60s. No less a competitor than Enzo Ferrari himself declared E-Type the “most beautiful car ever made” when it was launched in 1961.
Since then, leadership in the upscale two-seat sportscar segment has been taken over by Porsche, BMW, Mercedes and Chevrolet’s Corvette. Not only will Mr. Callum’s F-Type design fill a hole in Jaguar’s product lineup, he hopes it will restore the soul of the brand.
“Without the two-seater sportscar, the brand is not complete,” he told MotorTrends’s “Wide Open Throttle” show. “For me, it is the middle of the brand and everything else circles around it.”
So far, so good. Autoweek in May reported that half the first year’s production was sold out and that customers who order will be lucky to get one by the end of the year. The F-Type will account for 15% to 20% of the brand's total annual production of about 60,000 units, Autoweek said. Not bad for a ride starting at $69,885.