Ethos

Cruisin’ with Jaguar Design Chief Ian Callum in a ’32 Ford on Woodward

At Home on the Ave: Marveling at the machines and mixing with the masses at the Woodward Dream Cruise

If anyone else wore a grin anywhere near the size of the one on the face of Jaguar design chief Ian Callum at this year’s Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise, we didn’t see them.

“Fun!” he exclaims. “It’s fantastic to drive a ’32 Ford, which is a car after my own heart,” he says of the 1932 Highboy borrowed from Carl and Jeanne Booth. Callum has pulled off of Woodward Avenue to wait for his younger brother, Moray, Ford’s design vice president, to meet up with Ian’s makeshift entourage.

“First thing he did was try to catch up to the Jaguar I-Pace by laying down a good patch of rubber,” Carl Booth says of Callum and his Ford’s V-8 engine and its sensitive throttle. “He said, ‘Wow! That pedal is quick to respond.’”

Ian Callum drives his perfect Dream Cruise car: Carl and Jeanne Booth’s LS3-powered ’32 Ford, built by Brothers Custom Automotive.

Callum has attended the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, an event usually held the same weekend as the Dream Cruise, for decades. But Pebble moved back a week for 2018 to accommodate a golf tournament, so we conjured up this fish-out-of-water meeting by arranging Booth’s hot rod for Callum, who has a 351 Windsor-powered ’32 Ford coupe of his own back home in England. Woodward, however, turns out to be Callum’s natural habitat.

The makeshift entourage includes Bill Jagenow, driving his Flathead Ford Model T roadster; Autumn Riggle, driving Jeanne Booth in a lowered, custom 1956 Lincoln Premier—Jagenow and Riggle are partners in Brothers Custom Automotive, which built the Booths’ and Moray’s hot rods—and Bill’s 12-year-old son, Louis “Liam” Jagenow VII, riding shotgun in our Jaguar I-Pace photo car. I briefly imagine Liam participating in the Dream Cruise silently in such an EV in a quarter century or so.

Ian catches up with his brother, Moray.

Moray Callum arrives in a Lincoln Navigator, and we take a couple more laps of Woodward before gathering in front of Pasteiner’s Auto Zone Hobbies (car models and books).

“He’s got a goatee beard,” Ian says of Moray. “It’s most peculiar.”

The two brothers don’t see each other often enough. That may change.

I’ve retired from being a judge at Pebble Beach,” Ian says. “I’ve done it for 18 years. So I’ll probably be here next year,” when the events are again on the same weekend. “I’ll probably go to Pebble on Thursday and come back here Friday and Saturday.”

As Ian and I go to leave Pasteiner’s classics-jammed parking lot, a woman steps forward.

“Excuse me? Hi, my name is Catherine Johnston. I was told that you designed my car, the Jag F-Type.”

“Yeah, I did!” Ian allows, adding that he did it with a team.

“I have it here.”

“And you’re in tears!”

“I love that car. It is my most favorite car in the world, and I wanted to thank you.”

So far, the Dream Cruise isn’t that different for Callum than meeting prominent Jaguar owners at Pebble. And there are other designers to catch up with: Peter Davis, who worked for Fiat in Italy in the ’90s when Ian Callum was there for Ford; Wayne Cherry, General Motors’ sixth design chief; and Howard “Buck” Mook, a colleague during Ian’s 12 years at Ford. When the designers split up, Ian finds a 1941 Willys Gasser a block away.

“A friend of mine in England has got a Willys like that,” he says. “He actually drives it on the road. He’s got a cage in it; it’s a complete drag racer. It’s quite interesting because it makes a lot of noise. … Wow. Look at that! That’s a blower and a half.”

“I used to work on Corvettes,” says Bob Kinzer, owner of the Willys. “That’s an ‘outlaw’ fiberglass body.”

“The engine’s remarkable,” Callum tells Kinzer. “Do you know how much horsepower?”

Although he’s not one for green cars, Ian Callum is drawn to Keith Collins’ personally restored ’65 Ford Mustang 2+2.

“At least 750,” Kinzer replies. Like the cars on the Pebble grass, Kinzer trailered his car from Utica, Michigan, to 14 Mile Road, a couple of blocks away, then drove it the rest of the distance to his parking slot just off the curb.

Next, Callum studies a dark green ’65 Ford Mustang 2+2 fastback with a 289 V-8 and “Special Edition” painted on the rear quarter-panels. It’s not the sort of paint job that would
earn it a space on the 18th fairway, but it’s the kind of homespun work that speaks to the spirit of the Dream Cruise.

“When it came out, I was struck by this very strong, powerful face,” Callum says. “That lovely shaped grille. It was very purposeful. And I really fell for that, it is really in some sort of way a kind of European car, which is a nice balance.”

Owner Keith Collins reveals it was white with blue stripes—the classic “A Man and a Woman” paint combo—when he bought it in Florida. “I’m still working on it,” Collins says. “Actually, it took a year to do all the major stuff on it.”

Callum is impressed with all these do-it-yourselfers and shade-tree mechanics on Woodward.

“I do appreciate a lot of the owners of the cars at Pebble Beach who do it because they love the cars, but it’s as much about the investment as it is about building them, which is fine,” he says. “I’ve got a few such investments myself. But everybody here is here because they love the car. They’re not interested in what it costs, what it’s worth. It’s worth more to the soul than to the wallet.”

Callum spots a ’56 Chevy with a crate motor, not unlike a car he sold recently. He did much of the work on his ’56 Chevy, including modern mechanical upgrades. Aesthetically, he’s fine with retro rods, not so much rat rods.

“I like honest cars,” he says. “But cars that have been patinaed and scratched intentionally, I don’t have a lot of time for that.”

As we continue walking, Callum says he’d like to have a 1963-65 Buick Riviera and considers the Bill Mitchell design era, at least up to the early ’70s, the pinnacle of American design. He likes post-Virgil Exner Mopars as well, pointing to a ’69 Dodge Dart GT convertible.

Let’s make a deal: Ian Callum tries to buy Carolyn Peters’ Super Bee at the Halls’ Dream Cruise Party.

“See, I like that. The simplicity of them. After the failings of the ’50s, they discovered this thing called ‘elegance.’”

Callum also points out a passing Meyers Manx and a 1969 Pontiac Firebird.

“The ’68, ’69 Firebird is one of Mr. Tata’s favorite cars,” he says, referring to Ratan Tata, who as then-chairman of Tata Group bought Jaguar Land Rover for Tata Motors from Ford in 2010.

Speaking of Ford, we encounter Mook again, who leads us to a wild yellow Mustang II, a V-8 with chrome SVT valve covers under the hood, owned by Greg Sauve. Mook is also responsible for the ’66 Pontiac GTO-based “Monkeemobile.” As for the Mustang II, Callum isn’t enamored with his friend’s most notorious design.

Ian with Jaguar PR’s Stuart Schorr and the author.

“[Lee] Iacocca said nobody over 30 was allowed to work on the new Mustang,” Mook explains. “We had a contest for two weeks. We had to do sketches, full-sized tape and everything, and Iacocca chose my design.”

“I remember your sketches,” Callum says.

“They were very exaggerated,” Mook admits. “We always used to do that here in America.”

Soon, Callum is off to a local Jaguar dealer’s party at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, 8 miles to the north. That’s too much like a Pebble Beach event, so instead we meet up with him later at the party of GM executive Jim Hall and his wife, Pam. Jaguar’s design director eyes the Halls’ ’63 Corvette and designer Dave Rand’s ’66 Jaguar E-type Series 1. Woodward has a reputation as an all-American muscle car and hot rod festival, but Callum understands Jaguar’s place among the Fords, Chevys, and Dodges.

“Jaguar’s the affordable exotic,” he says. “That was the mission. For a lot of people, these classics and these hot rods are affordable classics. They’re affordable exotics to them. It touches their heart the way that a normal car will not touch.”

He fawns over a 1969 Dodge Super Bee parked behind Rand’s E-type and tells me, “I want you to say in your story that this is the car I’d go home with.”

Additional photos, Steven Pham

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