DISCOVERING Dumfries-bred automotive Gucchis or Versaces ought not to be a surprise, yet somehow it is. Cars are fashion icons and some of the most inspirational have come from Ian and Moray Callum. There is more to Dumfries, it seems, than Burns, Barrie, Coulthard and John Paul Jones.
The Callum brothers were joint recipients of the Jim Clark Memorial trophy for 2006, awarded annually to Scots who have made a major contribution to the world of motoring. Ian is director of design at Jaguar, and Moray was his opposite number at Mazda until his recent appointment as design director of Ford Cars for the Americas.
Stephen Park, president of the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers, presented the award at Gleneagles in recognition of their outstanding contribution to global car design.
Previous winners include Sir Jackie Stewart, Colin McRae, Tom Walkinshaw, Alan McNish, Jonathan Muirhead of Bridge of Weir Leather and road safety campaigner Dr Murray McKay. "Not only is it unique to have two Scotsmen hold such senior positions in automotive design but the fact that they are brothers is all the more remarkable," said Park.
Dumfries's place in Scottish motoring heritage has always been secure. Nineteenth-century motor industry pioneer Arrol-Johnston, which made cars in Camlachie financed by Sir William Arrol of Forth Bridge fame and then by Sir William Beardmore, manufactured in the town from 1912 to 1930. Its concrete-framed factory, built in 1912-1913, was modelled on those the Trussed Concrete Steel Company was making in Detroit for Henry Ford. Reinforced concrete broke new ground in industrial building, and after Arrol-Johnston went into receivership in the 1930s, the glass-fronted structure was taken over by North British Rubber, and survived making Hunter Wellington boots.
The guiding light of Arrol-Johnston was Thomas Charles Pullinger, formerly with Darracq in Paris, Sunbeam in Wolverhampton and Humber, who not only transformed the cars but saw an opportunity for a cheaper alternative. This was the Galloway, made at a former aero-engine factory at Tongland near Kirkcudbright by a largely female workforce under Pullinger's daughter Dorothe in 1921-1922.
Throughout most of his 51 years Ian Callum has been single-minded about car design and in particular about Jaguar. Aged 13 in 1968, he wrote to WM Heynes, Jaguar's vice-chairman (engineering) and technical director, enclosing some sketches and enquiring earnestly how he should go about joining the industry. Company culture at Jaguar treated such approaches with the gravity they deserved. Bill Heynes was instrumental in Jaguar engineering from 1935, and with William (later Sir William) Lyons, Walter Hassan, and Len Baily created the legendary XK engine. Yet he took the time to write a formal reply to Master IS Callum.
"Dear Ian, I thank you for your letter and drawings, which I have had a good look at. Your general conception and ideas are good... engineering drawing training is necessary... you should take this up at school in such a way that it does not interfere with your other studies. It is apparent that you intend to enter the styling side of the industry... you would do well to take some art training in due course as you have obviously a flair for this side of the business..."
Eleven years later Ian Callum began his career at Ford, working on the Fiesta, the Mondeo, the Ford RS200 mid-engined rally car, the Escort RS Cosworth and his mini-masterpiece the Ford Puma. Joining Tom Walkinshaw, he designed the exquisite Aston Martin DB7, Vanquish and Volvo C70. With Ford's Premier Automotive Group he worked on the Range Rover before realising his ambition to go to Jaguar.
His most recent triumph was the beautiful aluminium Jaguar XK, echoing the classic E-Type with a distinctive oval air intake, bonnet power-bulge and handsome rear. Details like the sweeping front and rear lights, Jaguar says, "catapult Jaguar sports car design firmly into the 21st century". Ian is more prosaic: "It looks just like a Jaguar should - powerful and exciting. That comes from a sense of tension, muscle and form and is very much part of the new design language we are creating."
The XK went on sale in March, providing UK dealers with 6,000 advance orders - around half a year's production.
Ian first won the Jim Clark award to celebrate the design of the DB7, but the Scottish motoring writers felt that his contribution towards Jaguar's new design direction should now be recognised, together with his younger brother Moray, 48.
Moray spent six years at Chrysler UK before moving to PSA Peugeot Citron and the design studios of Ghia in Turin, where his work included the Ghia Via concept vehicle. He led the design team at Mazda for a striking range of vehicles, including the RX-8 and MX-5. Mazda's sales went up from 968,324 to 1,270,561 last year, in many ways thanks to Moray's striking styling.
His move to Ford in Detroit puts him into one of the highest-profile car design jobs in the world. "Being recognised by the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers is a great honour for both of us," he said. "To feature among our personal sporting heroes, such as Jackie Stewart, is a tremendous thrill."