Ian Callum’s hot-rod love affair: his 1932 Ford Hi-Boy Coupe

Published: 28 August 2014

Jaguar design director Ian Callum unveiled his new-for-2014 Mk2 today – but this is far from his first hot-rod influenced car.

Back in February 2007, CAR ran a beautiful seven-page feature on Callum’s own project at the time: a lovingly restored 1932 Ford hot-rod.

He’s been a fan of the rodding scene forever and back in 2001 he met Jon Golding of Home Grown Hot Rods. The two spent five years slaving over this black Hi-Boy Coupe, to make Callum’s dream hot-rod.

Ian Callum’s 1932 Ford Hi-Boy Coupe

‘This is not a coupé, it’s a coop,’ Callum told us. ‘Jaguar makes coupés, Ford does coops. It’s an American thing.’

It became clear in the course of Jonny Smith’s interview with Callum that his hot-rod penchant influences his entire design outlook. Yes, even his latest Jaguar creations are informed by the car you see here. Just listen to him talking about the rod’s attitude and poise and you could be forgiven for thinking you’d been transported to an F-type Coupe motor show press launch.

‘Just look at the dead-on front profile,’ Callum told us. ‘The cabin rolls out  and tapers at the bottom as it moulds around two occupants. Now look at the side profile. The vertical line of the front grille almost runs straight through the front wheel centres.

‘The chopped roof really appeals to me. The stock 25-louvre bonnet line should be half an inch higher at the front but we’ve dropped and reworked the original grille to give a better rake. Rods are all about stance, just like modern car design.’

The spec

Powering Callum’s coupe is a 351 Windsor V8, breathing through a GT40 alloy head and power goes to the rear axle – where else – through a Mustang-sourced T5 five-speed manual.

On CAR’s shoot at Southend’s pleasure beach, Callum’s hotrod made quite an impact. ‘The dual stainless 2.5-inch tailpipes punch every neon-drenched arcade and padlocked ice cream parlour they pass,’ wrote Smith in CAR magazine’s February 2007 issue, as Callum took him for a ride. ‘Nothing on Earth could beat this feeling. The cloudless sunshine could almost be mistaken for west coast California, except it’s cold.’

The cult status of this humble two-door began when young, post-war American guys were hungry for thrills. They wanted to race each other on salt flats and drag strips, but the cars had to be cheap, sharp-looking and tunable.

Which sounds to us like a good reason why car manufacturers should start selling cars like the 1932 Ford Deuce Coupe today. The fact that Callum’s latest project is a 1960s Jag Mk2 modded to his personal spec, rather suggests they don’t.

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By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet