Ian Callum has been responsible for some of the most beautiful cars on the roads over the last few decades, but the Jaguar and former Aston Martin designer has a healthy appreciation for the brand's back-catalogs, too. For Callum, as with many Jaguar fans, the Mark 2 of 1959 to 1967 is a particular highlight, one of the brand's most distinctive models and to many eyes, one of its most beautiful.
Not that such cars can't be improved upon. Over the last year, Callum has worked with restorers Classic Motor Cars Limited (CMC) to develop a new and improved Mark 2, taking the original's styling and applying modern attention to detail—and of course, modern performance. "“This is a very personal statement," explains Callum. "A long held notion that, although the Mark 2 has always been a beautiful car, it could be even more exciting in shape and performance.
"I wanted to add a number of modern twists to the design—simplification and clarity was my objective," he adds. On the outside, all looks fairly normal until you clock the different front and rear bumpers, now integrated into the car rather than the traditional chrome attachments. At the front this bumper features two large intakes, helping to feed an uprated 4.3-liter Jaguar XK engine, attached to a five-speed manual gearbox. Louvers in the front fenders add a race-car style touch to help airflow around the engine bay.
Also apparent are the new wheels—17-inch split-rims with wire spokes, wrapped in modern tires. Contributing to a lower, wider stance is a suspension setup lowered by 30 millimeters, with uprated coil springs, roll bar and wishbone bushes, adjustable dampers and solid subframe mountings. There's a new power-assisted steering setup too, helping take some of the weight out of the Jaguar's driving characteristics.
Inside, Callum has opted for a full re-trim, a classy wooden dashboard finish and some up-to-date in-car entertainment including a flip-out touchscreen system. If you're wondering why someone might add such an incongruous touch, you might be pleased to hear that the Jaguar designer intends to use his Mark 2 every day. While the styling and interior alterations might not be to all tastes, it's a great way of keeping one of Jaguar's most iconic vehicles on the road.