Ian Callum is much more than just a car designer.
He is a Grade A petrolhead with a collection of classic cars and a need for speed.
Callum is known best as the man who designed some of the most gorgeous Jaguars to ever wear a ‘leaper’ badge.
But he was also responsible for a couple of Astons, even Volvos, and was the chief tweaker for a time at Holden Special Vehicles.
Callum was a regular visitor to Melbourne when his boss and friend, Tom Walkinshaw, owned and ran HSV and the Holden Racing Team. His job was to tweak the styling for maximum HSV impact, as well as crafting the liveries for the Commodore races.
Now he is back to his best in motorsport with a car called the BRX – that’s Bahrain Rally Xtreme – that is being built by Prodrive in Britain to compete soon in the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabian.
“Prodrive Dakar car has been fun to shape,” said Callum as he unveiled the first pictures of his work.
The BRX will be splashed with red paint for Dakar to reflect its big-money backing from Bahrain and will have Sebastian Loeb’s name on the side as the nine-time World Rally Championship winner takes another tilt at the world’s toughest off-road contest.
“Package, regulations and geometry for such extreme car was hugely demanding. So pleased with the result,”said Callum.
But there could be much more to the DBX than just a Dakar attack, which would explain the ace designer’s involvement in the project.
There are rumours that Prodrive, which is owned by the former boss of Tickford Racing in Australia, David Richards, is considering turning the racer into a showroom car.
It would be the off-road equivalent of a Ferrari or Lamborghini for well-heeled owners who like to dash off across the desert or tackle the world’s most extreme off-road tracks.
Callum’s efforts are much more than the usual car-icature efforts of Dakar teams, which make the bodywork just close enough to a production model – the Mini winner of recent years is the most obvious – to provide a showroom link.
The BRX is smoothly sculpted, looks good with and without its giant rear wing, and would be easy to put into production.