The V8 Engine Has a Future After All, Says Jaguar’s Design Head

Ian Callum, the director of design at Jaguar, spoke recently at Coventry University’s National Transport Design Centre on various subjects related to the auto industry.

Callum, a Coventry University alumnus, touched on automotive history, autonomous vehicles, the buying process, even Jaguar itself.

Ian Callum also had something to say about the V8 engine, according to CAR Magazine.

Long live the Queen.

Long live the V8.

To begin with, says Callum, the age in which we live isn’t so different from the era in which Callum began his design education, way back in the early 1970s.

“In 1972 nobody wanted cars, because of the oil crisis,” Callum told his audience at Coventry University. “People had written them off. It was a difficult time to go into car design. Politicians had decided that the motor car had a short future and we would all be using public transport.”

The reasons may be different now than they were in 1972, but there is a rising tide of anti-car sentiment. There’s a fear among driving enthusiasts that autonomy will steal our steering wheels. There’s a concern that the constant search for incremental laboratory-measured fuel economy improvements will result in a dearth of naturally aspirated, large displacement engines.Callum, Jaguar’s design boss for nearly two decades and the brother of Moray Callum, Ford’s vice president for design, isn’t denying the future.

“The process of autonomy is a given,” Callum says.

“When will that turning point be? In my opinion it will be sooner than a lot of people think,” Callum points out, suggesting that the car industry will lead while governments follow with infrastructure. It all sounds so electrified, so robotic, so uninvolving.

But, says Callum, “I think there will still be a place for V8s.”

Curiously enough, V8s form a small part of the Jaguar world, even in the traditionally V8-friendly United States. Three of five Jaguar nameplates don’t offer a V8. The overwhelming majority of Jaguar XJ sedans are selected with six cylinders; most F-Types are V6-engined, as well. (At Jaguar’s Land Rover partner, U.S. sales of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport in the first five months of 2017 included 5,944 V8-powered vehicles; another 11,868 with V6s.)

Perhaps this serves to explain Callum’s V8 theory. Jaguar’s design director believes there’s a place for V8s in the future due precisely to the anticipated rarity.

“Because there will be so few of them, the fuel they burn will be a drop in the ocean.”

You can have a V8. Just don’t let your neighbor get hold of one, too.

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

[Images: Jaguar Land Rover]

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