NEW YORK -- Moray Callum, Ford Motor Co.'s recently installed global design head, thought he would celebrate the Mustang's 50th anniversary by driving his 1967 Mustang from Detroit to New York.
So he formed a two-Mustang caravan with a friend who had a 1965 Mustang -- and realized how very different today's Mustang is from the '60s version. Callum encountered some leftover winter weather, navigating snowy roads in a nearly half-century-old rear-wheel-drive car.
"There was snow and hail," he told Automotive News at the New York auto show. "It was just a horrible drive."
The absence of modern braking, stability and traction control was striking, he says. "You get used to it, but the amount of concentration you have is so much more than in a modern car."
In a way, that style of driving parallels his challenge in steering Ford design. Faced with fuel economy targets, safety regulations and the corporate need to use common components, designers have a narrow range of specifications in which to operate.
As an example, Callum points to the 50th anniversary limited- edition Mustang on display nearby. Though there are some cues from the original, designers couldn't have replicated the old car if they wanted to.
For example, pedestrian-safety regulations mandate a gap between the hood and the engine, he says. It's usually about 40 mm (1.6 inches).
"And then there's a down-vision limit that says the sheet metal can't be above a certain point," he says. "At one point, that car goes within about a 3-millimeter band of that. Otherwise, we'd have to raise the seat, which we don't do."
But, he adds, "That's part of our challenge today, getting the design right and using the parameters we have to do."
Callum, 55, is a native of Scotland. He succeeded J Mays as head of Ford design this year. He says his charge is to maintain Ford's design momentum, rather than reorganize the team. Callum says his varied background will be an asset in working on Ford's breadth of product and global markets. He has designed heavy-duty trucks, ran Mazda Motor Corp.'s design and most recently was Ford's head of North American design.
Despite the complexity of today's design, there's a basic need to create products that connect with consumers. That was driven home by the attention he and his buddy attracted on their drive. "Every time we stopped," he says, "someone would open their wallet and bring out a photo of an old Mustang."