When not playing heavy metal, or looking for another Gibson Les Paul to add to his already extensive collection, Wayne Burgess is busy working on his next car design. The British designer, best known as the creator of the Jaguar F-Type, is currently cooking up fresh projects at recently-founded Geely Design UK after a long career in the English car industry, including roles as Chief Designer and then Design Director at Jaguar—where he was responsible for all the automaker's products, including the mad ones engineered by Special Vehicle Operations.
Having met Burgess on a number of occasions, I knew him to be a great conversationalist, willing to chat freely about his past projects and future ideas. So when, at the end of his 21-year tenure at Jaguar, Burgess began , I jumped at the opportunity to have him tell me more. Luckily, he was more than happy to share some stories, illustrated with his favorite renderings and sketches from his days at Jaguar.
Having graduated from Coventry University in 1992, Wayne Burgess landed at LTI Carbodies, makers of London's famous black cabs. Three years later, with the new TX1 taxis still two years from production, he moved on to work for Omni Design International. This company was responsible for a wide range of exterior designs of the era, including the Rolls Royce Seraph and Bentley Arnage, as well as the facelifts of the Rover 25 and Land Rover Discovery. Not long after that, Burgess then found himself at Jaguar Land Rover.
Yet after just two years, in 1999, he accepted Ian Callum's invitation to join Aston Martin Lagonda. At the time, Callum was the Joint Design Director for both Jaguar and Aston Martin, and the pair worked on the exterior of the DB9, as well as the initial design concept for what was to become the V8 Vantage. They also supervised the design development of Aston's interiors. After some time, Burgess moved back to Jaguar, becoming its Chief Designer and Studio Director.
I asked the former Jaguar design boss and current head of Geely's new British design studio what his high point was at Jaguar. "Probably being Chief Designer on XF, as it truly signaled a turning point for Jaguar’s design language," he told me via email. "And then being Chief Designer on F-Type, because it was the first two-seat Jaguar sports car since the E-Type."
But while these two models, launched in 2007 and 2015, played a huge role in Jaguar's post-Ford rebirth, these sketches of Bentleys, Aston Martins and Jaguars from the 1990s and 2000s tell a bigger story about the evolution of British automotive design. We'll let Burgess explain the recent rise of the British auto industry through his own favorite sketches and renderings.
1996: Bentley Concept Coupé proposal for the Mulliner Park Ward division
Wayne Burgess: "This is a marker and pastel rendering of a concept coupe proposal for the Mulliner Park Ward division of Bentley. I worked there in the mid-'90s whilst employed by Omni Design International, and after we’d finished the Rolls-Royce Seraph/Bentley Arnage programs, we were invited to submit concepts for MPW’s 'bespoke clients.' While I never worked on the Continental GT, I like the fact that I was clearly thinking along the same lines, back in 1996!"
1997: Jaguar X-Type Concept
W.B.: "Again, this is a marker and pastel concept rendering I did for the Jaguar X-Type, back in 1997. It must be one of the first renderings I did on arriving at Jaguar, in fact, and you can see the deeper/squarer grille shape that found its way into [the 2007] XF was already in my thoughts! We proposed lots of more 'progressive' designs for X-Type; the Senior Management at Jaguar at the time ultimately wanted something much more 'instantly recognizable as a Jaguar...'"
1998: Mid-Engined Jaguar Concept
W.B.: "A marker and pastel rendering concept for a mid-engined Jaguar supercar, dating back to the late 1990s. The XJ-13 is one of my favorite Jaguars, and this design was clearly an unashamed ‘homage’ to that car. Years later, we would reference XJ-13 again, when Jaguar revealed the C-X75 Concept."
For reference, here's the original, turbine-powered C-X75 Concept from 2010:
And speaking of mid-engined ideas ...
1999: Aston Martin 305M
W.B.: "This is a digital rendering proposal of the Aston Martin 305M. Believe it or not, the car that eventually became the Aston V8 Vantage started out as a mid-engined proposal that Ian Callum brought with him when he joined Jaguar in 1999. He [appointed] me to run the Aston Martin studio for him, which we set up in the corner of a storage building at Whitley! This car was so cool; I wish Aston had built it back then!"
2000: Aston Martin DB9
W.B.: "A Photoshop rendering proposal for the Aston Martin DB9, circa 2000. I started out aiming to give the car more of the muscularity/masculinity of the Aston Vanquish, but Ian, quite rightly, coached me to make the car softer and more elegant, like the DB7 it replaced. He was right to do so, as I think the car really has stood the test of time, with its simple elegance."
2000: Jaguar X-Type Concept
W.B.: "Again, a Photoshop rendering proposal for a 'small saloon,' drawn later in the X-Type program (circa 2000). I like the fact it has the archetypal Jaguar proportions of a long tail, long ‘dash to axle’ and short front overhang ... which the architecture of the real X-Type couldn’t quite deliver, due to its transverse engine layout."
2004: Jaguar X250
W.B.: "This is a Photoshop concept rendering for the Jaguar ‘X250’ (what was to become the first Jaguar XF). From memory it was circa 2004. I was Chief Designer on the program, and I like the fact that the grille shape and headlamp graphics in this drawing are pretty close to what we ultimately went to production with!"
2005: Jaguar XF
W.B.: "This is a [ballpoint pen] sketch I did towards the end of the Jaguar XF’s design theme development, and illustrates the headlamp and grille themes that the first generation car went into production with. The pronounced ‘fluting’ in the bonnet, flowing back from the round headlight, was our deliberate attempt to recall a hint of ‘traditional’ Jaguar surfacing in what was, in every other respect, a quantum leap forward in terms of Jaguar’s design language."
2010: Jaguar XF Sportbrake
W.B.: "This drawing dates back to 2010, and is a Photoshop rendering proposal for the first generation XF Sportbrake. I’ve always loved high performance wagons/shooting brakes, and the low roof line and ‘wraparound’ rear screen that characterized the first generation XF SB can be clearly seen in this early sketch."
2013: Jaguar F-Type
W.B.: "This [ballpoint pen] sketch is a proposal for the Jaguar F-Type, circa 2013. By this time I was a Studio Director at Jaguar, and no longer had time to do Photoshop renderings, as I was too busy managing the Production Studio! In actual fact, I don’t think I even had time to finish the back half of the car in the sketch.
No worries Wayne, we got you on video back in 2013 finishing the back half, in under six minutes ... only to destroy the evidence:
2013 must have been a crazy year. Almost as crazy as the proposal for a mid-engined Jaguar in 1998.