Car designer, 63
I’m discovering who I am every day, which is enlightening and frightening. You know, my physical being, I’m a car designer. I’m chief designer for Jaguar. I’ve got here through good fortune more than anything.
I grew up in a small town in Scotland called Dumfries. A provincial place, really. A market town. My dad was a solicitor. My mother was a librarian. My father was a lot older than my mother. He had quite stringent values in terms of discipline and suchlike. What that instilled in me was a rebelliousness, which I still have. As I got to know my mother a little bit later in the years, I realised I got that from her. There are cars that I really admire hugely. Most of them I don’t, though. If I can do a better job myself then I don’t admire it.
Which film makes me cry? Oh my goodness! After a couple of gin and tonics, probably most of them.
The best thing about getting older is living life more appreciatively and not really caring that much about what other people think any more. That’s a huge relief. Of course you care—everybody’s got an ego, that’s just human nature— but I worry less than I did in my twenties by a long way.
I’m constantly tidying up. I don’t like mess.
My brother has got a real job, which is vice-president of design for Ford. That’s a very fine title, isn’t it?
David Bowie triggered that sense of imagination that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise found. When you discovered somebody else admired him you’d think, “You can’t! He’s my best friend.” I never saw him, never met him. It’s a shame, really, but he was inspiring. Absolutely inspiring.
I did drawing and painting at art college. It was part of the curriculum and I enjoyed it tremendously. When we were asked to do a still life for homework I’d come back with a picture of a hi-fi with speakers, a vacuum cleaner or a kitchen. I found these much more interesting than a bowl of fruit.
I used to love cheese—especially blue—but I stopped eating dairy for health reasons. When the cheese and biscuits come at the end of a meal I resist. It’s a sad thing.
Being able to stand up and talk to 1,000 people and not worry about it; that is one of the most powerful things you could want to be able to do. I taught myself how to communicate. I forced myself into it. It was quite a painful experience because I was extremely shy. It was terrifying. I just threw myself into any opportunity that I could.
At a very young age, I decided I was going to be a car designer. I went to primary school and took a drawing in to my teacher and said, “This is what I want to do when I grow up, miss.” She said, “Yeah, OK Ian, we’ll talk about that later.” We never did.
I’ve got about 25 pairs of shoes. Some I’ve never worn more than once, but I think a lot of people are like that with shoes.
What’s important to me? I sometimes wonder. I’ve been fortunate. I got to do what I wanted to do and I think, “Right, you’ve done it. What is your next big adventure?” Because you’ve got to find one. I don’t know what it is yet. It’ll dawn on me one day. I’m glad to say that there’s still some searching going on even at this stage in life.
The suit is a lazy option. You have three or four suits and you can just change from one day to the next. I don’t like any of my suits any more. They don’t fit very well. They’re not of the right cut. Just a bit too traditional.
The one thing I’m good at is putting myself in another person’s place and asking how he or she is feeling at that moment. Empathy is a big part of my life, and it irritates me when other people can’t do that.
I have a nice guitar. It’s an acoustic; not an electric one hanging on the wall or anything. I’ve never learned to play it but I should. It’s one of those things. The other is to learn to speak Italian properly.
I’m not a churchgoer but I believe in something more than us. A greater force.
If something’s going wrong I do something about it. It doesn’t frighten me. You go through ups and downs, quite severe pitches and highs and lows — I certainly have — but the thing with experience is you know you’re going to get through it as long as you work it out. It’ll be all right.
I rushed towards adulthood because I wanted to get on with the job I had in mind. School was just a means to an end.
When you lose your hair, it makes a difference to your character. There’s no doubt. It makes you realise you’ve got to work at different things. Smile more. Be a little bit more gregarious.
People who drive in the middle lane of the motorway infuriate me. This may sound odd but there’s a need for order. I find people who don’t respect the order, who are affecting others, very irritating. It probably seems a bit trite but that’s a typical example.
I spent a lot of time with my sons when I could but I didn’t get that balance right. I should have given them more time, and less for me. I’d be a much better father now.
When you reach that big six-zero you become conscious of the fact you’ve got to live and make the most of it. You consider when your parents leave this world and start relating to that. My mother didn’t die until she was 85, so I feel I’ve got a bit of scope yet. My father died when he was about 70, which makes my life a bit scary sometimes. I don’t think too much about it to be honest.
I’m a director now. It’s not a one-man show any more. Sometimes I wish I could go into a room and design my own car again, which I have done entirely. With what? The DB7… and Vanquish. Mostly Aston Martins. That was just me in a shed with six modellers.
At a certain point in life you want to get rid of things rather than own more. I find that quite liberating.
I had a car sticker once. It said, “My other car is a 2CV”. That was on my Sierra Cosworth. I had a 2CV as well.