The British car industry has lost one of its most talented and inspirational figures with the death last week of Geoff Lawson, the designer responsible for the Jaguar XJ220, XK8 and the new S-Type. He was 54.
Lawson joined Jaguar in 1984 as director of styling, leading an expansion of its Whitley Engineering Centre. The cars developed under his 15-year leadership of Jaguar’s design operation revitalised the firm. The XJ220 out ran all its supercar rivals, including Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini.
The XK8 returned Jaguar to its sportscar glory days of the 1960s and the S-Type looks set to be a commercial success. The last car Lawson worked on, the X400 `baby Jaguar’ is due for release in the early 2000s.
Jaguar chairman Dr Wolfgang Reitzle described Lawson as a brilliant designer. He said: `His gift was the ability to recognise the importance of classic styling cues from the great Jaguars of the past and translate them into modern Jaguars.’
Born in Leicester, Lawson studied design at Leicester College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London. He joined Vauxhall as a designer in 1969, eventually becoming a chief designer.
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