Design & Desire By Keith Helfet

When Keith Helfet embarked upon an ambitious project to create a new body shape for a secondhand Triumph Spitfire using little more than foam offcuts and plaster of Paris, a life as one of the world’s most successful automotive designers seemed like an impossible dream. And yet that’s precisely what he would become.

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After studying at London’s prestigious Royal College of Art, the South-African born youngster secured a job at Jaguar, where he would meet his mentor – marque founder Sir William Lyons. Thanks to his encouragement and guidance, Helfet would go on to create a number of iconic designs such as the XJ220 supercar, the XK180 and the beautiful F-type concept created in 2000.

With diversions into medical imaging, product design, power-assisted bicycles and electric vehicles, Design & Desire offers a personal insight into a unique and varied career that has spanned more than four decades – and counting…

Key Points

From Cape Town to Jaguar – the remarkable life of the man who designed the legendary XJ220.
Over 160 images, including many photographs and drawings from Keith Helfet’s own collection and from the early stages of his design career.
A chapter devoted entirely to the creation of the Jaguar XJ220 – in his own words.
A personal insight into the world of automotive design.
The Author

Keith Helfet was born in 1946 and grew up in Pine

lands, a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. After completing a course in mechanical engineering Helfet moved to London and was accepted on a master’s degree course in automotive design.

Upon graduation, he began a long and successful career at Jaguar, during which time he would create a number of iconic vehicles, including the marque’s supercar, the XJ220. Although he writes a regular column for Jaguar World magazine, Design & Desire is Keith’s first book and offers a personal reflection on his life and career to date.


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