The Ford Mustang, as a model and as a nameplate, is so iconic that whenever an all-new model is set to debut, the car paparazzi are just so eager to snap the very first photos of the car.
With nearly everyone carrying smartphones with cameras and Internet connection that can easily spread the images globally within seconds, it has become important for Ford's engineers to develop a camouflage package that will hide the car's true appearance months ahead of its global unveiling.
According to Ford, initial camouflage development begins with the design team, and is then refined through engineering and safety. With the Mustang, the first recommendation for its camouflage was to keep it minimal "in an effort to keep weight and aerodynamic effects to a minimum."
"When I saw the first camouflage package the team suggested, I knew it wasn't good enough to counter the paparazzi, so we went back to the drawing board," said Mustang chief engineer Dave Pericak.
The team then went to work to make sure the entire body was covered with black vinyl and heavily padded underneath with foam. The second proposal, however, still showed the basic profile of the fastback roofline, something which Pericak didn't want to reveal yet. The final camouflage package developed by the team successfully obscured the car's fastback profile and proportions, making it appear more like a notchback and smaller than it actually was using pieces of plastic and foam that were strategically placed beneath the vinyl to hide the car's true contours.
But no matter how much care was taken to disguise the Mustang, when it was first driven out of the factory in its full camouflage in June 2013, photos of the car were supposedly turning up on automotive websites in less than an hour.
"After spending weeks refining the camo package for the Mustang, it was a bit frustrating getting snagged by the paparazzi almost immediately," said vehicle engineering manager Tom Barnes. "On the other hand, when we saw the photos later that day, it was a relief to realize you really couldn't tell what the car looked like."
Even then, with the lengths the team went to just to obscure the Mustang's shape, a new car still needed to be tested without its camouflage, and the only way to do this was to drive it late at night.
Watch the video below if you want to know how a car is extensively camouflaged against the paparazzi.
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