With spy photographers proving to be extremely effective, car manufacturers quickly realized they had to come up with creative ways to camouflage new models during outdoor testing.
We're obviously on the other side of fence, but we can also understand why the likes of Ford go through so much trouble hiding their prototypes away from curious eyes and high-end camera lenses.
According to the company, no industry is as worried about keeping their new products under wraps as the automotive one, since they're the ones that eventually need to take their vehicles out on the road. Besides, now that virtually everybody can take a picture at any moment thanks to their smartphones, automakers need to be extra careful.
Ford has moved past the days when cars were covered up in that unsightly black vinyl cladding. Some car manufacturers still use it, but only bits and pieces here and there. The way Dearborn does it is by using stickers with patterns which hide the body lines by creating optical illusions that makes it difficult to see specific details.
"The work we're doing is crucial to Ford staying competitive in a constantly evolving industry", said John LaQue, Ford section supervisor for Prototype Planning & Build. "When we make it to a reveal without a photo surfacing of a non-camouflaged car, we have all done our jobs."
Unlike vinyl cladding, vinyl stickers are universal and can be stuck on any car in no particular order. They're also quicker to install and more durable.
Of course, there are other ways to keep a future model hidden in plain sight, like using faux body panels adding in length or height.
It's an battlefield, this one. You can run and you can hide, but in the end you are just delaying the inevitable: you do know you'll get caught, don't you?