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Auto blogFri, 25 Jul 2014 17:15:00 EST
Ford is among the kings of concealment when it comes to test cars. On one recent Mustang SVT mule, the automaker went to the extreme of putting baffles over the exhausts to hide how many there were. Sounds like a lot of work, right? In a new video, the Blue Oval has decided to take fans behind the scenes to show them what it takes to camouflage a prototype. In this case the subject was the recently unveiled 2014 Falcon XR8 for Australia.
Ford's prototype build coordinator Down Under has the very appropriate name of Neil Trickey, and it's his job to obfuscate the important bits of test cars to keep them out of spy shooters' camera lenses. Trickey calls his job a "dark art," and he shows off some of the tricks of his trade in the video. It turns out that the fabric we often see on mules is a type of lycra, but his team isn't above getting out a can of spray paint to conceal parts, too.
Scroll down to watch a video about a man who you probably wish could be a little worse at his job.
It's hard to think back now, but the same man overseeing the design of the 2013 Ford Fusion also presided over a rather lackluster period in Ford design, highlighted by vehicles like the Five Hundred and Freestyle. With the redesigned Fusion receiving high praise, J Mays tells Automotive News that he feels vindicated from criticisms suggesting he's not a daring enough designer.
When Mays took over as lead of design in 1997, he admits to having quite an ego ("My head would barely fit through the door some days. I've long since gotten over myself") and the workload to match. With the Blue Oval's portfolio full of premium brands like Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo at that point, along with the bread-and-butter Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models, Mays certainly had quite the challenge.
It was in the mid-2000s that Mays took over just the premium brands, and took on the new title of Chief Creative Officer. At the time, Mays endured some criticism for looking backwards to retro styling, rather than setting a new standard for American car design - criticism that Mays says he is free from with the all-new Fusion.
Ford has been in hot water in Australia ever since it announced plans to end local production of the Falcon and Territory SUV. Besides canceling a model that is to Oz what the Mustang is to America, the end of production means more than a few folks will be out of work.
Keen to prove that it has a plan for the market, Ford has unveiled the Aussie-penned Everest Concept, a rough-and-tumble, seven-seat SUV. While not a direct replacement for the aging Territory (that role will eventually be filled by either the Edge or Flex, according to Car Advice) it's an indication from Ford's brass that the Blue Oval is still committed to Australia.
To prove that fact, Alan Mullaly, Mark Fields, Jim Farley and regional execs descended on Sydney for the debut of the new concept. Ford's Australian president and CEO, Bob Graziano, said of the Everest, "Our customers, our employees and Australia can be assured that we're connected to the nation and committed to our customers through terrific products with class-leading technologies."