In the 21st century, dazzle camouflage has moved on from marine warfare to a less destructive domain — automobiles. Like celebrities often hide in plain sight behind weird hats and thick shades, automakers wrap test-model cars in skins that have intricate patterns to hide the true contours and lines. Headlamps and grilles are usually covered with items like vinyl, rubber, and tape.
The swirl and zigzag patterns act as visual noise to disguise the true design. Swirls, haphazard calligraphy patterns, skewed checkerboards, and harlequin design, among others, are widely employed by the likes of BMW, Range Rover, and Ford to hide their upcoming cars from eager eyes and lenses. “We like to save the big splash for when things come out looking beautiful and pretty,” Chevrolet engineer Andrew Farah was quoted as saying by Autoblog.
Brands actually go to great lengths in order to ensure that their upcoming projects remain a secret. From renting racetracks under a fake name to hiring security teams that scour the entire area for hidden cameras, a lot goes into the process. According to a Forbes report, automobile spy photographers can make anywhere between $300 to $10,000 for such spy shots. While the camouflage paints don’t hide everything, they at least throw off the cameras (and the naked eye) from making out the finer details and cuts of a car.