(image courtesy of www.stuff.co.nz)
You may have spotted them when out and about on the highways and byways of Blighty.
They look like zebras masquerading as generic cars. Very distinctive-looking vehicles seemingly wrapped in those sort of roomy, lightweight pants favoured by martial artists pretending to be Steven Seagal.
And Steven Seagal.
Well, they’re actually test cars for automotive manufacturers if you weren’t previously 'in the loop'.
With the lairy exterior graphics designed to throw prying eyes off the moving targets. Which if/when interpreted afford those with insider knowledge an indication of where the automaker is going next with its futuristic design language.
In the industry they’re referred to simply as ‘test mules’.
And there's a very good reason as to why the paintjob always manifests as perceivably random black and white swirls. With a history that dates back as far as World War I and inclusion on military hardware, believe it or not.
Use Your Illusion. Not The Guns N Roses Version
Essentially the camouflage serves to disguise specific exterior bodywork details present on pre-launch (and mid-production run facelift) models of the manufacturer's very latest cars.
Details such as cuts, creases and contours for the most part.
The monochrome effect ensures that the overall new model design is significantly disrupted, whilst also ostensibly blurring out photographic snapshots. Most of which tend to be captured when the vehicle is on the move.
Making it damn near impossible to determine what you're looking at if you're hunkering down in nearby bushes with a zoom lens trained on the very latest this/that/other new model (delete as applicable) and on the pay roll of automaker rivals
But going back to what we touched on above, and this so-called ‘dazzle camo’ was first used back in World War I. By both the British and US military.
The theory being rather than hiding the subject, this confusing paintwork would mislead the enemy about the size, speed and direction in which the vehicles were headed in. Subsequently gaining them military advantages in the field. Or sea, as was more often the case.
So, fast forwarding a few decades, and essentially camo paint is all about manufacturers’ brand new/soon-to-be-launched/future models going beneath the radar whilst undergoing real world road testing.
To visually distract rival automotive companies.
But Why’s This Relevant To This Particular Blog?
Well, it isn’t really.
It’s just a bit of a back story/history lesson which we though you might appreciate.
The actual gist of the blog regards some hapless folk in New Zealand who pretty much set out Audi’s stall for them recently. Albeit inadvertently.
By way of parking a triumvirate of Audi’s latest facelifted RS3 models outside a press building in Christchurch.
Yes, the offices of a newspaper.
Where there usually tends to be a lot of people with cameras and recording equipment and the like typically to hand (hashtag awks).
Basically, they couldn't have chosen a worse location to temporarily park up when tasked with keeping the facelifted RS3 under wraps to the best of the ‘Test and Development’ team’s ability. Which you'd be forgiven for thinking was a bit better than demonstrated thereabouts.
Unsurprisingly, they weren't too chuffed about being papped doing something daft.
So much so that the German engineers tried to obscure the view from those who had assembled outside the building keen to take an opportunistic ganders at the latest incarnation of the much-hyped Audi RS3.
Suffice to say, the impromptu photo session didn’t last long, and the gaggle of monochrome-wrapped RS3’s departed the scene of the team’s faux pas. With their tails firmly tucked between their collective legs, we’d imagine.
What You WCC Is What You Get
Bad puns included, it would appear.
Whatever it looks like.