why do cars in testing phase have such badass painting? why does it look like that?

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[look](https://www.automobilesreview.com/gallery/2021-mercedes-amg-project-one/2021-mercedes-amg-project-one20200907_03.jpg)

Edit: this pic i posted isn’t actually “testing phase paint”, [this one is](https://akm-img-a-in.tosshub.com/indiatoday/images/story/201706/honda-accord_story_647_061417022650.jpg). Still badass, tho

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They use camouflage paint/wrap to hide the styling and body lines until they’re ready to officially release the vehicle.

The type of camuflage used is called dazzle camuflage. The concept is that the contrasts and stripes make it very hard for people to see the lines in the design. So it is very hard to copy the design from just a few pictures. There is no way of knowing if a darker area is due to the paint scheme or if it a shaddow cast by the body design. In your image you might notice that it is very hard to see how the lines around the fenders joins up with the side panels of the cars. There is also a feature on the engine cover in front of the gills which might be an air inlet to the engine bay but you can not really see how it is shaped.

[Incidentally, dazzle paint was also used in the World Wars because they thought it would obscure a warship’s speed and heading.](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dazzle_camouflage)

Its [Dazzle Camouflage](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dazzle_camouflage) and dates back to around WW1 as a way of hiding identifying features of a ship.

The geometric patterns and sharp color transitions make it difficult to pick out curves and contours on the car which is good for keeping updated body styling hidden. Generally manufacturers will need to build a couple units of a new model to test out on the road or tracks to confirm handling of performance, but they don’t want people seeing the new body curves or the “freshness” of it all will be spoiled before they can show it off at a big autoshow.

While the answers in regards to the Dazzle camo are on point, I think your example is just a custom wrap job.

[This](https://akm-img-a-in.tosshub.com/indiatoday/images/story/201706/honda-accord_story_647_061417022650.jpg) is *actual* Dazzle camo.

While dazzle paint has its history in “hiding the lines” of a car (which it’s not so great at if you’ve ever seen one in person), these days it’s also intended to stop photogrammetry tools from being able to produce an accurate 3D model of the car before it’s released, and the designs have been tweaked for that very purpose.

So you can’t tell the curvatures. Curvatures make a new car “new”, so carmakers don’t want to spoil it before the official debut.

With modern high res photos and computer programs, I think people can render it very accurately even with this paint scheme though.

can i ask how you navigated to the picture of project one ?

more and more oems are opting for padding and such to completely obscure the design.

but at some point, those covers are more cumbersome than they are worth. so once they reveal the car, they go to a simpler wrap.

I used to work for the prototype plant for Ford in Dearborn (Detroit). They use this “dazzle camouflage” to confuse people who might want to copy designs. It is confusing to the eyes and cameras. They will also put styrofoam or other things under the wrap to fake different shapes to really confuse people.

They are super protective over their new designs. I know someone who was fired and sued for taking a picture of a new truck model and only showing his son.

Know how people say black clothes make ou look thinner? That’s because you can’t see tiny shadows as good and that’s exactly what this is about. Your eyes have a really hard time to make out the shape of the car, especially on pictures as the sense of depth that comes from looking at something through both eyes is lost entirely.
In Germany we call these cars “Erlkönige”, dunno if this term is used anywhere else as well.

In German we call it Erlkönig, after a German poem about a ghost that haunts a father and his son

I live in a climate were they test new cars. We see a lot of european cars being tested. This is because of our -30 temperatures in the winter. Each car does not have a paint job in your photos but a fabric jacket over the vehicle. This is to hide all of the lines and styling.

Fun fact: each year they put out a “looking for drivers” ad to drive vehicles like the one you have pictured. It is required you have a perfect driving record with no prior speeding tickets. Once you get the job you drive these performance sports cars at speed limit in a line of 5 of the same vehicle for 8 hours a day. All in town driving, making as many turns as possible. It seems incredible boring.

I grew up in a small town with two car testing facilities. In highschool a friend and I used to sneak into the facilities, snap pictures on a disposable camera, and sell them to Car & Driver for $20-$30 per car. They always had the camouflage paint, as well as fake geometric features to hide

So a lot of comments about the dazzle paint are correct. I just wanted to convey how effective it was: I worked with a dazzle camo’d car for months, driving it for multiple hours a day. Between the camo and the fact they removed a lot of the trim on the fascia I had no fucking idea what the car looked like, when it was revealed to the public I was pretty surprised, even though I was up close to the car every day

They don’t all do that. I used to see lots of test vehicles when I worked on Pikes Peak (popular place to do high altitude testing), and while some had this paint job, most were just flat black with all the badging removed.

I hope someone sees this answer because I actually work in automotive advertising. Your photo is a perfect example of the major misunderstanding that people have about that paint scheme.

True, OEMs do “camo” their cars to hide the bumps, curves and whatnot on their test vehicles. That said, your photo is not that. Do you notice how it’s a great photo? It looks like it was taken by a professional who is on the track; in fact, the motion blur you see was probably added in post. Why would an OEM go out of their way to photograph a vehicle that they are trying to hide? More likely, this is promotional photo, published by the MB.

The Accord in your other photo was wrapped by the vehicle’s owner, not the OEM. The amount of effort put into the wrap is beyond what is required to disguise a vehicle. Did they really need to wrap the side mirrors, and Honda logo????

Sometimes you see cars with this paint scheme (it’s actually a vinyl wrap) on the road. Those cars almost always belong to someone who had the car wrapped. If you look, it’s almost always a past model year. OEMs don’t need to disguise past model years. Real test vehicles, which are called bucks, are rarely driven on public roads. When they are taken on public roads, OEMs don’t like to attract attention with catchy paint.

How to spot a real test vehicle. Most of the testing will be done in a closed track, so you’ve probably never seem a real one, especially if you don’t live near Detroit or LA. Real bucks are either painted to not stand out, or they are covered in padded fabric panels. This is the only way to truly hide the bumps and curves on a test vehicle. You should also look inside of the vehicle. If you don’t see computers and other sensors everywhere, it’s probably not a buck. Remember, a test vehicle is pre-production. That mean the inside will be a hodgepodge of existing parts, just enough to let someone drive it and maybe let them have AC.

TLDR: 99% of the vehicles you see with that pattern are not test vehicles, they belong to regular people who want to wrap their car to look cool. Real test vehicles look like pre-production test cars, they are wrapped in padded fabric, mismatched parts that may not fit together well, and an unfinished interior. Real test vehicles mostly stay on private tracks.

You seriously don’t know this?

The patterns are designed to reek havoc on your camera’s auto focus as well as confuse the eye.

Back in the early 90’s I saw some cars that were covered with thick pads climbing a mountain road in Colorado. Came to the conclusion it was a new model they were doing high altitude testing on.