New York Times publishes an interesting article on spy photographers, car paparazzi as some of us might call them. The now famous Brenda Priddy and retired spy photographer Hans Lehmann are mentioned in the article as well, along with BMW’s Chief Design, Adrian Von Hooydonk who gives some insight into the psychedelic BMW camouflages we have seen in the past years.
“The new patterns are often created by designers, according to Adrian van Hooydonk, design director for the BMW Group. And they are considerably less expensive than the elaborate masks that engineers once created.
That process was complex, he said: entire full-scale “bucks” of the new cars often had to be constructed, and then masking and padding had to be engineered for each one. Grilles and headlight shapes are crucial to a car’s identity, but to allow for realistic testing at high and low temperatures, engineers had to be careful not to cover the air inlets or alter the aerodynamics.
Mr. van Hooydonk said designers were pleased to take over the design of camouflage from their internal rivals, the engineers. In the past, some test vehicles wore so many large boxy shapes that they looked like parade floats. The new patterns provide a sort of visual noise that hides the message, a buzz that disguises the tune.
Jim Dunne, a longtime spy photographer who famously bought land next to an automaker’s Arizona test track where he could set up his cameras, said he began observing the new patterns years ago. BMW used a swirling pattern, he said, which appeared on the new-generation 5 Series during testing near Munich. Opel and Saab have tried to hide their cars beneath checkerboard and harlequin patterns.”
Full article at New York Times.
And here is a video showing how the BMW 5 Series GT was hidden from spy photographers. (Starts at 2:40 min)
Thanks for the tip Palbay!