In a completely unexpected move that we approve of, Ford this week stepped away from the de rigeur grille decal and aerodynamic jellybean shape for its 2013 Sprint Cup NASCAR racer. Ever since the mid 1980s, NASCAR has moved away from production-realistic styling in favor of pure aerodynamic shapes. The competitive edge this gave, however, has had a negative impact on “win on Sunday, sell on Monday.” Customers simply do not identify the race cars with the production cars anymore. To combat that, Ford has broken ranks, turned 180 degrees, and is doing what appears to be a backwards Alan Kulwicki victory lap.
“We had an opportunity to add more personality and detail to the race car,” said Garen Nicoghosian, Ford design manager in charge of the NASCAR project. “We took advantage of this opportunity and sculpted a more aggressive front end and we added grille bars that are identical in design to the production car. We also added more detail to the fog light housings, and created a more detailed headlight area as well.
“In addition, we also sculpted a more aggressive hood, and were able to achieve a closer look to the production car. Our race car is even closer in design to the production car now, and we are very pleased with the results.”
The latest enhancements have allowed Ford to more closely match the production Fusion while remaining within NASCAR guidelines as the manufacturers inch closer to submitting their final designs to NASCAR for the 2013 season.
Will Chevy, Toyota, and Dodge follow suit and banish the decal grill and melted jellybean shape like Ford? Gosh, we hope so. It would be nice to recognize the grilles and silhouettes of race cars once again. We haven’t seen that since 1987.