BRENTWOOD, England - Have you ever looked at a car from the front and thought you saw a face staring back at you?
Don’t worry, you’re not seeing things. Ford designers think of the front as the personality of the car, with headlights for eyes and a grille for the mouth. And the Cars films from Disney showed just how easily that can come to life.
But much of the inspiration for Ford exterior designs comes from animals, such as the agile athleticism of cats.
Today, on International Cat Day, @Ford is celebrating all things feline. Through the years, many Fords have been named after cats, including the Cougar, Kuga and Puma. There was also the Ford Panther platform, used for a wide range of American sedans, plus the dual-fuel Bobcat development engine.
Beyond the name-plates, you’ll see feline elements in lots of Ford cars. The alert and aware cats’ eyes inspire the headlights on some Ford cars, showing a focused, assertive look that’s intended to give the driver confidence.
Then there are the strong, powerful haunches on the rear wheels that make it appear the cars are ready to pounce in feline fashion.
Cats are considered to be “purrfectly” proportioned, and a domestic cat is as comparatively powerful and athletic as a tiger or cheetah. The legs are just the right length for the body, and it’s these feline proportions that Ford designers try to emulate.
“A car’s athletic yet stable exterior is largely due to the proportion of the wheels to the body, the body to the ground and the body to the glass. This all needs to be perfectly balanced to create that look. Similarly, cats have a well-balanced proportion which reflects those attributes we look to achieve.” said Jordan Demkiw, Exterior Design Manager, Ford of Europe.
But it’s more than felines that inspire Ford designers, who also look to the sleek, aerodynamic bodies of sharks and the strong postures of horses to add a predatory and powerful demeanour to Ford cars.
So it’s no wonder the Focus RS seems to crouch like a cat on the prowl, and the Mustang gallops down the road like a thoroughbred racehorse.