Is it painting on carbon fiber or painting with carbon fiber? It is actually a little bit of both depending on how you look at it.
If you read this blog then most likely you already well know the appeal of carbon fiber from a functional point of view. The exotic nature of carbon fiber has always had more than just a functional appeal and has crossed over into a visual appeal. Some might argue that it is almost a status symbol like gold and other precious materials. And easy case of arguing that point is simply to look at the unpainted carbon fiber roofs of BMW’s M3s and M6s. BMW clearly chose to show off the carbon fiber construction and play into the idea that the car’s status is elevated with carbon fiber on display.
However leaving whole parts of a car fully in carbon fiber often can look simply unfinished or unrefined. So I like to have fun coming up with creative ways to integrate carbon fiber into the design of a car. To me, carbon fiber is a great way to draw accent points to shapes that I want to highlight. So in a sense, carbon fiber can be thought of as simply another color in the painter’s pallet.
For the hood of our latest GT-R project I designed another spin on the carbon fiber accented hood strategy that I often utilize. The game plan was to highlight the vents and changes in heights. The Carbon Dry Japan hood often looks too subtle from far away as the vents simply blend in. So to exaggerate the sexy curves of the hood we used exposed carbon fiber at any time the height varied to deepen the dips and heighten the lifts visually. If you look inside the inlet duct you’ll see carbon fiber on the inside vertical walls but also on the exterior vertical portions as well.
Doing those small accents made a big difference visually, but to top it all off it was decided to leave a side stripe on just one side of the hood which follows the hood crease line. Why? Just for the hell of it…also sections like that end up being very useful for graphics or roll call vinyl down the road.