The floor of the Detroit Auto Show is littered with beautiful new cars. There’s the wild and angular Nissan Vmotion 2.0, the futuristic Volkswagen I.D. Buzz concept, and the new Kia Stinger, a car that I had an immediate personal affinity for when it was unveiled.
But the most beautiful car here is not new. In fact, it’s not only two years old, it’s also awful dirty and, in some places, even broken.
I’m talking about the No. 68 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT that won its class at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ford has left it as tattered as when it crossed the finish line first last June, and because of that, you really get a feel for what the team had to go through to accomplish that feat. The car is covered in brake dust and mud. The tires are scuffed, and the metal lug nuts are scarred from tire changes. Half of France’s insect ecosystem appears to be smeared across the front bumper. There’s even a hole the size of an iPhone in the body work.
Just about every car or display at this show is afforded constant cleaning and attention here. There are people whose job is to make sure every fingerprint gets buffed out, that every speck of dust vanishes. And as a photographer, I appreciate that attention to detail. But it’s also very clinical. So here’s to Ford for bringing a bit of reality to the otherwise sterile show floor.