It’s no longer good enough for automakers to release photos of their new cars, they have to fill them with secret messages, too.
And it’s not just something for the bored art department to do for their own amusement. The car companies often challenge people to uncover the mystery, turning it into a social media promotional effort.
Ford did this did this recently with screenshots of the digital displays from its GT and 2018 Mustang sports cars, teasing the GT’s top speed and sneaking historically relevant numbers into the Mustang’s screen, like the model year it was first introduced. There’s likely info about the car itself that’s yet to be deciphered.
But, beyond the numerology, Ford may have dropped an even more symbolic clue about the new Mustang in a photo presumably highlighting its interior design.
I recently received an email from an eagle-eyed employee at CJ Pony Parts, a Mustang parts retailer, who noticed something lurking in the background of the photo. If you look through the windshield to the left of the steering wheel, you’ll see a parked car. Not just any car, a 2012-13 era Mustang Boss 302, which is widely acclaimed as one of the all-time best.
Now, it’s easy to write that off as just a random inclusion, but we’ve learned little is left to chance in these photos. They could’ve picked any of the myriad Mustang editions released over the past half-century to dress up the scene, or no car at all. I mean, why distract from the new one with a classic?
Possibly to indicate that there’s a new Boss 302 on the way. The last one was such a success that it’s hard to imagine they won’t be trying it again, sooner or later. Even though the last Boss 302 went out of production in 2013, Ford received a trademark for the name in 2014, proving that it’s planning ahead, even if it hasn’t yet revealed what that plan is.
So, what about the rest of the photo? That woman, for instance, what’s she looking at? Not either of the cars, it would seem, but something in between them. Perhaps another mystery model, but which one? And why is there a hose snaking through the grass in the rearview mirror. Or is it a snake. Like a cobra, as in Shelby Cobra?
Nah, cobras aren’t bright green. At least I don’t think they are. It’s probably just a hose that belongs to her landscaper, who she’s about to ask to give her cars a wash. Or was a particularly obsessive member of the art department just bored?
One day, we'll know for sure.
FORD MUSTANG BOSS 302 TEST DRIVE:
Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com's Automotive Editor.