Award Winning Vehicle Styling

For entry into the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show for aftermarket components, systems and vehicles, Ford needed a development partner to aid in delivering a specialty vehicle based on the Ford Focus platform.

Altair ProductDesign in conjunction with its partner company, Thinklabs, was selected to work with Ford and its suppliers to create a new style concept and design and manufacture the exterior and interior of the vehicle in time for the competition. The deadline for the entire project was extremely short with the 'Ford STREET' vehicle arriving at Altair PD's development studio just six weeks before the SEMA event.

The Focus arrived at Altair ProductDesign in stock condition, painted blue and ready to hit a dealer lot. The transformation of the stock vehicle into a physical manifestation of the concept sketches generated by Altair’s design team then began. The first step was to take a perfectly good car and rip out the interior, strip the suspension, chop out the roof, remove all the trim panels, and make various cutouts into the sheet metal. Once the “demolition” work was completed, claymodeling techniques were used to make the car’s exterior surfaces match the design intent. From the clayed surfaces, epoxy tools were made that were then used for the final parts. A custom interior was fitted that coordinated with the vehicle’s overall theme. The polycarbonate roof was created — a unique design taking advantage of the material’s ability to be formed into shapes not possible with glass. Finally, it was SEMA “show time” for the finished vehicle.

In keeping with Altair ProductDesign’s keys to aftermarket success — low tooling costs, a fast design cycle, exciting aesthetics and ease of installation — the Altair Focus STREET demonstrated the power of collaboration by taking Ford’s “Excellence in Design” prize at the SEMA event. The program demonstrated the successful collaboration between the technology and expertise of Altair ProductDesign, Ford Racing, Bayer MaterialScience LLC and PPG Industries.