Ford F-150 Lightning to Tesla Cybertruck: Electric truck roundup 2022 Honda Civic 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT 2022 Hyundai Tucson GMC Hummer EV 2021 Ford Bronco Best car insurance
Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Ford developing glow-in-the-dark chrome

Ford showed off a technique to illuminate chrome badges and trim from within at the 2011 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

illuminated Ford Mustang badge
Ford's new technique will enable the Mustang's chrome pony to be illuminated at night. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Chrome badges look great during the day, but they mostly go unnoticed at night. The opposite is true of illuminated trim; it can look great at night, yet horrible during the day. However, Ford's new illuminated chrome trim should, in theory, look as good at night as it does during the day.

Ford says that it has developed a technique to project light through a chrome finish for small parts and had examples on display at the 2011 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The particulars of how Ford pulls off this trick of light are beyond me, but the automaker does state that it is not using the common trick of chrome back-plating a clear badge. Ford's technique allows the badge in question to appear as normal chrome during the day, blending in with the rest of the vehicle trim until a switch is flipped.

The automaker set up a kiosk in its booth at the SEMA Show to allow enthusiasts to get a glimpse of what this illuminated chrome might look like using the Ford Mustang's pony badge. Seven different designs were previewed with different lighting schemes ranging from illumination of only the eyes and tail of the pony to only the outline of the badge to illumination of the full pony icon. The simple, full illumination (pictured above) was, in my opinion, the best design of the bunch. I was surprised at how bright, yet even the light was and pleased to see that the inner detail of the pony silhouette was still discernible. Viewers were invited to vote on their favorite design. For those who don't like glowy bits, there was also an option for a vote of no illumination at all.

A representative stated that Ford is working on developing engine covers with illuminated chrome "5.0" badging and trim, as well as other chrome accessories and may have the illuminated pony badges available for an upcoming 50th Anniversary Edition.