Photo: Bugatti

In the early days of motorsports, when race cars were lithe and elegant slips of steel, it was pretty common to see their racing numbers painted on their front grilles. Today, it’s an underutilized aesthetic. Let’s all paint numbers on our cars’ faces!

I was actually reminded of my fascination with numbers-painted-on-metal-mesh when I saw Alex Goy’s photo of a Morgan wearing a big “8” on its face at the Geneva Motor Show. Later, I noticed that the “lightweight” Bugatti Chiron Sport at the same event has a big “16” similarly painted on in the style I’m talking about.

The only other contemporary application of this that I can think of is on Bentley’s EXP 10 and EXP 12 concept cars from 2015 and 2017 respectively. The former of which looked rather dashing in green if I do say so myself:


OK, the off-center slightly-italicized “6” could have been added a little more artfully. But generally speaking, I think this looks pretty cool.


If any of my cars had a traditional grille like this, I’d come up with an excuse to but a number on it for sure. I actually really wanted to get a Grillcraft mesh face for my Tundra while I had it exactly for this purpose. Here’s a quick mockup of what I was hoping that might have looked like, based on a picture from Grillcraft’s catalog:

Photo: Grillcraft (Edited by the author)


I’m a little afraid to ask, but, am I the only one who thinks this is awesome?