Surrey Nanosystems didn't use its blackest formula for the X6, going for a new sprayable VBx2 formula that actually reflects one percent of the light that hits it, instead of sucking up 99.965 percent of all light like the original Vantablack recipe.
"It wouldn’t have worked if we’d put on the original material," said Jensen. "The viewer would have lost all sense of three-dimensionality. VBx2 with its one-per-cent reflectance provides just enough of a hint of shape. Add to that the contrast between the matt black surface and details such as the Iconic Glow kidney grille, the headlights and the windows – everything is just set off beautifully."
Fans of Douglas Adams might recall the special coating on a stuntship in his 1980 novel Restaurant at the End of the Universe:
"That," he said, "that... is really bad for the eyes."
It was a ship of classic, simple design, like a flattened salmon, twenty yards long, very clean, very sleek. There was just one remarkable thing about it.
"It's so... black!" said Ford Prefect. "You can hardly make out its shape... light just seems to fall into it!"
The blackness of it was so extreme that it was almost impossible to tell how close you were standing to it.
"Your eyes just slide off it..." said Ford in wonder.