Paint Codes for British (or any other) Collector Cars « Britsport of Seattle


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Paint Codes for British (or any other) Collector Cars

A common dilemma encountered during the restoration/respray/repair of collector cars is maintaining the correct, original color for the body. Most, if not all original color codes are dutifully noted in factory publications and probably on the door post or bulkhead plate, so the process of ascertaining the factory name of the color and the paint code or number is not difficult. One may even procure such information from the paint code charts printed in the front of your favorite British parts suppliers catalog for your particular marque. The problem lies in that the paint code is likely obsolete, long dropped from the databases of major paint suppliers largely from lack of demand. Walk into a major auto paint supply store and announce that your TR2 is Pearl White, and the Dockers number is BF5460, and they will think you are referring to your slacks. The color codes of most vintage British automobiles have been long dropped from the computer data bases of most major worldwide paint suppliers like PPG, Dupont, Glasurit, Speis Hecker, etc., more than likely from minimal demand of that color, or VOC law changes that require reformulating of color codes has resulted in that shade being dropped from their database of formulas. It is easy to procure correct codes for a 1998 Nissan Maxima, but nearly impossible to find Opalescent Silver Blue Metallic for 1967 Jaguar under it’s original factory paint code designation. On occasion, an inquiry to a paint company’s archival paint library like PPG in Ohio may produce a code, but the code is more than likely for lacquer or enamelĀ  ( not a good idea unless you are under a limited budget), not urethane as most restoration shops utilize, or the latest state of the art water borne variety of paints. The correct code for your car, if determined and available in a workable formula, sprayed out and displayed for all the world to seeĀ  is a suggestion of correctness at best. Walk down the line at any major field meet, and you will see many versions of the same color code. Any factory paintwork has long ago faded or died off, taking it’s original look with it. The factories also utilized more than one paint supplier in the course of a model’s production that also resulting in shading differences. I have found after dealing with this issue for years, the best avenue is either to find a late model car with a color close to what you are seeking, or to peruse the 25 year old, faded color books at your local auto paint supply store. They generally have a color spectrum book of available shades designated by a number, not a name, from which you may make your selection and spray out a sample card to see if it meets your eye. If it does not, try again as you will have to look at the car for a long time. I try to defer the color choice to one person and one person only, the guy writing the checks. In the end, it is his opinion that matters most.

One Response to “Paint Codes for British (or any other) Collector Cars”

  1. Glenn Chouinard says:

    By luck, in looking at touch up paints I found Ford’s Cardinal Red is an incredible match to Signal Red.

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