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hi guys

Our 1939 conv coupé shold soon get a completely rebuilt engine in the chassie.

next week we start to assemble it.

all the new ,restored an cleaned parts are on the big shop table.

the question i have this time is : how should we paint the engine?

wich parts should be engine-colored and wich ones should be black etc ?

In the sales brochure you can see that the fan,balancewheel,generator,starter,ventilatorhouse,and pipe,coil,distributor,aircleaner,waterpumpwheel,breather cap is Black.

the fuelpump is natural alufinish the dip stick is cadplated.

i dont know if it´s the drawers version or if it´s the correct version .

i like to know and look forward to see what you folks know about this..

Janne

´39 66c

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yes Granpa the engine should be medium grey.

yesterday i talked to Johnathan Bassett, he is tech adviser for ´39 special and he says that the valve cover should be black on all series and he was 99,9 shure about that.

he beleived that the pulleys,fan,gen,starter,coil dist, should all be black too.

i have tryed to get in touch with the other ´39 tech adviser Tom Colbert without success.

Janne

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Janne:

My very original 39 Model 41 engine painted gray including valve cover, side cover including the breather and draft tube, crankshaft balancer, dipstick, generator bracket(on engine), generator brace(for adjusting fan belt tension), thermostat housing and waterpump including the bypass hose and clamps, and breather cap. Aftermarket breather caps were black or some other color depending on manufacturer. Black is used on starter, distributor, water pump pulley, fan, and generator. Fuel pump is natural color. All the edges of your gaskets should be gray also as they were in place when the engine was assembled. External oil line leading to rocker assembly is gray as well as it was in place when the engine was painted. Some restorers feel the valve cover and side cover should be black: however, the black color is a coating to prevent rust on the metal parts as they were shipped from the stamping plant to inventory in the engine assembly area and allow some adhesion of the gray finish color at final painting. Over the years the gray finish came off and revealed this color. I doubt there was any effort to prep this surface before the finish coat. It is known, though, that the Buick engines of the 20s and early 30s did use black painted valve and side covers. Some of this information is also gained from pictures in the Buick Magazines of the period showing the engines in the assembly and storage area of the plant. Hope this helps.

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Hi Dave

is your ´39 restored ?

i beleived you meant that the car is unrestored but i have to ask.

i agree with you on every point.

thank you for the detailed answer.

Janne

1939 Century conv coupé 66c

1939 Special sport coupé 46s

1938 Indian chief

1916 Indian Powerplus

2002 Chevy Tahoe

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Dear Janne:

Dave Rex is correct in all items he mentions as to color. Let me add one more. The bell housing was put on at the engine plant before paint and is therefore also gray.

Kanter's has the correct color in spray cans. It's a medium to slightly dark gray.

The advertisement piece you showed is an original literature item but the color was some advertising artist's idea and that orange color would definitely be wrong.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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Dear Jane: I am in agreement with both Daves,only to add that the generator is black,fan is black,exhaust manifold is gray(but this burnt off quickly-I treat my unpainted exhaust manifold with a product called Calyx which keeps a nice cast iron finish). My photos of '39 engines being produced and painted,from a factory publication entitled "Buick's Busy Acres", shows the fuel and vacuum lines painted gray along with the exterior oil line. These painted lines might get you into judging trouble as the majority of high scoring cars I've seen have unpainted (often stainless)lines.My factory photos also show as painted gray the acorn nuts which hold the valve cover and spark plug cover in place,as these were on when the engine was sprayed(and I doubt the people at Buick replaced them after painting with unpainted metal nuts). Once again,I always see these acorn nuts as shiney metal on the field,so choose at your own risk.Best Regards,Tom

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Thanks Tom

are these photos you refer to available for me ?

can you email them directly to me ?

i agree with you ,particularly to the acorn nuts and oil lines

of course they do it that way, for them it was just an industri thing, not a show engine for judging

Janne

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Janne:

My 39 is not restored, just maintained. Good to know both Tom and Dave backed up my post. I know the publication to which Tom refers. Hard to get more authentic than than that. I agree too on the other lines being painted. You just have to visualize what logically would have been on the engine black assembly prior to painting. I'm glad the spark plug cover and acorn nuts were mentioned also. The nuts and the fuel/oil lines might look pretty all polished up but that finish is not correct. It would be logical to assume the exhaust manifold got hit with paint, but the paint would obviously have been burned off quickly. BCA Judging takes in to account treatments such as Calyx or other coatings for preservation: however, porcelainizing would be considered overrestoration.

Kep posting pictures of your progress.

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Dear Janne and everyone who reads this post:

Let me post here what I always refer to as: "The Rule From God" concerning Buick engine painting, it is as follows: "If the item in question on a Buick engine has a bolt or nut on it that MUST be on the engine to run engine test, that item must be engine color."

The engine testers at Buick were the most senior and trusted employees in the whole place, and were required to sign their names to the test sheets.To protect them, it was a discharge offense for the assembly plants to move/remove bolts or nuts that the tester had signed off on. The last thing the engine plant did AFTER test was spray paint the engine and add the decals on valve covers.

This led to the developement of the famous Buick bolt that has a head in the middle and threads at both ends, of which the most famous example is the bolt holding the water pump on on V8's, with the other end holding the generator brace. The correct color scheme of that is that the bolt is Buick V8 green, the generator brace is black, the lock washer is plated, the nut is plated differently and the end of the bolt you can see is green. Odd, but necessary to enforce the rule about not moving a bolt that has been signed off by an engine tester. This stated rule ran as policy from around 1920 to 1960 or beyond.

All you have to do is ask the question: Is this part necessary for engine test? Yes = engine color, No = other color. It is important to remember that Buick used a natural gas mixture instead of gasoline for safety purposes, so carburetors are natural color and put on by the ASSEMBLY plant. This also reduced engine height substantially for shipping purposes to Southgate, Linden, etc.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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Dear Janne:

The fuel pump isn't required for test (Remember it's running on a piped in natural gas mix.) and the distributor and wires were shielded during paint by the side cover and a "slip-over" shield. There was a little metal plate over the fuel pump hole for shipping purposes. This meant nothing got moved, but paint can be conductive, which wouldn't be acceptable around the distributor.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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