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Original Engine Colors - 1949 Roadmaster


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I know a lot has been posted online regarding original or correct engine colors on this forum.  But I thought I'd throw in some more info and some photos of my original color I just located while pulling off my plug cover.

 

I have always seen 1949 Buick engines in a light approximately sky-blue.  I also have seen many in green.  I have asked about this before on this forum and was told the greenish turquoise was correct by Pete Philips, I believe, who has an original in his collection.  Someone (Bill Stoneberg?) also sent me a color chip that I cannot locate anymore for the engine color.  

 

I bought some of the greenish turquoise engine paint from CARS and had a question about reducing it.  They could not help but told me they got it from Hirsch automotive.  Hirsch was helpful and asked Bill Hirsch why so many 1949 Buick engines are in the blue paint and not the green he supplies.  He checked around and said there was an article in the Buick Bugle many years ago discussing this change and it was determined a certain supplier had incorrectly put out a particular blue as original.  It was not the right color at all but it took off from there.  He says the greenish turquoise he supplies is the original.

 

Anyway, I went to work with the paint from CARS on my 76S engine. It did not look right to me but I was told it was correct.   Now, I just finally pulled the spark plug cover off of my other 1949, a 76C,  and, lo and behold, the original paint is still on the head around the plugs as well as inside the cover!  The prior owner had painted it (half-ass) with what appears to be the Hirsch paint.  Attached are some comparison pictures for you all.

 

When I saw the uncovered color I thought, "AH, now that color makes sense and I like it."  I think it looks like what I've always called industrial green that was so common in the late forties and early fifties.  I've seen similar on a ton of '54 Chevy's, on other GM products as well as the walls of my ancient elementary school.and some kitchen  appliances we had in those days. I have never  seen the CARS/Hirsch color anywhere so I can more easily believe the greener color I uncovered is correct.

 

I realize it could be affected by heat but I doubt it.  How does the color compare to any other original engines out there you folks my possess?   Your comments and observations will be appreciated!

 

 

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Edited by Dan O (see edit history)
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… Dan O welcome to the wonderful wacky universe just south of the milky way known as correct engine colors … always spinning always bouncing but never dull …. pardon the pun … what I have come to theorize is that a lot of the resulting so called greenish bleached out tinting remnant pieces of complete or otherwise component pieces of these ancient engines is the direct result of time, the elements & heat. Yes, but that is not all of it.  We also believe the constant environment of leaded gasoline residue in which it lived bases out as form of varnish which is a combination of the original aqua blue and the yellowish hue of the carbon based varnish thereby rendering a resulting bismal greenish color tone … and many have attempted to use that as the original color not realizing that basic chemistry has changed things a wee bit ….

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  • 2 years later...

All - I have go tto update this old post as my assumptions were wrong in my initial post.  The engine I show above with the greener paint I have now found is not a 1949 at all but a 1951.  So, it was painted at the factory in the green color you see above. The factory calls it tuquoise.  It may have faded some but not much. The fellow that sold it to me never mentioned it was a 1951 installed in a 1949 Roadmaster.  I have looked at other 1949's and 1950 model engines and believe they were painted aqua blue, similar to what you see above.  I pulled the motor from a 1949 and a 1950 and you can see the aqua blue under the motor mounts (photo in later post below). 

Edited by Dan O (see edit history)
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I seriously question whether the '51 engine was painted at the factory with that green paint. It should be the same color as the '49 paint. What proof do you have that it's never been repainted since leaving the factory? Blue is correct for all straight eights from 1942 through 1953. The '53 V8s are Buick green.

Pete Phillips, BCA #7338

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Pete - I certainly respect your opinion and realize you have been at this longer than I have and have at least one untouched motor.  I have no "proof" the 1951 (that I mistook above for a '49) was not painted green over blue after it left the factory  other that what I can see.  It would have to have been a very professional and thorough job to change it from blue to a uniform green on all parts including that part of the head covered by spark plug cover panel (as well as the inside of that panel) and other bolt-on parts but that could have happened I suppose.   Also, I have found no blue under what I call the original green.

 

It's a complex topic with conflicting data but others on the board (Cubeolydite?) have noted a change to green in 1951 on this board in years past. 

Edited by Dan O (see edit history)
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Was just talking to Bob at Bob's Automobilia, he is out of stock on '49 engine paint, and didn't say when he would get more.  He went on to stay that '49 Buick engine paint is the single most problematic product he has carried, ie causing the most complaints: "it's not the right color".  He also related a story told by a person who worked in a Buick assembly plant at the time, who said it was s.o.p. to dump paint remainders from other things, not necessarily the exact same color, into the engine paint vat, hence engines painted on different days might vary some in color.  Plausible.

Edited by SBRMD (see edit history)
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  • 3 weeks later...

I just want to add a few photos of my recently acquired 1950 Buick 320 engine.  It was obviously painted a green over blue.  The original color shows from the area under the starter and below the fuel pump where the lazy painter could not reach.  The best samples are under the motor mount brackets and spark plug cover.  It matches the blue on my greasy ol' 1949 engine too but it does not show as well.    As to heat and fading, my paint man and I discussed and he says blues can fade to green over time but not vice versa. 

 

 

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While we are on the subject of correct colors, what is a reasonably close off the shelf approximation of the blue found on the AC oil filter canisters of the era? A bright Ford blue perhaps?

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5 hours ago, Rusty Heaps said:

While we are on the subject of correct colors, what is a reasonably close off the shelf approximation of the blue found on the AC oil filter canisters of the era? A bright Ford blue perhaps?

 

 I believe Ford is what I used.  I picked up an AC oil filter box and compared it to the paint on the shelf until I found one close.

 

  Ben

Edited by Ben Bruce aka First Born (see edit history)
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  • 1 month later...

... OK just take a ride over to your trusty automotive Dupont automotive paint jobber and have them color match a known factory correct component using their Nason catalyzed single stage urethane. Make sure to request they produce a mix formula for future reference. That's what I did and have them also give you a few mils in small cans of the blue, white and black tint used so you can tweak it a bit in shop to adjust with a few sample spray outs to get dialed in perfect if need be.  A lite dusting of fine grit finish compound over the virgin surface area will delicately cut off surface oxidation and time induced hazing to expose the original hue and tones.  The Nason urethane temp range is good to go on an engine block and valve covers. ( Not exhaust manifold etc )  I did this since like you had areas of covered protected areas of factory paint that when exposed were not as faded nor presenting with a oxidized green tine which led me to hypothesize on the leaded lacquer chemistry story posted above.  Because what I found on the premixed market were the so-called correct color matches engine paints turned out to be incorrectly too green or too blue.  Oh and Ford blue is not correct  & neither is Chrysler green.

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Hello ,this is a repainted engine using CARS paint ,it matched closely with what was under spark plug cover. Incidentally replacement engines from Buick were painted black rather than current model year,In the product service bulletin Buick said they did not have a specific color of turquoise for engines but did mention some colors that were close.Buick had an extensive engine exchange program after WWII.This helps to explain why occasionally you will find a nicely restored pre war car with a black engine, rather than green, gray or red depending on model year ,a nice 41 Buick that was restored comes to mind , owner said engine was black when he bought it, and redid what he found ,1941 and 42 used Dante Red , same as wheel color on some models.

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  • 3 months later...

I finally just hauled the 1950 320 engine over to Scott-Day paint supply here in Houston in a U-Haul trailer.  Peggy and Tony were kind enough to match the original color found under the motor mounts, starter area, etc. perfectly, in my opinion.  They can supply paint to you if you want - 713/981-4187.

 

I have painted the engine and am reassembling components to have it tested by Eaton Balancing in Lorena, TX prior to putting it in my 76S.  2020 has been an awful year so far for the world but perhaps it will a good one for the old Buick.  Here are a couple of progress pictures for you.

 

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