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Where can I find the orginal colors available for the 39 Zephyr?

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Mr Jamo, not to be critical, but if you follow this site at all, you will know that some of the obvious stuff, like paint colors are available if you plunk out the few bucks involved, and get the LZOC magazine every 2 months, which will give you the address, phone number and website of color-rite, which will answer all your paint questions, and many others as well, Rolf

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  • 2 weeks later...

To put it a little more delicately than Rolf (no offense 'ole chap!), yes the LZOC club is a great resource of information and a recommended place to start any investigation.

I myself have been a member for a few years after I bought my 37 Coupe and still have many many many questions. But unless you own the entire back-catalog of the "Way of the Zephyr" clubzine, there are people who will miss a bit of information here and there - that's what forums such as these are for!

Now onto the topic of discussion... paint chips!

First, I won't be helpful with regard to the '39 colors. The site peecher pointed out was quite excellent and very helpful. But there is a problem with paint chips - or at the very least the aftermarket suppliers of the paint.

So far, I have 2 paint chip sheets - 3 if you count the site peecher pointed out which had one scanned from Ditzler. The other 2 are from Acme (dated Nov 1946, copyright 1947) and Sherwin-Williams (dated August 1939) - those are just the issue dates, they are both for the 1937 model just to be clear.

The 2 physical copies I have from Acme and Sherwin-Williams are identical (except the missing Zephyr Garnet chip on the Acme sheet which says refer to 1938 bulletin No. 3) Some of the color names also vary. Sherwin-Williams calls one color Mercury (Opalescent) while Acme calls it Merucry Gray (Luminescence). Only slightly diferent, but if you're looking at a reference page with no color guide, you may never realize the two are the same. One more glaring difference between all 3 sheets, is that on the Ditzler sheet from the autocolorlibrary site, Zephyr Garnet is not even mentioned as it was on the other 2. Another difference is that Ditzler shows a color called Chocolate Brown Poly. (#M-4065-F) that is not on the Acme or Sherwin-Williams sheets.

My point? I wouldn't rely on one source for information if my life depended on it. You're going to have to do some homework, and perhaps ultimately (gasp!) just guess.

I myself still haven't figured out the original color in my 37. I've been told by a few people that The Henry Ford Museum here in nearby Dearborn, MI maintains some records (although some of the 36 and 37 model records were destroyed in a 1970's fire). Build information is still available for some cars and probably should be for you 39. If memory serves, I believe someone once told me that when judging a car or determing value on a car this age where original color may or may not be able ot be proven, if the car generally is painted a color deemed "available to that model & year" then you are set.

As for Chocolate Brown Poly. - maybe it was a late 37 early 38 (?) add-on that only Ditzler knew of. Unlikley though. The lack of Zephyr Garnet on Ditzler's sheet? Well the Acme sheet says "See 1938 Bulletin No. 3" so I think it was a late 37 availability that Ditzler didn't key in on.

You might have the same puzzling characteristics on your 39 chips, but then again that's what makes this hobby so interesting don't you think?

Pending the long awaited and much-delayed release of the revised Zephyr "bible" (restoration guide) by the LZOC club, information will have to come from club magazines, aftermarket info sheets, and good old fashioned word-of-mouth like this bulletin board!

Best of luck on your '39!

Jim N.

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I agree with Jim. It's hard to get accurate color chips for a 65 year old car. I have been able to get several different chip sets from e-bay over the past year and I don't think the colors in the chips are accurate any more. I'm not planing to re-paint my '39 Zephyr yet, I'm just trying to determine if the color somebody else painted it is correct, or close to correct. As near as I can tell, it's "Beetle Green". An ugly name for a relatively pretty color. I've had 2 '39 Ford convertibles, both Dartmouth Green, now this '39 Zephyr convertible, also green, and green isn't my favorite color! confused.gif

I would keep watching e-bay. Eventually you will probably accumulate all of the available color chip sets. Then the fun begins!


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Something I have noticed when researching 1:1 (real) car colors for miniatures and scale models is that paint chips generally look quite muted, almost dusty or muddy in shade, when viewed indoors under artificial light. A paint chip should not fade markedly as long as it is in a book, closed up, away from light sources. Often times, I find that as most paint dealers have fluorescent lighting, this makes most colors wash out even more than the original paint was muted by the automakers (muting colors was done in anticipation of the pigment "fading" over time with exposure to UV light.

Solution? If you can find a paint chip, take it out into ordinary daylight, as that is where you will see the actual car most likely. Don't worry if it's a cloudy day, in fact, a white overcast sky actually acts as a diffuser for the sunlight, and can actually make the color come up more true to what it should be.

Just a thought from a serious scale modeler, and one who makes his living developing accurate diecast miniature replicas of real cars.

Art Anderson

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