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 Post subject: Engine Paint colors
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:16 am 
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Location: Ann Arbor, MI United States
I have been studying DeSoto engines for some time. One thing still vexes me. It looks like most DeSoto engines made before WW II were painted black with either silver or red cylinder heads. It also looks like most DeSoto engines made after WW II were painted silver with black pulleys, electrical accessories and air cleaners, although some mid to late 1950's DeSoto performance engines also had Gold trim. Does anyone know when the engines changed from black to silver?

Brent

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 Post subject: Re: Engine Paint colors
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:21 pm 
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Somewhere I came to believe that MOPAR started using silver on all engines (everything cast iron) beginning in '34. Can't say that I have any documentation for that, but I have repeated it.

I have 2 '33 Imperial CQ cars in my shop and the engines are documented as being green/gray with red heads.

Interestingly, years ago we restored a '28 Chrysler Model 52 (4 cyl) and when I went looking for answers regarding engine colors, people from the NCPC told me that Chrysler engines were blue. Meaning the blue from the '60s.

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 Post subject: Re: Engine Paint colors
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:28 pm 
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My '41 DeSoto engine bay is all original... both the block and heads are silver.

I have never seen a black engine with silver heads.. though I assume it is possible. The only colors I have seen over the last 20 years is an all silver engine with a silver head. This doesn't count accessory items like horns, brackets, spark plug wire loom, generator, etc... these were usually painted semi-gloss black.

I would love to see an original engine with the black still on it.. . :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: Engine Paint colors
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:02 pm 
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See new thread under FAQs

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 Post subject: Re: Engine Paint colors
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:06 pm 
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Brent Jacobsen
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 Post subject: Re: Engine Paint colors
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:20 pm 
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Last edited by BrentJacobsen on Fri May 18, 2018 1:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Engine Paint colors
PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:04 pm 
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Tim,

I am interested in the color you are calling "gray-green". Here is a photo of a circa 1928 ZSB H-series engine taken at the Chrysler historic museum back in the fall of 2016. According to Willem Weertman, in 1928 Chrysler started painting the cylinder heads of their engines a color different from the block. The standard compression ratio head called the "Silver Dome" was painted silver. The optional high compression ratio head called the "Red Head" was painted red. This engine would be the standard compression ratio. It is also painted what I would call a "Gray-Green" color- dark almost an olive, this color photographs as black in black and white photography. Is this the color you are using on those two model CL ZSB eights you are restoring?


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1928 Chrysler ZSB H-Series Engine with Silver Dome Head Right Side.JPG
1928 Chrysler ZSB H-Series Engine with Silver Dome Head Right Side.JPG [ 1.67 MiB | Viewed 667 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Engine Paint colors
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:01 am 
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I would need to go find the photo album on the ‘28 Chysler restoration. I never came up with definitive info for that restoration, which was NOT a restoration for points. I cant remember, but i think i painted the engine black. Maybe a gray.

This color on the engine you share is much darker than the color provided to me by the Imperial crowd for the ‘33 CQ. These engines have red heads, too.

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 Post subject: Re: Engine Paint colors
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:29 am 
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Tim,

Thanks for the response. Since I don't own a pre-war car, ( I wish I did!) this study is kind of academic for me. Still, I have at least five Chrysler history books, whose content is based on Chrysler archive studies, to use as reference. All of these books strongly suggest that pre-war Chrysler DeSoto and Plymouth engine blocks were painted a dark color- possibly black. The 385 CID Imperial eight is the only engine for which a clear corporate archive photo or text isn't included, so I can't make a judgement call. Prior to 1928 the heads were also painted that color, 1928 and after heads were silver for standard compression ratio and red for optional high compression ratio. The books also suggest that Dodge engines for the entire pre-war period were painted the Dodge legacy color which was silver. But after 1931 when Dodge started using Chrysler corporate engine designs, they too had red high compression heads available. I can share the archival photos and text with anyone who is interested.

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 Post subject: Re: Engine Paint colors
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 4:31 am 
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I would love to see your available photos so that I can selfishly add them to my info for later reference when needed!

I appreciate your interest in the subject and your sharing the info you’re finding.

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 Post subject: Re: Engine Paint colors
PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2018 1:41 am 
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Tim,

O.K. Let me try to put together a chart that details the engines with red squares for applications with a photo from one of the books. I will include a bibliography of the books on the chart.

I have placed this information on the FAQs subject for those interested.

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