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Re: gray blue (blue gray) 216/235 engine paint color
tclederman #1085355 Fri Feb 13 2015 08:08 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 50
Wrench Fetcher

I have posted on here several times that I have seen original paint on these engines/valve covers/ what-have-you that looks very close to the "Pontiac Blue" color by Plasti-Kote. That to me is best characterized as a light blue rather than a gray, but someone in the 50's may have regarded it as being between blue and gray and thence the name.

My vote would be for the lightest (E8FFF) represented on that page, but it is considerably more saturated than that paint chip shown. Of course that chip is a portrayal of colors for HTML text and not really analogous to automotive paint, but it gives an idea.

There is a very good pic someone posted a while back that shows the darker gray too. It is an "exhaust gray" or "dark mud gray" and I have some traces of that on a early '53 splash oiler 235 I have. It IS even darker than the Filling Station paint, with really NO bluish cast, and it in fact has a very flat, matte finish with no glossiness at all.

I have seen just a few Chevy sixes but I have never, EVER seen an "original" one with Gloss Medium Machine Gray or "Ford Gray" like 99.99999% of the guys use!

Re: gray blue (blue gray) 216/235 engine paint color
52Carl #1085379 Fri Feb 13 2015 03:19 PM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,426
Shop Shark
One of the problems of comparing or choosing colors on a computer/tablet is that all screens show different colors. add to that digital cameras that aren't all the same.
Seriously, have seen the same part green on the LED monitor, blue on the CRT and blue/gray on the smart phone.

Re: gray blue (blue gray) 216/235 engine paint color
tclederman #1085380 Fri Feb 13 2015 03:28 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 129
Shop Shark
There is a 1950 Chevy discussed and shown around the internet that is claimed to be all original and with only 437 miles. Here is a picture of the engine and color:

For more pictures and story, google: 1950 Chevy with 437 miles.


Re: gray blue (blue gray) 216/235 engine paint color
RdsLessTaken #1085427 Fri Feb 13 2015 07:54 PM
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 1,373
Shop Shark
This truck on EBay appears to have some original stenciling/paint on the valve cover. Hard to ascertain much from the pic, but would be awesome to see in person. I want that truck, BTW.

Couple questions:
1) Tim, why do you believe the later 235s were lighter gray? Not doubting you, just curious what you know.

2) I often wonder if the gray even changed within a model year across plants. If the spec was just "gray," maybe GM was sourcing paint from the lowest bidder...year to year? I doubt those that made those decisions were thinking about nerds like us (read: me) 60 years later who can emotionally invest in such minutae.

Re: gray blue (blue gray) 216/235 engine paint color
tclederman #1085429 Fri Feb 13 2015 08:03 PM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,618
Shop Shark
I remember years ago working on a 57 chev belair restoration. Owner wanted 100% original. The paint was going to be done in tropical turquois. It was originally that color. The paint color on the car was 5 different shades of TT depending where you got it, ie trunk firewall fender hood etc. Talked to a really good friend that has been restoring chevs for a long time and he said across all assembly plants I believe 12 or 13 of them the only thing the same was the name of the color. It varied from batch to batch assembly place to assembly place. Take it for what it is worth. We quickly got over the headache of finding the correct TT, a fruitless task.

1953 Chevrolet 3100
261 cu inch, sm420, 3.55 rear, torque tube still,omaha orange, still 6 volt, RPO green glass, side carrier spare, all done
1964 GMC 1000
305 Big Block V6, sm420, the next cab off restoration
Re: gray blue (blue gray) 216/235 engine paint color
tclederman #1085475 Sat Feb 14 2015 02:09 AM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 4,933
Shop Shark
I am unsure the underlying question Tim is asking.
I am sure he knows of the variations of gray that was used from day to day.
I have several NOS parts with original gray and have seen many more and none are exactly the same.
The Filling Station gray is close and taken from an average of NOS parts.

See the USA in your vintage Chevrolet!
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Re: gray blue (blue gray) 216/235 engine paint color
tclederman #1085476 Sat Feb 14 2015 02:37 AM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 29,843
ace skiver

I think that at least some high pressure 235s were a lightish gray because the 1954 engines (the first high-pressure truck engines) that I have seen have been painted gray (a relatively light gray with no apparent blue).

Also, I think that GM might have stated blue-gray or bluish-gray if that had been the color; but, in the 1954 Technical Specifications manual, Chevrolet/GM states "the new engine is painted gray". Who knows what shade of gray they were referring to (as we know know, there are at least 50 shades of grey/gray)? I know that I do not know the shade of gray.

Also, the engine-colors article written by the VCCA member (link is in a post above) refers to blue-gray until 1954. From 1954 and after, the 235 engine color was described as gray (or green - go figure). I think that author noticed a change in color in 1954?

It looks like a color change occurred in 1954 (perhaps related to the change from low-pressure to high-pressure oil system).

I also think that there was not an exact color/hue/darkness for earlier blue-gray or later gray - it depended on whatever shade of gray or blue-gray could be mixed when an engine had to be painted in the factory or on the assembly line.

Regarding the Filling Station color being the same as found on NOS parts: what years? Jim Carter and Bill Hirsch state their colors come from NOS parts and/or "unmolested" engines.

We/I will never know, but I am interested here is seeing opinions on the darker blue-gray.

Tim []
1954 3106 Carryall Suburban [] - part of the family for 49 years
1954 3104 5-window pickup w/Hydra-Matic [] - part of the family for 15 years
Z-series (54/55) GMC 350 (2-ton) COE [] - now part of Dave's family
- If you have to stomp on your foot-pedal starter, either you, or your starter, or your engine, has a problem.
- The 216 and early 235 engine are not "splash oilers" - this is a splash oiler. []
Re: gray blue (blue gray) 216/235 engine paint color
tclederman #1085509 Sat Feb 14 2015 04:32 AM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 15,079
...sometimes I think we see what we want to see. Really. I've been to Jim Carters several times and each time I look at the NOS engine, still in the crate, sitting in his front room, it seems to change colors....which time, light (sunshine or "bulb" light) can change shades and I agree with who said we'd probably never know the real formula.

my opinion...
I've spent 37 years in printing/finishing/dyeing and I don't think I ever saw a "perfect" or "identical" match to the original color standard. I saw some close, but not dead on. We could make "adds" all day long and not hit the target as a dead match. Even using the sophisticated spectro's.
..and as someone suggested, the color may have had a lot to do with who had the lowest my profession we OFTEN switched the raw color manufacturer to use a different product that may have even been more costly but supposedly better. That of course, meant we had to "reformulate" the colors!!

...but I like many of you, want the REAL DEAL which we know we will never get. But we keep hoping and where there is hope....the is hope. Oh, by the way. I still like the blue/gray!!

And thanks to all of you who contribute to make this such a nice site.

1937 Chevy Pickup
1952 Chevy Panel
Pictures in my Photobucket
1950 Chevy Coupe

52 Chevy Panel

I'd rather walk and carry a Chevy hub cap than ride in a Ferd.
I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you smile
Re: gray blue (blue gray) 216/235 engine paint color
stoveboltgator #1085521 Sat Feb 14 2015 05:06 AM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,254
Shop Shark
Originally Posted by stoveboltgator
...I have never, EVER seen an "original" one with Gloss Medium Machine Gray or "Ford Gray" like 99.99999% of the guys use!

You make a good point, but years & years of dirt, oil, & grease might have darkened those "original" engines up just a tad. The only original one I've ever seen was what I'd call "Battleship Gray"...

The OP is going to have one heck of a researched & documented webpage background color! (just a reminder for why this is getting discussed again)


Edit- And...don't read my post wrong--I like the discussion!

Last edited by ClaudeTheTruck; Sat Feb 14 2015 05:08 AM.

Wrench Fetcher, PhD
Re: gray blue (blue gray) 216/235 engine paint color
tclederman #1085530 Sat Feb 14 2015 07:17 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 50
Wrench Fetcher
The picture of the engine with 400 original miles on it DOES appear to be a medium grey color, I note too that it is the same matte finish as the dark grey I have seen and the "blue-grey" that we seem to have kind of figured out.

Maybe this IS an exercise in finding a standard which simply is NOT a standard at all.

I really want to follow the pattern of what I have seen personally. I am thinking I will do my '55 235 in dark grey and my eventual 261 dressed as a 216 in the bluegrey color LOL. And I will use a dullcoat over the paint too!

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