Years when colors were used | Aliases & misnomers | Paint codes | Follow up
Everyone who attempts a restoration at some point wrestles with paint colors. In my case, I wanted to paint my car
a color that was of the period, but not the same color as what it was when I acquired it. That color may or may not
have been original in any case, since the car had been repainted. The job becomes, first, finding what colors were
available at manufacture and, second, discovering what currently available paints match the color you want. With a couple
of exceptions, the first task is fairly easy. The second is a little more difficult.
There are, of course, people who not only want a "true" color, but close-to-original paint chemistry. They want cellulose paint,
for example, even though the modern paint technologies offer more durability and are easier to apply. I don't have much
to offer those people.
I've put together data from various sources to establish the range of years when certain names of paints (as opposed to their
colors) were used. I make the distinction between names and colors because the same name may
serve for subtly different colors over a period of time, or the same color might bear a different name in different years.
"British Racing Green" probably looked a little different in 1962 from what it did in 1973 maybe. "Imperial Maroon"
and "Claret" may have looked the same in their respective years. As of June 2004, sources for the year ranges are
(I have yet to incorporate two other sources into the database, namely, Philip Porter and Mark Hicks. The trouble I've run into
with sources is that they tend to cross-reference each other, thus amplifying any errors. We need a more authoritative source. See "Follow Up"
I found that there was much agreement among sources, but also some interesting differences. Most of the differences probably arise
from cut-offs that the sources used; some may use model year while others might use year of manufacture. The interesting
differences come up with a handful of colors, and they may be matters of confusion. These interesting colors are
I would add "Imperial Maroon" to the list, but I do not have enough information on it.
- Old English White
- British Racing Green
- Dark Blue
Here's my take on these colors: "British Racing Green" is interesting because a couple of sources (with perhaps one of those relying
on the other) say that BRG was unavailable for a couple of years midway in the run of the E-type (1965/66 - 1967/68). This itself is interesting, since
BRG seems to me a rock-solid baseline color to expect from a British sports car manufacturer. "Old English White" and "Cream" are
on the list because they are easily confused. I have heard of one person who had to have his car repainted because a paint
shop confused the two. I happen to think that the names and the colors are different, with "Cream" running from the Series 1
through the Series 2 and "Old English White" running (perhaps) through the last few years of E-type production. "Dark Blue" may have been
an option beginning with the year that "Opalescent Dark Blue" was phased out (probably 1964).
Because sources differ,
I decided to use a consensus approach to the issue.
Years when color was used: consensus approach
The table below lists years when sources claim paints were used for the E-type in a "consensus" fashion. This
is much like a sum of the information provided from the sources. Black and grey colors indicate depth of consensus, with lighter shades
of grey indicating fewer sources agreeing and dark grey or black indicating more consensus among them. Of course, combined misinformation
is still misinformation, but the consensus provides some glimpse of probability of truth, whereas just taking
a single source's word doesn't have that informational depth. (Individual paint color pages, available from the links on the left, show
what individual sources have to say on the range of years.)
I've arranged the color names more or less chronologically, with the later names appearing lower on the list. (By the way, colors shown on the links are
not even approximate they are grossly estimated within the limited palette allowed in web browsers!)
Absent on this list are "Imperial Maroon," "Opalescent Silver Grey," "Silver," and "Sherwood Green" and perhaps others I don't know about. Those colors are confusing to me
and sometimes data is not easily available. Also, I was a bit confused by the absence of "Black" in 1974. I have read that the last car to come off the
Jaguar E-type line was black, in September 1974. (See Nigel Thorley, Jaguar
E-Type: A Celebration of the World's Favourite '60s Icon.
Haynes' Great Cars. [Somerset: Haynes Publishing, 2001], 144.)
Aliases and misnomers
Some colors are known under different names, I believe. When I was confident that a color was named that was generally known under a different name
I indicated that in the record. This might clarify some of the confusion, but in general the "aliases and misnomers" are apparent. (I know that
two authorities vociferously defend their spellings of a certain important, very red color.)
Paint codes were gleaned from many sources, none of which will vouch for their accuracy, I am sure. These codes certainly will provide you
some basic information about what paint code may have been used by a paint manufacturer at some time. Unfortunately, you will probably find that the paint
codes provided here (with few exceptions) are no longer valid, though paint shops might be able to map the old codes to valid current codes. Much of the information
I found was hopelessly outdated, but in my case even outdated information provided enough for paint shops to work with. My paint story involved
using Dupont and PPG paint codes to corroborate the choice of code I could have used either Dupont or PPG paints.
Whenever it was possible, I have supplied a year when the code was valid or recorded. Sources for paint codes were the same as for the years (except for Haddock), with the addition
of codes gleaned from the Jag Lover's E-type forum (http://forums.jag-lovers.org) and from
AutoColorLibrary.com. Manufacturers cover the gamut: PPG, Dupont, RM, ICI, Ditzler (PPG),
Do not assume that colors will be the same between manufacturers. Subtle differences in shade may exist, and more obvious differences will
be apparent in the so-called "metallic" or "opalescent" paints. These might have quite visible differences in the size and density of "flake." In the
end, you'll choose a color because you like it and, if you are so inclined, because you deem it "authentic enough" for your purposes. A good way to do this
is to buy a pint of the color finalists, and spray them to see how they really look.
Let me be blunt: You are a fool if you simply order any paint based solely on any of the paint codes listed on a paint information page here or
anywhere else on the Internet. Use some method of corroborating or otherwise checking the color.
Clarifying color names in the years. The differences between some sources are probably
worth following up by people who are more meticulous than me and who might have more complete resources. I think that
a group with access to records of manufacture or even a subset of them (like XKEdata.com)
might be able to clarify more definitively what names of colors were available in what years. I think that the confusion among sources comes from
people taking examples of colors on cars and assigning a name to the color. You mix up a color name, and instantly you might introduce a new
color to the palette for a year of manufacture. Determining year ranges of color names as they appear on "heritage certificates" would probably
define the color names. (Might be fairly easy to do with "heritage" data reported to XKEdata?)
Adding to the paint codes. Paint codes are a moving target. Getting new ones for
the color names would be a good thing, so that people can begin searches with current information. Email me a paint code and a short description
of how you landed on it, and I'll add the code to the data base.
Verifying to the paint codes. I was thankful that Dupont offered to pull
old chips from their archives and check out a current color against it. The paint shop made the call to Dupont and discussed the differences between
the old and new chips. The difference according to them was flake size, with the current paint having a little larger flake. Obtaining archival
information from Jaguar or from the manufacturers of Jaguar paints over the years of manufacture would be especially valuable. I'm not interested
in doing this at this point, since I feel I now know more about paints than I intended to learn in the first place!
Please send comments, updates, and corrections to mdelong [at] nc.rr.com.