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RigPig Offline
#1 Posted : Monday, 30 October 2017 12:08:57 AM(UTC)
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The question was asked on another forum a few days ago and 'X2 Engine Red' was a quick reply.
Another guy was absolutely certain his Acacia Ridge Type-2 327 had Rocket Red, his words were "never been touched and its 100% hk rocket red"

I guess some GMH plants re-painted or at least touched-up the engines along with the gearboxes as an assembly while other plants didnt.
I have a photo from Elizabeth showing a 307 with Saginaw all freshly painted as an assembly, that was probably what we call X2.

My Dandenong engine has only one layer of paint on it and that would have been applied at McKinnon Industries in Canada, its not Rocket red so my money is on Chevy Orange.
I'll get it colour matched anyway but I'd like to put a name to it one of these days.
Chevy Orange and X2 might be the same thing, I'll be able to confirm that soon.

Whats the chances of McKinnon painting 0.01% of their total engine production with a special colour mix just for GMH?
That does seem like a pointless thing to do.

Wayne
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HK1837 Offline
#2 Posted : Monday, 30 October 2017 5:37:23 AM(UTC)
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X2 engine red, same as 186S. All SBC design engines used in Holden and Statesman were this colour until the last lot in HQ. Remember McKinnon made the 307 engines for GMH and all HQ 350 engines plus the last HG 350 manual engines which included all the Chevrolet SS engines.
McKinnon engine output was by no means all Chevy orange. They made SBC design engines for Pontiac, Studebaker, Ramsay Marine to name a few.

Edited by user Monday, 30 October 2017 5:38:44 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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RigPig Offline
#3 Posted : Tuesday, 31 October 2017 12:01:19 AM(UTC)
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Canadian Pontiac engines were painted Chevy Engine Orange and Studebaker didnt exist after 1967.
In 1968 McKinnons built 2400 engines/day, 307 and 327 and I wouldnt mind betting they were all done with the same paint.
"I would never want to be a member of a group whose symbol was a guy nailed to two pieces of wood" (George Carlin)
HK1837 Offline
#4 Posted : Tuesday, 31 October 2017 5:35:49 AM(UTC)
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Paint Chevy orange and put next to an engine in X2. It should be obvious then that they are not the same.
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#5 Posted : Tuesday, 31 October 2017 9:45:17 AM(UTC)
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The Engineering spec calls out X2 Engine Red for Chevrolet sourced engines, there is little or no doubt of that. What actually happened in the plants is a different matter.
It appears that Dandenong, for example, left gearboxes raw, while Pagewood painted them. I've seen a Pagewood HG350 where the engine colour is distinctly red, and the gearbox is painted in the standard 186 colour.
Since we know there were plenty of cars that were left waiting for engines to arrive from the US it wouldn't be all that surprising if some engines were not repainted before installing in the cars. I would think your car, Wayne, would be a likely candidate since it sits in between the 1st and 2nd type transition.

Trying to draw conclusions from a surviving predominately red colour, which is the worst colour for fading, that is 50 years old and has been through thousands of heat cycles is difficult but it wouldn't surprise me if X2 engine red fades to colour not unlike fresh Chevrolet orange. Its hard to say how different they were since the formulations I've seen for each are based on tinter quantites and not visible spectral components.

The engine enamels, pre 1971, were mostly sourced from BALM paints, and were just about the highest lead content of all the paints used. This isn't surprising, since BALM is an acronym for British-Australian Lead Manufacturers. A new formulation for Rocket Red was issued by Dulux in 1971, after it acquired BALM, and I
believe some other colours were effected too. Presumably this was done to accommodate the Dulux tinters. This may explain the change late in HG, and in HQ.
When you investigate some, if not all of the formulations around now it always comes back to the fact that they have been eye matched from a supposedly correct sample. Even Dulux admits to this.
I believe the high lead content paints have suffered the most in terms of colour accuracy with the transition to lead free tinters.

It would be great if someone, somewhere, had a surviving tin of Balm full lead X2 Engine Red so it could be properly measured and matched. Until that happy day I think anything we do is an approximation, and only for a particular point in the age of the paint, which fades with time.


HK1837 Offline
#6 Posted : Tuesday, 31 October 2017 10:29:51 AM(UTC)
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The engines (and attached bellhousings for manuals) were painted in Canada Geoff (other than the few thousand Tonawanda engines), and they would have be painted to a formula. I guess it is entirely possible that when the engines turned up and the assembly plant attached a locally painted Saginaw transmission to it that the colours looked different due to tinter variation. When did the US start to limit lead in paint? They went to full AIR carby spec across all States in 1968 (we got it in 9/73) and they went to ULP in 1972 (which we got on 1987).
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KBM Offline
#7 Posted : Tuesday, 31 October 2017 6:49:06 PM(UTC)
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Either chev orange or holden red does depend on make and batch of paint bought. Many times I've painted manifolds separately from the block and sump, using cans all bought together, only to find when assembled they all look different. Once I painted a 253 for my LS Monaro project only to be ridiculed about the "pink" engine which was painted from a "holden red" can. It only turned pinkish after the engine was brought up to temp a couple of times which was well and truly to late!
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#8 Posted : Wednesday, 1 November 2017 1:12:23 AM(UTC)
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Hasnt faded a lot still has some shine to it.
Theres no paint under this its only one layer of paint.


"I would never want to be a member of a group whose symbol was a guy nailed to two pieces of wood" (George Carlin)
HK1837 Offline
#9 Posted : Wednesday, 1 November 2017 11:12:52 AM(UTC)
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Hard to tell in images as you have the affect of a non-calibrated camera and a non calibrated monitor plus image compression by less than perfect software. But it does look slightly pinker or redder than the very original GMH Impala I saw the other day, however it is more than likely in the image rather than in reality. Do you know Frank (we-wreck)? He has a pair of Tonawanda GTS327 heads of mine in storage at the moment for me, you could compare those to your engine.

On the engine paint issue, I believe that the highest performance engines were painted Rocket Red and the rest were Holden engine Red for HD-HR. So:

HD-HR 161 and 186 were Engine Red.
HD-HR X2 and 186S were Rocket Red.

When HK arrived the new HK Rocket Red (I think this is the term used) was painted on all 6cyl engines including 186S, and continued to be used on all engines other than the higher performance engines until the end of HZ and VB. The original Rocket Red was renamed X2 Engine Red and was used on HK 5litre/307 as it was the highest performance engine in a Holden and also used on the 327 in '68 Impala and '68 Parisienne. Once the GTS327 engines became the highest performance they were also X2 engine red, and in theory the 307 should have become the HK Rocket Red but they were all built before Monaro release so I guess that quandary never arose.

For HT, HG, HQ the 350 was always the highest performance engine so it too was painted X2 engine red although this changed for the last of HQ 350 auto only engines (but don't yet know the logical reason).
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RigPig Offline
#10 Posted : Sunday, 5 November 2017 8:38:37 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: gm5735 Go to Quoted Post

It would be great if someone, somewhere, had a surviving tin of Balm full lead X2 Engine Red so it could be properly measured and matched. Until that happy day I think anything we do is an approximation, and only for a particular point in the age of the paint, which fades with time.


A mate has the old Dulux Color Advisory folders from the 60's and 70's.
These samples were painted with the real paint from back in the day and are usually accurate.

I reckon it'll be close to X2 and if it does match I'll go with my theory that X2 is actually the Chevy engine paint from the 1960's.
Just a theory.


Found this info on one forum:
The 1960-70's Chevy engine paint was listed as "Red Engine Enamel in the original GM specification drawings, it was never called Chevy orange by GM" (QUOTE - GM Tonawanda historian Art Casper)

Around 1975-6 chevy engines were painted blue, probably lead free.

Different paints for different plants?
The original enamel used by the Tonawanda engine plant was manufactured by Pratt & Lambert, just down the road from the Tonawanda plant.
McKinnon Industries in St.Catharines Ontatio Canada is a 40 minute drive from GM Tonawanda in New York state.
Both plants more than likely used the same engine enamel, other plants may have used something different.

Edited by user Monday, 6 November 2017 12:06:13 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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HK1837 Offline
#11 Posted : Monday, 6 November 2017 5:59:17 AM(UTC)
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HD-HR X2 and 186S is the same colour as the 307-350 engines, and it is different to what was on the McKinnon produced 283 and 327 prior to 1968 which was afaik the US colour. GMH painted those HD-HR engines a different colour so not sure why Tonawanda and McKinnon couldn't. In fact it'd be more an issue for Tonawanda as they built maybe 4000 engines only for GMH spread across HK-HT and Impala/Parisienne, whereas McKinnon/St Catharine's would have built around 25000-30000 307 alone just for HK-HT.

I'm pretty sure I have both US sourced 290 heads and originals as fitted to GTS327 with original paint, I'll try and dig some out and look at them side by side. I have old 283 and pre HK 327 engines and heads too, from memory they are a different colour. Will try and check those out as well.

I think it was 1976 they changed to blue.
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KBM Offline
#12 Posted : Monday, 6 November 2017 6:02:43 AM(UTC)
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I'd agree on X2. Thanks RipPig for the photo of the colour chart, I now know the correct paint for the floor and wear strips in the back of my van. I wasn't sure if the wear strips were actually painted as none of the ones I've got have any paint left on them.
castellan Offline
#13 Posted : Monday, 6 November 2017 8:22:26 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: RigPig Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: gm5735 Go to Quoted Post

It would be great if someone, somewhere, had a surviving tin of Balm full lead X2 Engine Red so it could be properly measured and matched. Until that happy day I think anything we do is an approximation, and only for a particular point in the age of the paint, which fades with time.


A mate has the old Dulux Color Advisory folders from the 60's and 70's.
These samples were painted with the real paint from back in the day and are usually accurate.

I reckon it'll be close to X2 and if it does match I'll go with my theory that X2 is actually the Chevy engine paint from the 1960's.
Just a theory.


Found this info on one forum:
The 1960-70's Chevy engine paint was listed as "Red Engine Enamel in the original GM specification drawings, it was never called Chevy orange by GM" (QUOTE - GM Tonawanda historian Art Casper)

Around 1975-6 chevy engines were painted blue, probably lead free.

Different paints for different plants?
The original enamel used by the Tonawanda engine plant was manufactured by Pratt & Lambert, just down the road from the Tonawanda plant.
McKinnon Industries in St.Catharines Ontatio Canada is a 40 minute drive from GM Tonawanda in New York state.
Both plants more than likely used the same engine enamel, other plants may have used something different.


It should say from EH to HR low gloss 6266 (1583)
X2 HD-R and HK-T-G 186S 8926 high gloss
And HK Rocket Red 10890 high gloss
HQ red is different to HK Rocket Red as it's got a pink shade to them and the HJ has a clear coat over it that peels off the top of the paint.

Maybe it's 1971 that the lead in the red paint is got rid of.

I had my HR and my brothers HQ my sisters HK and my mums HJ all side by side with the bonnets up in 1978 and pointed this out as a fact.
The HJ was peeling it's clear coat at 3 years old and I seen the same with many others doing this but never on a HQ or earlier, HJ on yes and even the blue motors did it, don't remember the black peeling.
RigPig Offline
#14 Posted : Tuesday, 14 November 2017 8:15:34 PM(UTC)
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I finally got a chance to sit my bellhousing next to the original Dulon X2 paint sample and its what I would call a perfect match.
So there it is, X2 painted in Canada . . or is it Chevy Orange Think



Herers a couple of comparisons.
Sebring Orange was slightly darker and dirtier than X2 and looked a whole lot like HK Rocket Red

The 1968 Turnpike Orange 12692 was very close to X2 but strangely the 1974 Tangerine 12692 (suposedly the exaxt same paint 6-years later) had a lot more red than X2.
Something changed there.

Edited by user Tuesday, 14 November 2017 8:21:07 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

"I would never want to be a member of a group whose symbol was a guy nailed to two pieces of wood" (George Carlin)
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