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munriman Offline
#1 Posted : Sunday, 21 November 2021 7:29:10 AM(UTC)
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I know this has been discussed before but I feel there still needs to be a few points clarified. There has been much discussion about Holden V8 Chevrolet motor colour and the colour of contention has been what is known as the X2 colour code, or "Holden X2 Engine Red". Now I dont know how many other Holden engines were painted in this colour (it would be interesting to know) but the discussion here only revolves around Type1 and Type2 327. However, as an example there is currently a HQ 350 Coupe on Aust Musclecar Sales with a distinctive red engine, this is what many people I think mistake as Holden X2 Engine Red. I for one dont know the Holden X2 Engine Red colour as it is not listed with a reputable paint shop of any kind, and the 24% lead content would make it impossible to mix.

From my understanding based on previous discussions on this forum Holden X2 Engine Red is very similar to Chevrolet Orange "please correct me if I am wrong". The difference apparently is that Holden X2 Engine Red is slightly more red than the Chevrolet Orange. If this is the case what is the colour on the HQ 350 Coupe called, and I have seen some HK 327 engines painted in this colour, is this simply called Holden Red? I think its important that we distinguish these colours, is it also possible that some HK 327 engines were painted different colours at different plants?

On this point, I understand that all the Type1 and Type2 327 engines were painted in the US and not Australia, so did the Americans have Holden X2 Engine Red in stock, and considering the engines came from different plants (Tonawanda and McKinnon) were they all painted the same colour? Additionally were the gearboxes and bellhousing painted in the US with the engine. In other words were Type1 and Type2 327 engines assembled as a package, engine/gearbox/bellhousing and then shipped to Australia, or were the engines painted in the US shipped to Australia and then the bellhousings and geaboxes bolted on at an Australian plant and then colour matched to the engines? (this one needs another thread)

Now considering these cars are over 50 years old and considering red is one of the most unstable colours for keeping its tint, it is all but impossible to get an exact colour match, yes we can get it off the back of the bellhousing, clutch cover ect, but all these areas are exposed to fumes, dirt, oil, grime and heat so I doubt the colour match would be exact.

My question here is, is it really possible to distinguish between Holden X2 Engine Red (whatever that is) and Chevrolet Orange?

I have an original Type1 327 Engine that came out of a Pagewood assembled GTS 327 that I know has never been disassembled. I have polished the existing bellhousing at the cleanest position and painted a Chevrolet Orange engine enamel little square sample at the centre as seen in the attachments below



I doubt that anyone could pick the difference between the colours. See below another view



Also below is the Duplicolor paint I used



The final picture below is interesting. It seems the entire Engine/Gearbox and bellhousing are all painted the same colour and also that all the bolts are painted. Considering this engine has never been disassembled it seems it was painted as one. Now I have not split the gearbox or bellhousing which I will do in the coming months to investigate if there is any paint between the surfaces which will determine if any of these parts were painted separately or all together as one unit, but from the consistency of the colour throughout it seems it was all painted as one unit.



This than leads to one of three conclusions from my perspective.

1- The engine/Gearbox and bellhousing were all painted in the US and shipped to Australia as one unit
2- The engines and or bellhousings were painted in the US and then the gearbox and or bellhousings were assembled in Australia and painted to match the engine
3- The entire engine/geabox and bellhousings were painted in Australia

I am sure as always there are probably variations between plants and that there was always a possibility for an exchange to be made, for instance one of the geaboxes had to be swapped out for some reason or another at the plant that is why possibly some gearboxes and or bellhousings were not painted, but having an original untouched engine will at least answer some questions.
HK1837 Offline
#2 Posted : Sunday, 21 November 2021 11:06:23 AM(UTC)
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As far as I am aware, and I'm 99.9% sure this is correct. This is regardless of which Engine Assembly plant we are talking about, be it Fisherman's Bend, Tonawanda, St Catharine's (McKinnon), Flint, Flint V8 or others. The engines are built as either a manual or auto engine. Auto have a flex plate fitted prior to running (on gas, as in LPG or natural gas not the stupid US term for petrol!) and painting or a flywheel, clutch and bellhousing prior to running and painting. This is why all HQ manual 350 engines bar a few are mid 1971 year model engines, and why they ran out way before the end of HQ (GMH diverted about 50 to put is GTS sedan and is why GTS350 manual finished so early). It is also why only automatic 307 were remaining at the end of HK as the HK's cancelled from teh schedule either as they weren't selling or to fit extra GTS327 into production were mostly V8 Monaro or Brougham, all of which would be automatic.

Late HQ 350 (from memory those with ADR27 gear fitted (from about 8/73)) were painted in HK Holden engine red - don't know why the change occurred. These were all auto of course and will be mostly the 1974 year model engines.

Here are some photos from US engine assembly and also vehicle assembly. The first photos are from 1959 but nothing really changed. The later one is earlier 60's. You can see the bellhousings painted with the engine and the boxes nude. GMH painted the manual imported cast iron boxes once they were fitted, however I have found them raw in 253 applications.





Also here are a couple of snaps of the 308 in my Premier that I took when the TH400 was out to replace a couple of welch plugs. You can see that the flex plate is on when painted, the back of the sump missed some paint and the part of the flex plate that was exposed at the bottom is all Holden engine red, but hard to see in the photos - you can see the overspray on the back though, the other side is all bright Holden engine red across a portion. All GM engine plants were like this. The heads are not original paint, they were taken off to replace head gaskets and someone painted them unfortunately.


Edited by user Sunday, 21 November 2021 11:23:17 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Smitty2 Offline
#3 Posted : Sunday, 21 November 2021 5:13:11 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: munriman Go to Quoted Post
.................
My question here is, is it really possible to distinguish between Holden X2 Engine Red (whatever that is) and Chevrolet Orange?


my first car was a HD X2 manual sedan .. and a few later, I had a HT GTS 350 Manual
and
my recollection (these were just more than a few years ago) on engine paint colours is
... X2 Red was nothing like the 350's Chev Orange

the red was... def red, bright red and the orange, was well... the colour of an orange

and I have no idea about re-finishing these engines and try to match colours

Edited by user Sunday, 21 November 2021 5:13:51 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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HK1837 Offline
#4 Posted : Sunday, 21 November 2021 7:22:02 PM(UTC)
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I haven’t seen enough to date it as fact. However from what I understand GMH painted the performance engine X2 red. So HD-HR X2, 186S. Then ordered the 307’s and later 327 and 350 in that colour. From HK onwards they used the new Holden engine red on other engines, just not sure about HK-HG 186S.
You can see the more orange colour on the front of the HK SP book 75 as per here:
https://www.ebay.com.au/...i9_YKLNdFi8aAhZNEALw_wcB

From memory the HD-HR 186K engines were a very similar colour.

One thing that might be worth doing is trying to track down an original paint formula for Chevy Orange, and compare to the X2 formula.
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Dr Terry Offline
#5 Posted : Sunday, 21 November 2021 7:47:19 PM(UTC)
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Colours are a very subjective, but from my memory the HD/HR X2 engine red was very err RED. Holden called it "Rocket Red". The other engines (EH/HD/HR 149, 161, 179 & 186) were painted a darker colour later called Holden Special Red.

Then GM-H confused everybody by calling the HK onwards red "HK Rocket Red" it was far more orange than the older 2 reds. In fact to my eye, many Chev SBCs I've seen don't look much different to the HK Rocket red.

Sorry I can't add anything to the discussion regarding the V8s.

Dr Terry
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Smitty2 Offline
#6 Posted : Sunday, 21 November 2021 8:36:43 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Dr Terry Go to Quoted Post
Colours are a very subjective, but from my memory the HD/HR X2 engine red was very err RED. Holden called it "Rocket Red". The other engines (EH/HD/HR 149, 161, 179 & 186) were painted a darker colour later called Holden Special Red.

Then GM-H confused everybody by calling the HK onwards red "HK Rocket Red" it was far more orange than the older 2 reds. In fact to my eye, many Chev SBCs I've seen don't look much different to the HK Rocket red.

Sorry I can't add anything to the discussion regarding the V8s.

Dr Terry



VERY red.. indeed!. Pinched this from another site (as shown)



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munriman Offline
#7 Posted : Sunday, 21 November 2021 10:20:33 PM(UTC)
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Going back to HK GTS 327, if the engines were painted in the US does anybody know what colour they using in the US during the periods preceding
and during 1968 to paint Chevrolet Small Block engines?

Is it possible that at some Australian plants the 327 engines were painted a different colour to what was imported? I am only saying this because I have seen two different colour engines in Hk GTS 327, one looks orange and the other much more red like a 179 Red Motor. It seems to me that some restorers may be colour matching their original engine blocks right or wrong, or misinterpreting what information is out there.

A classic example is the following ebay advert


https://www.ebay.com.au/...64f24:g:M8AAAOSwvcBcylbf


This advertisement is for "NEW CORRECT HOLDEN ENGINE PAINT TO HD X2 HR X2 HR 186S 179 X2 186 X2 MOTOSPRAY", if we look at X2 Engine examples on the internet and that as posted by Smitty, the paint being sold as correct X2 Engine Red is nothing like the colour examples of X2 Engines depicted.



HK1837 Offline
#8 Posted : Monday, 22 November 2021 7:21:47 AM(UTC)
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munriman Offline
#9 Posted : Monday, 22 November 2021 8:36:16 AM(UTC)
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What a great thread,

https://fastlane.com.au/...50-engines-for-GMH.aspx

this thread exposes the level of conjecture, confusion or lack of information on this particular subject, I suppose that is synonymous with much of the Holden's information in particular to do with this model (HK GTS 327) as it was something of a revolution for Holden.

Another thread on this forum was arguing what some participants were saying was right or wrong about the engine colour of a GTS 327, in particular a specific car that had a Chevrolet Orange Engine. I suppose as restorers of these machines it is important to have some common ground on what would be considered right or wrong, especially since arguably the greatest minds on the subject are participating on this forum.

The following seems to have some merit

1- Nobody really knows the exact colour of X2 Holden Engine Red
2- There seems to be agreement that is was close to a colour termed as Chevrolet Orange
3- It is stated that some Holden plants may have painted engines and or components another Holden engine Red (thus the differing colours on some GTS 327's that have been concourse restored)
4- 327 engines destined for Australia (including other Chevrolet Engines) were all painted in the US prior to dispatch to Australia, there is some possibility that some may have been sent raw during the transition of Type1 and Type2

So in the risk of sticking my neck out here, I would say that in cases where there is no reference to the original paint drivetrain when restoring a HK GTS 327 it would be absolutely correct to paint the components Chevrolet Orange for a concourse restored car with no possibility of points losses at the Monaro Nationals?


HK1837 Offline
#10 Posted : Monday, 22 November 2021 9:53:26 AM(UTC)
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I doubt very much that GMH painted any imported engines. They would have all been painted at the engine assembly plant, be that Tonawanda, McKinnon/St Catharine’s, Flint (Chevy Trucks and older stuff like Blue Flames) or even Mexico. McKinnon were totally up to speed in supplying engines for GMH by the time they did the few 327’s and the final manual HG and later HQ 350 engines, as they had supplied tens of 1000’s of 307’s already. Tonawanda had also supplied a large amount of auto 327 engines for 1968 Impala and Parisienne before they supplied a single HK engine.
The engines to be wary of in colour will be the initial lot of manual HT 350 engines. HT GTS350 was delayed in release as the manual engines were salt water damaged. GMH had Repco/Redco rebuild them all for them, and who know when and where they were painted and in what paint. The original Tonawanda engines were painted in paint supplied by Pratt & Lambert according to Corvette historians (the plant was very close to Tonawanda engine). Even with Chevy Orange (not it’s original name, it appears to have original been called Chevrolet Red) there is a lot of discussions online as to what is the correct colour, many say the later stuff looks more orange than the original red.
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Dr Terry Offline
#11 Posted : Monday, 22 November 2021 11:23:59 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: munriman Go to Quoted Post

3- It is stated that some Holden plants may have painted engines and or components another Holden engine Red (thus the differing colours on some GTS 327's that have been concourse restored)


I doubt that Holden painted engine anywhere else but the Fisherman's Bend Engine plant. AFAIK all Aust engines were built, painted & tested as complete assemblies & then shipped to the various assembly plants around the country.

I'm with HK1837, in that most, if not all imported engines came in already painted.

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Dr Terry Offline
#12 Posted : Monday, 22 November 2021 12:00:01 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: HK1837 Go to Quoted Post
Even with Chevy Orange (not it’s original name, it appears to have original been called Chevrolet Red) there is a lot of discussions online as to what is the correct colour, many say the later stuff looks more orange than the original red.


To throw a spanner in the works, I remember from working on early Chevs (1955-1960) that those older 265 & 283 SBCs were more RED than the later 60s Chevy Orange ones.

Over the years when we painted SBCs for our racecar, we found that the VHT branded paint varied from batch to batch, probably more to do with the lead content being reduced over time. In the end we painted them black, originality was of no concern for those engines.

Dr Terry
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Smitty2 on 22/11/2021(UTC)
Smitty2 Offline
#13 Posted : Monday, 22 November 2021 12:54:38 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Dr Terry Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: munriman Go to Quoted Post

3- It is stated that some Holden plants may have painted engines and or components another Holden engine Red (thus the differing colours on some GTS 327's that have been concourse restored)


I doubt that Holden painted engine anywhere else but the Fisherman's Bend Engine plant. AFAIK all Aust engines were built, painted & tested as complete assemblies & then shipped to the various assembly plants around the country.

........................................

Dr Terry



GMH only painted engines at FBend during my times there... I saw red motors (LX, UC, VB) blue motors (VH, WB) and black (VK)
all painted before engine test and if passed, dropped on a cradle ready for shipping (before going out back to the engine store.. plant 16?)

Any scratches (rockers covers etc) in the VAPs (Dandenong, Elizabeth etc)) were simply ignored, VAPs were only set up to paint panels and trim


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HK1837 Offline
#14 Posted : Monday, 22 November 2021 1:21:35 PM(UTC)
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I also just found another 1982 Dulon paint code for X2 red. It is very different in composition to the 1967 formula.

I think the VAP’s must have painted transmissions as for example Pagewood HK M21 are painted whereas Dandenong appear to be left raw. The engine assembly would turn up painted, go to engine dress and I guess somewhere in that area they painted the transmission.

Smitty, do you know if the VAP’s (or their local BAP) assembled and painted their own front suspension? Or did they turn up complete? I’m thinking initially HK-HG and then later HQ-HZ.
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munriman Offline
#15 Posted : Monday, 22 November 2021 1:31:48 PM(UTC)
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I assume that there can be consensus on that we wont really know what happened in the 60's when trying to resolve HK GTS 327 Engine Colour. I also assume we may never know the exact shade of Holden X2 Engine Red, Rocket Red, Holden Red or whatever other red Holden or anyone else chose to call it during this time if it became a factory or society colloquialism i.e. same name different colour.

In addition we may never know the exact shades of Chevrolet Orange or Chevrolet Red used in the US in the 60's and how these colours may have changed whilst the names stayed the same as above.

This is also probably based on factors such as lead content and pigment supplies changing over time, different manufacturers, patination, plant locations, fading over time and during a time when it didn't matter one bit what colour was what, i.e. "Black will do the job", or "that's close enough to the red we are using".

If the gearboxes were painted and bolted onto engines in Australia than there must have been a colour matching process (unless the gearboxes were all painted in the US as well), and Holden would surely not want to call their paints Chevrolet Orange or anything else Chevrolet if it was manufactured here in Australia I am sure.

We have to be mindful that it is very possible that some of the names used in Australia to label paint colours were actually naming US paint colours such as Chevrolet Orange/Chevrolet Red except we may have called it X2 Red or Rocket Red or whatever else a Holden employee or executive decided on the day (same paint different name), I am still talking particularly about HK GTS 327, but I am sure it applies to all the other models during the time.

It only makes sense that the Aussie built V8's HT and up were more consistent and traceable in their colour schemes if we were painting them here and also manufacturing the paints here.

Fast forward to 2000 and something and there are cashed up investors, enthusiasts and speculators paying vast amounts for what could be incorrect examples making it more important than ever that they are correct restorations when looking at investment grade motor vehicles.

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#16 Posted : Monday, 22 November 2021 3:11:26 PM(UTC)
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#17 Posted : Monday, 22 November 2021 6:50:46 PM(UTC)
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How accurate is the 1968 G.M.-H Interior Trim Colours and Engine Colours Card.
munriman Offline
#18 Posted : Tuesday, 23 November 2021 6:44:49 AM(UTC)
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I have done some more research, and back to HK GTS 327. To get the the correct paint colour schemes for these cars we can only look to the US where they were painted or find known original untouched examples.

After scrolling through dozens of US forums and hundreds of posts and some website research it seems that there is some form of transitional period during the HK series production relating to engine painting in the US plants, it seems to be more in 1969 which would relate more to McKinnon production or is not in line with HK series cars at all. What I can find (and all the US guys are more confused than us) is that sometime in the late 60's Chevrolet Orange was phased out for Chevrolet Red/Orange which was then possibly used up to 1975 when they switched to Corporate Blue due to metric transitions (I am not expert on this but it is interesting reading)

Now there is also some comments about how the guy spraying the engines was hosing the engines down out of a 44 gallon drum or similar, and as they were getting close to the end of the drum all the settled pigment was more concentrated thus giving variations in paint colour. Because apparently there are only subtle differences between Chevrolet Orange and Chevrolet Orange/Red there could be some issues relating to this point. I doubt is, I think the colour are quite distinct and it is either bright orange or a redish colour, even allowing for patination and fading etc.

All this aside, I can only offer examples of my engine which is an early built type 1 GTS 327 Pagewood built car where the engine is still in its original paint state where the bellhousing and gearbox has never been separated from the motor, just to make a note this engine is definitely an exact match with Chevrolet Orange in the Duplicolor range.

I now have little doubt that GTS 327 Engines were painted both Chevrolet Orange and Chevrolet Red/Orange. I will source a can of Chevrolet Orange Red and do some test samples, Duplicolor in this colour is easily available from Repco and based on how close the Chevrolet Orange paint is in this brand to my engine I cant see why the Chevrolet Red/Orange would be any different for an engine painted in this colour.

Oil filler match



Head Match



Sump match



Now what is even more interesting is that the gearbox matches the engine colour exactly. This means one of two things

1- Gearboxes were painted in the US
2- GMH had the right colour in Australia to paint the gearbox



Of course they probably painted the gearboxes in the US and then we assembled them here, but it would be confusing if they were sending Chevrolet Orange and Chevrolet Orange/Red gearboxes to Australia.

If anyone has an original paint Red/Orange HK GTS 327 engine please post some pics.

munriman Offline
#19 Posted : Tuesday, 23 November 2021 6:55:16 AM(UTC)
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One other point to note is this post relates to X2 Holden Engine Red which I was under the impression some GTS 327 guys were using to paint their engines (I may be mistaken). It is important to note that we may have to make distinction between X2 Red and any US products, or decide if they match a US paint product or code.

The best way to do this would be similar to my example, someone with an original paint X2 motor can polish a section somewhere where it is not too faded and do some Chevrolet Orange and Chevrolet Red/Orange comparisons or another colour match in an available shaker can that would be correct and then we will have some examples to compare. Again as in the US we have to be mindful that Holden may have used multiple colours or shades for the same engines, is there only one X2 Red or more than one?

I think 1837 already found 2 x paint codes for Holden X2 Engine Red.
munriman Offline
#20 Posted : Tuesday, 23 November 2021 12:02:42 PM(UTC)
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Today I went and purchased a can of Chevrolet Orange/Red for some comparisons. We must be mindful of whether or not the Chevrolet Orange/Red is a true depiction of the colours used in the 1960's without an original paint example it is impossible to be sure. One thing is for sure, the Duplicolor Chevrolet Orange DE1620 is about as close a match if not exact to the colour of my original paint HK GTS 327 Type 1 engine Pagewood built car.

The Chevrolet Orange/Red is a a much more pastel matt finish almost like a red primer consistency. I have attached some pictures for comparison below.



The whole reason for this excercise is to give some confidence to restorers of what may or may not constitute a correct colour for a HK Type 1 GTS 327 Engine, or any other engine that came out of the US during the same period which also may or may not include HK Type2 GTS 327 which will require further evidence.

So in short in my view and based on my research and the photos attached if you paint your HK GTS 327 Type 1 engine in Duplicolor Chevrolet Orange DE1620 it should be correct for the time period for both judging if you are that way inclined and personal confidence that you are doing the right thing.

It would be great to compare both of these colours against an Holden X2 Holden Red. I have attached some pictures below of what I think is the same product being spruiked on Ebay as "NEW CORRECT HOLDEN ENGINE PAINT TO HD X2 HR X2 HR 186S 179 X2 186 X2 MOTOSPRAY", it shows the colour difference as I painted the top of the Oil Filler Tube with this so called X2 paint.





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