Tech Q&A - Paint Questions


Are the Color Charts from the Model A Restoration Guidelines and Judging Standards available on the MAFCA web site?

Yes there is - click here: Color Charts by Year/Body style
Looking for Paint Codes? We have an old chart - click here to view it. [Image]

Are there photos of Model A's painted in authentic colors on the website?

Yes, check the GALLERY pages under "What Color Is It?"

Where can I find the paint codes for Model A colors?

ANSWER:Since the paint code numbers no longer exist for the original Model A paint colors, it is now recommended that you use the MAFCA "Model a Ford Paint and Finish Guide" book for the paint sample colors. These paint chip colors are the closest match we can produce to the original colors and these colors are accepted by all MAFCA judges. Automotive paint shops today have color matching equipment that should be able to match these colors very very close. I recently needed "Rubelite Red" paint for a 1931 Model A Coupe and our local automotive paint shop made a perfect paint chip color match for this color. ( I know Rubelite Red is not listed as an original color for a coupe .... but it sure looks nice !!)
-- Dr Dave, 2016 MAFCA Technical Director 10/25/16

I'm about ready to have the 1931 Deluxe Tudor painted and a question has come up about the door and pillars. Lower body is Brewster Green, upper body is Black. Do you know what color the inside (hinge area and door check arm area and above) of the car that is above the lower body is supposed to be? Brewster Green or Black? I'm wondering if lower body color extends from the lower body and the interior cowl area up the door pillars/hinged area and around the door windows including the door top steel frame (remembering that there's the wood graining on the door trim and around the windshield) and along the entire length of rearward door pillars where the dovetails are located. Thanks for fielding this question! Jim Morris, New York

The latest version of the Model A Ford Paint and Finish Guide says that the entire body was painted lower body color with the gas tank, doors and deck lid (when appropriate) installed. This included the door jambs. The caption for the photos on the bottom of page 4 indicate that "the secondary color was applied primarily with the doors in the closed position". Since the door overlaps the body along the rear edge, the door would have been slightly open to catch that portion but no masking was used so that a "soft color break" appears. Upper body color did not extend around the door post or jamb. Excellent photos to illustrate this process.
-- Chuck Christensen, 2012 Technical Director 05/05/12


I am looking for pictures of a 1931 Cabriolet convertible painted in Maroon and Black. The only pictures I can find of a car in this year are Ken Schmidt's Yellow and Brown car. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. -- Keith Fritze

I have no source of such a photo but maybe one of our readers will have one and respond. Also, check the MAFCA Web site's Photo Album Pages. You might find a member's car featured there. -- Rick Black, webmaster.


Hello. I have a question for you about a 1928 Model A. What parts, on the engine and transmission, get painted Ford green, and what parts get painted black? I was told (for the engine) the metal parts get painted black and the cast parts get painted Ford Green. Is that also true for the transmission? Thank you very much for your time. -- William Davis

You are correct William. All cast iron parts including the intake manifold, and the transmission are Ford Green. The Exhaust manifold is painted heat resistant flat black or gray. If there is anything else I can help you with let me know. -- Lyle Meek, Technical Director, 1996


Question: I am a new MAFCA member and am restoring a 1928 closed cab pickup. I am considering two original paint colors for my truck: commercial gray and gunmetal blue. The paint guide does not include an example chip of commercial gray, but does have one of commercial drab. Are these the same color with two different names? Secondly, I am having little success finding photo examples of vehicles in these specific colors to help me make my final decision. Can you provide me with a few images?
--Vince Remcho

I needed some help on this question, so I went to one of the editors of the book: "Model A Ford Paint & Finish Guide", Doug Clayton, and this is his answer to your question:

I have never been able to find an actual sample of Commercial Gray in 25 years of looking. Commercial Gray and Commercial Drab are two different colors and there is no way to determine if there was much difference between the two colors. Gunmetal Blue replaced Commercial Gray in August 1928. I suspect that the Commercial Gray color was fairly dark like the Gunmetal Blue and therefore much darker that Commercial Drab. The era black and white photographs are not any help in solving this mystery either. In fact all trucks were painted dark colors until after mid 1930 when Ford’s sales efforts focused on more attractive colors. For a 1928 truck, the Gunmetal Blue is the safest bet. Wish I could be of greater assistance on this one!

-- Dr Dave, Technical Director
Posted 03/11/16



I am restoring a 1929 Fordor with a Briggs body. It's serial number indicates it was made in March. I have a book "How to restore the Model A Ford" which gives a listing of colors, but it is pretty confusing. I haven't had much time to do research, and I want to paint it as close as possible to original colors. Can you send me a listing of the original color combinations for this model? I would like to paint the body a light color, and as best as I can tell from my book, Arabian Sand was a color used in 1929, but I'm not sure if it was used on the Fordor? -- Gary Miller

Here are the paint colors listed for the 29 Leatherback Sedan (60B) : Lower Body/Upper Body Bonnie Gray/Chelsea Blue; Vagabond Green/Rock Moss Green; Rose Beige/Seal Brown; Andalusite Blue/Andalusite Blue; Thorne Brown/Black ; Bramble Brown/Throne Brown . The Model A Restoration Guidelines and Judging Standards shows good detail for the entire paint schemes. You might want to get a copy of that book before you start. The interior for the 29 Leatherback was brown hairline (60A and 60B) or Brown check (60C).


Question - August 21, 2001
I live in Uruguay South America. I need all the information available regarding the Ford A color paints formula utilized. I'm restoring a Tudor 1928 and I'm having some troubles to find any information regarding the way to prepare the colors of paints utilized in this model. I spent some time yesterday in the car paint shop and no code numbers in the DUPONT files were found for those colors such as both Niagara blue dark and light, Duchess blue or French gray. I have the chart of colors published by the Club in a small book I bought at Hershey years ago but no mention to the codes or quantities of the colors involves in the process of any of the colors utilized in the Ford A. Your help and or suggestions upon this topic will be very welcome. Many Ford A restorers will be grateful in the future.
-- Hector R. Leta

Hector, I will provide here the Du pont paint codes which I have available. These were obtained some years ago and confirmed by Du pont. The materials used in the paint today is not the same as was used during the model A era but the codes should give you a paint color very much like what was available then.

Niagara Blue Light: BS047
Niagara Blue Dark: BS048
Duchess Blue: GS733
French Gray: DS1134

I hope that these codes provide the help that you need to obtain the color you desire for your Model A Ford. Let me know if I can be of further help.
-- Chuck Christensen, 2011 Technical Director


I need some help with Paints and Finishes. Can I get a clearer definition as to the Engine Compartment Finish Codes? i.e. B - Black, would that be a flat, gloss, high gloss etc.? How about Fenders, Frame, Cross Members, Chassis Parts painted black; would that be a flat, gloss, high gloss? I would appreciate any help you can send on this issue. I'm trying to restore my 1929 in time for the June '98 show in Reno. -- Joe Farinacci

The judging standards indicate a "B" means "Black", which is a gloss black. An item listed as "Bd" means "dull black". This appears on the carburetor and the drain handle and spring on the bottom of the cast iron sediment bowl. "Bd" is a flat or dull black. The carburetor was actually identified in Ford specs as JAPAN BLACK. Its hard to know exactly what that was. A brand paint called Plasti-Coat #344 is a flat Black Lacquer and accepted in judging. -- Lyle Meek, Technical Director, 1996


Do the floorboards have all surfaces painted/stained black? Under floor mats the boards would be colored.... how about wood body blocks - black, body color or natural wood?

The wood floor boards and all wood body blocks were treated with a dull black wood preservative, on all sides before installation. A flat black paint comes close to matching the original treatment. On most original body blocks I have removed, the original "so called" preservative did not adhere well to the wood. The floor boards were treated on all sides also. -- Lyle Meek, Technical Director, 1997

Note: Ace Hardware used to carry a Gilsonite driveway coating product almost exactly like what Ford used on floorboards and body blocks. The Ace product number was: Ace #17892. As of 2018, that product is no longer available, but Ace does carry something very similar called Woodlife CreoCoat Water-Based Wood Preservative - product 14436. Several other sources sell it as well. -- Rick Black, Webmaster


Question. I'm restoring a 1930 Coupe. What is recommended for covering the interior of the cab with paint?

Answer: Prime and paint the interior the same as you do the exterior ....sanding and rubbing is not required. The interior is painted the same color as the main body color. -- Lyle Meek, Technical Director, 1997


I am restoring a 1928 Fordor, body style 60A. The paint colors I am going to use are Rose Beige, Seal Brown and Orange for the stripe. Are there any formulas or codes available for these colors in acrylic enamel or polyurethane paints? Thank you for any information you may have. -- John Hand, Boise, Idaho

Answer: Model A paint formulas are not available. This applies to modern paint. Your paint dealer will have to mix and match. The old lacquer paint formulas are still available but your State EPA may not allow you to buy the paint. There was a paint dealer in Oregon that has most of the colors and can mix them - Color Specialties in Springfield is no longer in business.
-- Lyle Meek, Technical Director, 1997


Question: How was the Model A Pickup bed painted?

Answer: The Pickup bed was painted, outside and inside, along with the Pickup body but as separate units. The wood underside of the bed and sills (where applicable) were finished in a dull black wood preservative. Although there may have been some body color overspray, there was no effort to paint the bottom side of the wood floor. All inside surfaces of the box, including bolts and the wood flooring, were painted body color. Only the outside surfaces were rubbed out when ordered as an extra cost option. The Pickup box-to-frame mounting bolts were black enamel. -- Lyle Meek, Technical Director, 1997


I am starting to paint the belt molding - where do I start. Do I paint from the (A) top of the curve where it meets the belt molding, (B) in the middle of the curve between the molding and the body, or (C) where the curve meets the body. It seems I would know this before now. I have a 1929 Tudor. I have the judging standards, but may be just overlooking the section. Found a real good description on the stripe. Please give me a helping hand. -- Kerry Steffens

I could try to define this for you but don't want to confuse you so suggest you get a copy of the Model A Ford PAINT & FINISH GUIDE from any Model A parts supplier or order from MAFCA Headquarters. This book has excellent illustrations to define the belt & moldings, strip, reveals, and upper and lower body for painting and all the paint chip colors. -- Lyle Meek, Technical Director, 1996


I am currently restoring a 1930 standard coupe and would like to paint it with poly-urethane. My problem is I can't find the paint code for any manufacturer for Kewanee green and Elkpoint green. Can You help with this. -- David Moore

Ditzler made the original lacquer paint. They have a color library you can call and they will give you an "offset " number for like color in Ditzler Delstar Acrylic enamel. The library phone number is : 440-572-6100. -- Lyle Meek, Technical Director, 1996

Ditzler is now PPG: PPG Industries Inc., 19699 Progress Drive, Strongsville, Ohio 44136
Phone: (440) 572-2800 -


The Judging Standards book has a Copra Drab and a Cobra Drab listed. The PPG people here do not list them both. Combinations for the '30 were Chickle Drab and Cobra Drab. In '31, the combinations were Chickle Drab and Copra Drab. Did they both exist or is this a typo? -- Dale Blosberg

Yes, you discovered a typo in the Judging Standards. There is only a COPRA Drab. . . no COBRA Drab. -- Lyle Meek, Technical Director, 1996


I need paint chip code numbers. It costs a lot more money to have a chip matched. any ideas?

I only know of only one paint company (manufacturer) that has formulated the Model A colors, BASF Corporation, R-M Products. Your local automotive paint store may know of a local representative for BASF. I have a list of all their paint chip codes. What color do you want. Let me know and I will send you the formula code. -- Lyle Meek, Technical Director, 1997


I am currently helping a fellow member of our club with his 29 Ford Closed cab Pickup. He has done a wonderful and correct restoration of this truck thanks to the MAFCA Judging Standards and help from fellow members of our local chapter Beehive A's. We have just one question that we cant seem to find the answer to. What is the correct striping pattern to use on this truck? The color is gun metal blue. We have found reference to open cab trucks in the Standards but it appears to be silent on the closed cab trucks. -- Randy Christiansen, Ogden, Utah

Check the Model A Ford, Paint and Finish Guide on page 36. It give you the correct striping pattern. If you have a fax number, I can send you a copy of the page. -- Lyle Meek, Technical Director, 1997

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Last Updated: 11/26/2018