The following article used by permission of the writer: Robert Hensel, Technical Advisor Coordinator for the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America. Bob can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I do not know of any book that gives the engine colors for all Chevrolets. I have found it here and there in many Chevrolet letters and books. I have come up with a list that covers most engines and some speculation, that does not mean that Chevrolet always followed what they said either.
The color of the fan is another sometimes sticky problem. As best as I know all replacement fans were black, we have some controversy in the early 30’s. Some pictures show the fan was pained engine color at the time of production. In the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America we do accept black and in my opinion black is what they should be. I think the engine for production was assembled and painted before the fan and other add-ons were added to the engine before it was put into the vehicle. The oil fill/breather tube is another case of engine color or black. I go with black.
Maybe this would be an idea for an article and maybe start some arguments. What we strive for in the VCCA is what the vehicle was like when new and offered to the public using only genuine Chevrolet parts available at the time of production. A good example that can cause hard feelings is white walls. They might have been available but Chevrolet did not offer them until the mid 30’s and I don’t think it was until 1962 or ’63 that you could order them on a truck. The dealer could install them but Chevrolet did not offer them, they would be after market items.
At times it is fun trying to find answers to the question but it can get frustrating when the answers are not to be found. I have a very large Chevrolet literature collection, and trucks are my main interest, but I can not always find the answers.
The vehicle listing from a 1923 Parts Price book does not cover the 1912 and 1913 Chevrolets, it does not list the T Truck for 1918 but they were built starting late 1917. The G series truck was Chevrolet’s first attempt at what we call a 3/4 ton truck. It was only built in 1921 and 1922. One more interesting thing in the list is the M series of vehicles of which there is a light delivery chassis listed. This was the ill fated copper cooled engine and only a very few cars were built before they were called back. There are at least two examples, both coupes that still exist and I know of at least one engine. As best as I know they never built any of the light delivery chassis for sale. What happened to the vehicles that were called back is still a mystery to me. I have heard they were dumped in Lake Michigan, or the were converted to water cooled cars. I heard they used the left over engines in lift trucks used in the plants in the late 20’s and early 30’s but never found any proof of this. The conversion idea sounds most logical. About the only exterior differences was the shell in place of the radiator. It had many horizontal louvers in it. The idea here is the 1 ton truck used the same engine as the light delivery starting in 1923. Before that the Light Delivery and the G truck used the 490 engine and the T used the F series engine that had a longer stroke.
|1924-1928||4 Cylinder||Dark Green (gray green)|
|1929-1936||209 CID||Blue Gray|
|1937-1953||216 CID||Blue Gray|
|1941-1952||235 CID||Blue Gray|
|1953||Truck 216||Blue Gray|
|1953||Standard Shift 235||Blue Gray|
|1953||Truck 235||Blue Gray|
|1955||Truck Thriftmaster 235||Gray|
|1955||Truck Loadmaster 235||Green|
|1955||Forward Control Loadmaster||Gray|
|1955||Truck Jobmaster 261||Yellow/Green|
|1955||Truck Taskmaster 265||Yellow|
|1956||Thriftmaster Special 235||Gray**|
|1957||Passenger 265 V8||Chartreuse|
|1957||Passenger 283 V8||Red|
|1957||Truck 265||Gray** Different Options|
|1958||Truck 283 Light Duty||Gray***|
|1958||Truck 283 Light Duty||Green***|
|1959||Truck 283 Light Duty||Gray|
|1959||Truck 283 Heavy Duty||Green|
|1960||Truck 235||Blue Gray|
|1960||Truck 283 Trademaster||Green|
|1960||Truck 283 Taskmaster||Gray|
|1961||Truck 235||Blue Gray***|
|1962||Truck 235||Blue Gray**|
|1964||Truck 348||Tan/Gray, Orange|
|1965||Truck 409||Gray w/silver rocker cover|
|1966||Truck 327||Green- (Blue Suburban)|
** Assumption because it is a carry-over from a previous year.
*** Assumption because it was found in next years book.
Disclaimer: Due to the fact that there is no official book that lists all the Chevrolets engine colors, many of these colors are assumption. Many of the colors in this list are taken from authenticated vehicles. Various assembly plants had different colors and tints. Colors were also subject to availability and these may have changed at the plant. Also different options on a vehicle would determine the color of the engine especially the truck 283 engine. Also remember the primary goal of the assembly plant was to get the vehicle out to the consumer. If a color was used up, the next available color was utilized.
Note: When Orange is stated, it means Chevrolet Orange.
Special Thanks to: Gale Garmon of K-ville, PA for assisting in determining engine colors.
A Tip from Carl Pearson: 292 Green can be obtained through Krylon, paint #2013, known as GM Alpine Green or Detroit Diesel Green.
More on GM engines
T-1918 – ’28 Light Truck has the same engine as the 4-cylinder car engine.
1941 – 235 CI engine was available in 1 1/2 ton and COE models.
Through the 1950’s – GMC also produced a 302CI 6-cylinder engine.
1957 – GMC produced a 347 CI Pontiac engine