Lotus Elan

Lotus Elan & Plus 2 Paint Codes - Then & Now

PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:44 pm

Occasionally I visit the statistics for my site on the Elan Sprint. One gives the order of most popular pages visited. Apart from the Home page, the one that consistently tops the table is that titled Paint Colours.

Why is this? Perhaps owners carrying out a restoration are contemplating what colour to do the bodywork in, or what the original colour for their particular car was. Perhaps their wife, girlfriend or partner wants to know what colour would look best.

Whatever the reason, I thought it would be helpful to reproduce most of an article I wrote for the Club Lotus News magazine a couple of years ago, with a list of standard Elan colours here for reference.
I had carried out research into the subject from a wide variety of sources. This allowed me to put together a comprehensive table for all Elan and Plus 2 paint codes. The table, which includes the Lotus code, the paint codes for the two suppliers of the day (ICI and Pinchin, Johnson) as well as modern day equivalent suppliers? codes, where I?ve been able to discover them (please double check with your supplier as necessary), is below.

Throughout the entire Elan production Lotus tried a series of new and experimental paint finishes. Sometimes complete cars were painted in batches by outside contractors. Sometimes cars were sold to dealers in primer, which allowed dealers to offer custom colours. In fact, Lotus would spray a car any colour the owner fancied. From 1968 onwards, Lotus developed a habit of introducing new colours at the October London Motor Show. I know of the 1972 Sprint FHC that demonstrated the new Tawny Brown metallic colour at the show, still in existence. It is interesting to note the few months that some of the later Plus 2 colours were available.

The Lotus ?L? prefix codes indicate nitro-cellulose paint used on the Elan and Plus 2. At the time there were two suppliers to the factory, Pinchin, Johnson and ICI. Pinchin, Johnson was taken over by Courtaulds and merged into their paints division when they bought International Paint. ICI Paints was taken over by Nexa Autocolor. Nexa Autocolor is now a brand name of PPG. In the 1960s, Nexa introduced 2K to follow the introduction of metallic effect pigments on cars. This allowed any car's metallic effect to be reproduced using a Single Layer Metallic system. It subsequently launched Aquabase, the world's first waterborne basecoat, in 1992. In 2000 Nexa introduced Aquabase Plus, a waterborne basecoat giving improved application and blending qualities that deliver a "Right First Time" match to the original car colours.

PPG is one of the world leaders in automotive finishes and provides colour matching and choices to please most people. They established a presence in the UK in 1985, though they have been around for a lot longer than that globally.

Glasurit, owned by BASF, are coatings specialists with more than 100 years of experience and claim to be the world?s top experts in automotive refinish paint. They offer classic car enthusiasts professional support for paintwork or refinishing of their cars in the form of Glasurit Classic Car Colors. They are able to find a matching colour ?in seconds?, for refinishing nearly any classic car. They have the world?s largest colour library, with over 200,000 colours. It offers a good basis for solving a variety of refinishing problems.

If any lister is able to provide additional PPG or Glasurit codes to fill in the blanks on the table, I would be most grateful to hear from them. Additionally, I have copies of 1967, 1969, 1970 and 1971 colour brochures. If any member has others, I would be grateful for a scanned copy. It is worth noting that in some of the Elan colour brochures different names were given to some of these colours. So for example, Regency Red was called Maroon; Colorado Orange was Light Orange. Then in contemporary adverts owners and garages started to invent their own interpretation of the colour?s name, which led to further confusion over the years. I hope that the table goes some way to be helpful to historians and restorers alike.
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All Elan Paint Codes.pdf
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PostPost by: robertverhey » Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:59 pm

I found out from my paint supplier that bahama yellow actually cross references to Bahama Gold, a Porsche colour of the time. The latter seems to be much easier to make up, as the formula/tint information still exists
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PostPost by: vlc584g » Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:39 am

Very interesting reading there - obviously a lot of work involved - thanks for sharing!
Regards
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:52 pm

Very good. I'd like to see it expanded to include color of blocks, gearboxes, diff, jack and jack handle, etc, for those that like to be 'more correct'.

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PostPost by: Tahoe » Tue Jul 29, 2014 3:55 pm

Excellent job!
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PostPost by: 45bvtc » Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:57 am

The attached pdf contains 6-pages of Factory Paint Codes from LO1 to L44 (Essex Blue) as used in 1980. In addition tare the Gold and Silver codes for Elan bumpers, the Silver codes for the Plus 2 metal flake roof, and the S-codes for cellulose repair.

Both PJ and ICI supplier specifications are shown. Hopefully trw99 you'll be able to update/add to your own superb document.

Taken from my own copy of an original Lotus Factory Paint and Repair Procedural document.
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PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:43 am

Thanks, that is most helpful.

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PostPost by: danbuoy1 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:37 am

Hiya, on the topic of paint codes, a query - my recently acquired is a rough flakey red but unable to determine whether correct - attached VIN plate, ideas?

Cheers

Paul
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PostPost by: 661 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:38 am

Excellent work .
I must put my hand up and say I probably account for a few of those viewings over the years.
I'm on the look out for the Silver bumper code in Glasurit. I could make do with a Ford or Vauxhall colour but hope to get it right when the body goes off next month.
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:04 pm

Paul, can you get a closer shot of the 'paint code' box? Maybe a gentle cleaning in the area
would reveal what the code is.
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PostPost by: mbell » Mon Feb 24, 2020 2:10 pm

Paint Codes:
http://www.lotuselansprint.com/index.asp?pageid=41827

Some cleaning of it would be helpful, put I'd guess L05, Aka Carnival Red.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: ncm » Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:22 pm

Paul, According to the Plus Two list that used to be available on the web, your car was originally painted in "French", presumeably the blue of that name and not the language! :lol: This would correspond to a paint code of LO2.
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PostPost by: danbuoy1 » Tue Feb 25, 2020 11:08 pm

We have a phrase in our area, RTFM, my apologies guys - I was looking for the letter "L" and assumed they ran out of space with the commision nr at the top, whereas the paint code at bottom is a bit of a giveaway.... What a twit :cry: , when stops raining I'll get the cover off, clean the plate and get back to you.

Thanks for replies, it could be interesting :)

Cheers

Paul
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PostPost by: danbuoy1 » Wed Feb 26, 2020 11:54 am

Hiya - just looked again and its L02, which as you say corresponds to French Blue. More intrigue on its past as former long term owners only recall it as red.

Cheers

Paul
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