Engine paint material and color questions?


Precision Fit
Oct 23, 2009
Citrus Heights & Tahoe
First Name
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1954
Working on my first Willys restore (54 PU) and need help on paint material and original factory color(s) for engine/drivetrain components. Specifically:

Block (currently bare)
Head (currently light green)
Water Oulet Fitting ((currently silver)
Valve cover (currently dark blue)
Water pump (currently dark blue)
Downdraft tube (currently dark blue)
Timing chain cover (currently light green)
Oil pan (currently light green)
Oil filter (currently orange/red)
Intake Manifold (currently bare)
Exhaust Manifold (currently bare)
Tranny/Transfer Case (currently bare)

Pics have current paint colors...

Also - what do I need to know about paint type...rattle can with heat ratings or other? someting special for manifolds?

Thanks for the help!


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Actually... your photo looks like a L6-226 Super Hurricane like my '56 pu - they should be silver... the f head four photo shown as blue I have always understood to be black - at least for my '50 jeepster - but I had presumed wagons and cj's too.

Anybody else have better info?
Has anyone figured out what the paint scheme for the super hurricane 6 is? What color are the brackets? The blue is a pretty color. I need to know what is exactly on the can. Being partially color blind doesn't help me any! Chuck
I'll say again - that particular motor should be 'aluminum' silver... brackets &air cleaner black, oil filter canister probably was orange (though not sure w/o checking further, but) mine is.
RBOND...Your comments seem consistent with everything I've see/found though no original pics or manufacturer documentation to back it up.
Any ideas/thoughts on bellhousing, tranny, transfer case....black? Manifolds exhaust/intake....silver, too?

I'll admit original was boring scheme but trying to stay as true to factory as possible...
I researched this a long time ago. The 226's engines came in three colors depending on altitude there were built to be sold in. The colors were red, blue, or silver. Red being the highest compression engine sold in high altitude areas. I found this info as a post on Willys Tech and the poster got it from a mechanics manual. If you scrape around your motor, chances you will reveal some of the original paint. That is what I did, then I also ran the block numbers to verify what motor I had. Hope this helps.
Ran across this really old thread tonight - figured I'd add a little info in case someone came across it in a search later on:

I believe these are the correct colors

The engine BioTex referenced is mine and I can assure everyone it is most definitely not Willys correct colors on that engine. :) I used Ford dark blue with a Ford gray just because I liked it - from everything I know it's supposed to be black.
"Also - what do I need to know about paint type...rattle can with heat ratings or other? someting special for manifolds?"


i'm fairly new with willys but I have used some Stainless steel paint (silver) from Eastwood a few years ago to paint manifolds, it held up pretty well.
it was a brush on thick paint, every thing else that I have used from a spray can burns of pretty fast.

DSCN0434.jpg here is the engine for the 55

DSCN0428.jpg This is the one in the 57, built for and resided all it's 50 some years in Colorado. High altitude.
I always read these engine color posts with great interest. I know when I rebuilt mine I pulled the engine tag off and the there was red paint under it. I do not know the history prior to the mid 80s on mine so maybe it could have been a high altitude vehicle. On a different note my father in law worked at the Willys plant in Toledo in the mid 50's. I asked him if he could tell me about correct engine color. His answer was that he could not tell me for sure but he said Willys would use what ever was cheap that week. They really scrimped everywhere they could as they were fighting to survive while competeling with the big 3 in the auto business. If he was even close to right it might explain why we see so many colors on engines. I wish he still had his employee badge it would be neat to have in the car.
Recently painted an L6-226 the wrong color. There is a number on the front, driver's side, top of the head of the engine that will tell you if you have the high altitude engine, typically out west, but also after many years, they are everywhere. I can't remember the number, seems like it was five or six digits.
That information came from this forum somewhere. I look forward to someone digging that up again.
Here's some info from an old thread that shows engine paint colors based on compression for high or low altitude. Handy reference from a Master Parts book.
Here's a page from a 1954 Utility Vehicle Parts List


I think most of the "later production" engines that were installed in the vehicles when they left the US factories were either silver for the 6.86 compression ratio or red if the 7.3. The engine in my 1964 FC chassis -- the original engine -- is a 6.86 and is/was silver.

The page above is from a Parts List, so perhaps as Willys built engines to be sold as replacements, they color-coded them in the colors above to help easily keep track of which was which once assembled.

All total, unabashed, shameless speculation on my part, of course!
On my ‘55 7.3 high altitude 2bbl, I’ve see quite a bit of evidence the it matches the parts book above of garden green. Both 6.8 and 7.3 were garden green according to the above. I think it will be ugly in the engine compartment so I’ll have to decide. Was wanting to paint the head red with silver wording.
Getting back to @homewood4 and @zobie questions about "what type" of paint to use on the engine, here's an earlier thread on that topic with several suggestions. Best of luck on working out the best option for you. Keep us informed on how you decide to proceed along with pics of the finished product.