I've got a paint sample for the Indian Red used in the 55 and 56 series.
I've got a sample of the Metallic Indian Red used in 58 and 59.
I'm pretty confident I have a correct color paint for the 57 series Chinese Red and Seafoam Blue,
but I need the Sahara Yellow for the 58 and 59 Lance, and the Metallic Blue of the 58 and 59 Tomahawk.
...and would be great if someone out there knew if the 57 Indian Red is the same as the 56 Indian Red, or a new shade. From the way the advertising went in 57 I think it was possible it was a new color and maybe metallic? any thoughts?
I've looked all the places I can think of to try and find genuine examples of the paints used by Royal Enfield on the USA export Indian models but haven't had any luck other than for the ones we already know of. When I think of Sahara Yellow I think of the colors the German Wehrmacht painted the vehicles of the Afrika Corps during WWII. Some have it more of a yellow with a slight tint of red and a slight burnt edge to it. I was hoping someone else out there might have an old part laying around that might have an example. I sure don't have any.
My Tomahawk is a metalic blue color. It's a 58 with the removeable cam bearing bushings and larger bore. The only thing about it is that the whole frame and chassis along with all the other normally painted sheet metal is almost a sea foam blue color. Even the inside of the supension unit covers are this color. I just don't know for sure if it is original. I know that Royal Enfield painted the frames on home market bikes same as tool boxes & tanks but most of the USA export Indian Trailblazer models I've seen had black for the frame/chassis and colors for everything else with exception to all black models.
The Indian red is a specific color that I have never seen refered to as Metalic or Polychromatic with the later words starting the phrase. Same with the Chinese red. It's always refered to as Indian metalic red and not metalic Indian red. The Indian metalic red is definitely its own color. It predates the candy apple red colors that came later. The candy apple is a two step process though and I think the Indian metalic red was a one shot process instead of a two step process. It is possible that RE might have started earlier with the same paints used for the 58/59 model year since a lot of 58 models were made in 1957 anyway.
These are tough questions and I was hoping someone else out there might have some experience on these different color changes. Many of the folks that did know are gone now.
If anyone knows a guy named Dale McQull in Ohio he'd prolly know as he has several of these in very nice original condition.Charlie Sturtz may have the info?
I'm certainly no resto guy but I mixed up a red that comes pretty close (as close as my semi color blind eyes can tell) to the red on his pashlee and Trailblazer for the WSI .I chose a metallic red GM color that sorta resembles a early 60's color for the tetanus tess and the chief in a box .I did find the frame and most bits on the WSI were painted the same red color under the black that was sprayed over on the frame and some odd bits .
OK, just so we all know, taken from the catalogs. The color is used for tank, fenders (when not alloy or chrome), toolbox, aircleaner, chainguard. All else is black.
1955: trailblazer: Indian Red fire arrow: Indian Red woodsman: Indian Red tomahawk: Indian Red
1956: trailblazer: Indian Red fire arrow: Indian Red woodsman: Indian Red tomahawk: Indian Red
1957 (the colorful year according to the catalog) trailblazer: Indian Red or Black hounds arrow: Chinese Red woodsman: Indian Red tomahawk: Seafoam Blue apache: Chinese Red
1958: trailblazer: Metallic Indian Red or Black hounds arrow: Chinese Red woodsman: Metallic Indian Red westerner: Metallic Indian Red tomahawk: Metallic Blue or Black apache: Black lance: Sahara Yellow
1959: chief: Metallic Indian Red or Black trailblazer: Metallic Indian Red or Black hounds arrow: Chinese Red fire arrow: Metallic Indian Red woodsman: Metallic Indian Red westerner: Metallic Indian Red tomahawk: Metallic Blue or Black apache: Black lance: Sahara Yellow patrol car: Indian Red (but it was probably Metallic Indian Red like other 59 models, looking at the survivors)
One thing that I have noticed was that Royal Enfield used some of the colors on the UK home market machines. Brockhouse's Indian Sales Corp was just that, a sales corporation. Whatever literature they printed up was based on the Royal Enfield publications with the exception to actual sales brochures, magazine adds, & flyers. I'm sure that Indian Sales Corp or maybe even John Brockhouse himself was responsible for changes to the machines for sales to the USA market. Royal Enfield seemed to want to please many requests for this. The first color of red used in 1955 was also used on many of the UK home market machines. I'm not sure if the "Indian red color changed in there somewhere or not. The Chinese red seemed to be a request for a brighter red. The metalic colors were not new to the industry in 1957/58 but they were not used by Royal Enfield much before that time. Sea Foam blue was a relatively well used color by Royal Enfield. I have seen darker shades of blue metalic used but they were more a medium blue and not dark at all. I have a fender with this medium blue metalic color but it's a Trailblazer fender so I can't trust it to be OEM. The USA market Interceptors may have continued some of those colors for a while since the chromed tank and panels weren't used as much as on the home market models. There is not a whole lot of information out there about the USA market models either. I have never seen a parts catalog that covers the 1960 700cc Interceptor model. The UK stuff is all I've ever seen besides the sales adds of the day.
Hitchcock's bought all of Sam Avellino's stock after his son sold out. Maybe they have some left over parts for the smaller Indian models like the Lance. Beno Rodi's dad collected a lot of stuff over the years and he might have some knowledge about the colors. He had a web-site last I checked. George Helm's son, from what I hear, has no real intrest in motorcycles so that knowledge is probably lost too. I should have made a trip up there years ago to visit Mr. Helm. He forgot more about the old RE Indians than I will probably ever know. I could have picked up some parts I sent hm to copy and repair. I learned not to farm out stuff any farther away than I can drive in half a day from George. I've since replaced all that I lost but I sure wish I had it back. It's a long way from south Texas to just below the Canadian border.
Jut one note on the paint list. I was always under the impression that it was only the toolbox covers that were colored and the center was black. I did not do this on mine and now wish that I had. As for colors I used Ford Toreador red on the Blazer as I had no reference except that it ws available in Poly red. Mine is actually an iridescent red but did not know it when I bought it. Looks red outside but has slight brownish overtones under artificial light.
My T-blazer tool box still has the original metalic red on it. The short fender piece behind the tool box also still has the OEM metalic red.
I noticed, while checking through my 58 Tomahawk sheet metal, that it has two different colors among the parts. The tank and the chain guard have a medium blue metalic color. The nearest color I can eyeball match it to is a Dupont Imron 44409U Turquoise Metalic. It's hard to say though on a coat of paint that old and worn. It has a tendency to yellow a bit over time. The part also appears to have a red color underneath but it is thin. Anyone know what color of primer was used on the OEM parts if any? I might have to sand one of my OEM parts to see if I can find something under the paint that might answer that question. I'll have a closer look at the tank too and see if I can detect evidence of a respray.
Blue was a common color for Royal Enfields in general but not for the 1955 thru 58 T-Blazers. For 1958, the polychromatic red or black with gold accents on the tanks were the most common colors I've seen on original parts that I know are NOS or original. I've never seen the blue on an NOS part for a T-blazer and I have seen quite a few. The Tomahawks were a different story but I have seen little or no NOS stuff for them to be certain on the original shade of blue. The seafoam blue/green is the most common color that I have seen for them but I've seen a few that were resprayed polychromatic red and I know that wasn't a factory offered color for them.
I guess the best place to ask would likely be someone with the UK RE club if there are any old timers over there.
Kerby over the years i've collected a few pics of bikes in the USA which have received the blue treatment - must have been a popular color or a dealer's attempt to update the bikes to make them more attractive. For example, my own 58 'blazer:
often the frames are painted blue too, I've got pics of a 57 'blazer, apache and hounds arrow all in a similar shade, but none of those blues are that close to the blue underneath the red on my tomahawk tank, so I am hoping it is the correct blue. My understanding is all the Enfield Indians were painted in the Redditch factory, except for the 58/59 patrol car, which was painted in the USA and explains why the color of them is the old Indian Red rather than the Metallic Red from the other 58/59 series bikes. phil
Last edited by re indian guy; 09/30/1112:02 am.
Re: Indian Enfield paint colors
#396767 09/30/1112:19 am09/30/1112:19 am
It looks like the sea foam blue that RE used so much. Frames were mixed and matched to a lot on different RE models depending on the sales orders or back log. The Tomahawk frames only had a few differences. The tab to fit the front of the seat and the threaded bungs for the seat on the siderails above the rear suspension units. Super Meteor, Contenintal, and Traiblazer frames were pretty much the same with the swingarms being different on the T-Blazers. Engine numbers were what got really interesting.
That frame may have been ready to mate to a Super Meteor motor and then was resprayed to fill a Trailblazer order. It may have also been resprayed several times in all these years since Redditch. Its just too hard to tell
Hi! Oh, if only these things could talk!!! They all have an interesting tale or two to tell!!! I try to keep some sort of "forensic" notes on the bits and pieces I have acquired over the years. Bits of paint here and there, or even a particular configuration of cycle parts. Often times they are a bit of a clue as to the heritage of the machine. Titles & year make and model are even worse!!! I always defer to the information from the REOC, but I have some frames and engine numbers that certainly do not even match the oral history that came with them. I have seen frames with layers of red and blue metallic & the seafoam color described under very stubborn black paint. The idea that there was some respraying at hand at the factory makes sense. Using leftover colors as primer could have been a cost cutting measure. My Police Chief project from years gone by came to me in bits, but had all indications of being a standard machine disassembled for no apparent reason. The black paint on that frame was unbelievably hard! I only had to touch up some nicks and scratches, wet sand and clear coat. I could not see any primer at all where the paint had been scratched. Wish I new what that paint was...
Good Luck on your projects! Cool Trailblazer picture!!
Here's an old frame I got with a 65 Interceptor a few years ago. Nice of someone to chop off the rear engine mount! Grrrrr! ... But I like the colour. Number is 7294. I think somebody on here told me it was from a mid to late 50s 500 or 700 twin. don't know what I'll ever do with it, but maybe someday i'll come up with an engine a gear box to start! Interesting thread. Don
1965 Royal Enfield Interceptor 1969 Triumph Tiger 650
Does anyone have a current paint manufactures reference for what is referred to as "Chinese Red"? From the G May book this was what was used on the 1960 Fury. On this thread it is suggested it is a brighter colour than metallic red. Hitchcocks have a red, but I do not know if it is the same as "Chinese Red".
I look fwd to reading this entire thread as this subject is interesting to me . My input , I have 4 Indian badged RE's , 2 Chiefs and 2 fire arrows .Both Chiefs are '59 model frames and only black . On FA was too rusted to see any color on the frame (not anymore ) and the other was black with a maroon under it . My thinking is the Chief models had a few differences and were likely done to U.S. spec black and the FA was pulled off the line and the home market clipper color was resprayed black for an export??