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Paint Colors

Each of the Year-Model chapters in How To Restore presents, in our opinion, the paint colors available for that particular year and model.
This chapter examines the Club's research - showing how we arrived at our opinion.

Introductory Information
1948 - 1957 Documentation and Discussion
1958 - 1966 Documentation and Discussion
Paint Chips

Introductory Information

The Club had previously used Harley-Davidson's General Engineering Standard 30143 as the authority for colors available on these models. H-D provided us a copy of the 1950-1969 sections of this document way back in 1983. Recent examination has shown a considerable number of errors in that document. We embarked on an effort to compare all available factory documentation to produce a consolidated and authoritative list.

We used three primary Harley-Davidson documents, and supplemented with a number of secondary Harley-Davidson documents. There were many inconsistencies among the documents, but in almost all cases, we were able to reach a satifactory resolution, which we present as "Opinion of the Harley Hummer Club".

There are several cases where an "open question" exists, and we present those as such.

In addition, the Club has examined a number of what we believe to be original paint bikes with non-standard paint colors / schemes. We present these as "Undocumented Colors". We would consider original paint bikes to be correct. However, lacking documentation, we advise restorers not to use these colors / schemes.

The Legend Begins

– available from Harley-Davidson under part number 99403-93

The Legend Begins was a tremendous effort by The Motor Company to document the early years (1903-1966) of their production. It provides text descriptions, and Season Order Blanks (SOB) (through 1957), of the standard production of each year and model. This document appears to focus on beginning-of-year availability. Mid-year changes, particularly "Spring Specials", do not appear.

The Legend Begins' text description does not always agree with the Season Order Blanks. In some years, the Season Order Blank shows a single list of colors which would appear to apply to all models. The text description, and other documentation, sometimes contradict this. For this reason, we approach these as separate documents.

TLB– the text description from The Legend Begins
SOB– Season Order Blank
LOB– "Lightweight" Order Blank - Hummer & Model 165 - 1956-1957

1958-1966 Lightweights Parts, Service, Colors and Accessories

– available from Harley-Davidson under part number 99444-93

1958-1966 Lightweight Parts / Service, Colors and Accessories focuses on the Hummer-series and Topper scooters, and documents, often with handwritten additions, many mid-year changes. Harley-Davidson put considerable effort into researching their archives and documenting the Lightweight models. We now consider this document to be the best primary source.

LPS– 1958-1966 Lightweight Parts, Service, Colors and Accessories

General Engineering Standard 30143

– available here on this website

General Engineering Standard 30143 provides a comprehensive list of the "standard" and "special" paint colors used by the Motor Company for each year and model. The format of GES presents some problems - some colors were standard on big twins, but optional on Lightweights, but the document's format does not allow for this distinction. GES is resplendent with typographical errors and other inaccuracies. Notably, it shows the Hummer "B" model in 1953 and 1954, but the B model was not produced until 1955.

GES– General Engineering Standard 30143

Enthusiast magazine

– some material available on this website

The new model introduction issue (typically the September issue) of the Enthusiast usually provides a list of colors available on the new models - at the beginning of the model year. Mid-year changes, such as "Spring Specials" do not appear. However, in cases where the SOB is confusing, the Enthusiast typically describes the actual models on which certain colors or combinations are available - often corroborating TLB.

ENT – Enthusiast magazine

Factory To Dealer Communications

– some material available on this website

Harley-Davidson sent information directly to dealers announcing new parts, accessories and pricing. In many years, the factory offered a "Spring Special" promotion, often in May, designed to boost sales. These promotions sometimes offered certain options at no extra charge, and in some cases, special paint colors or schemes. "Spring Specials" sometimes included a "Dealer Order Blank" for dealer use when ordering.

We have included any special colors under these promotions as "mid-year" offerings. Unfortunately, there is no compendium of these. LPS documents many mid-year changes from1958-onward. From 1948-1957, we have found a number of documents, but there may be additional ones which have yet to be discovered.

FTD– Factory To Dealer letters and other communications
DOB– Dealer Order Blanks associated with FTD communications

Advertising Material

– some material available on this website

Advertising material, such pamphlets, flyers, newspaper and magazine advertisements, and other printed matter, were typically prepared at the beginning of the model year, and do not document mid-year changes. We have included advertising material only when needed to corroborate or clarify other documentation.

ADV – Advertising material - factory pamphlets, flyers, etc.
Introductory Information 1948 - 1957 Documentation and Discussion 1958 - 1966 Documentation and Discussion Paint Chips

  Last updated: May 24, 2011 ←  Up  →