See also: Colour Schemes and Dealers
Colour-matching and the actual application of the paint are two of
the most difficult stages of a good restoration project.
Ideally one would want to simply hand a petrol tank or side panel
over to a local shop expecting them to handle everything - paint selection, welding, dent
removal or filling, prepping, painting, pin-striping and finishing. While ideal, this is
probably not practical for most people in places like the US, Canada and Australia. The
UK, being smaller and a hive of classic bike activity, does have one-stop solutions.
Selecting your own paint colour
Before you start you need to decide what colour to use. If you've seen a late-model car,
bike or whatever and want your Triple to be "that colour" then you have no
problem. You simply go to the car showroom and ask for the paint code. The painter can
work from that to paint your tank. Simple.
If you want to paint your '71 BSA Rocket 3 the original BSA
Firecracker Red you have a little more leg-work to do.
If you have a sample of the original paint you could take it to a painter to have it
colour-matched. This is one of those "works in theory, doesn't work in practice"
situations. Here's a couple of reasons why:
- - your paint sample might have faded
- your paint sample might not be original (the tank might have already been repainted)
- the paint sample might be from underneath the tank (the most usual spot to find original
paint) - but this is mostly overspray and not to the standard of the outside of the tank.
Colour-matching might be appropriate if you want your freshly dented
tank to match the exisitng side panels - but you just have to remember that this doesn't
make it an original colour-match.
Unless it's a casual repaint I would avoid colour-matching.
The best way to get an original colour is to use a paint supplier or painter that knows
Triumph paints and paint schemes. These vendors know their business and can provide exact
paint matches for the original colours. Of course, you should still do your homework and
double-check their work first. Here you have two options:
- - You find a source for the correct paint. You take the paint and the
tank to your local painter.
- You give them your tank and they do the whole project (paint selection, welding, dent
removal or filling, prepping, painting, pin-striping and finishing). One benefit with this
option is they should know exactly how to apply the silver undercoat for the red '69
Rocket 3 or the gold undercoat for the red '75 Trident.
Remember though, this is only a good solution if you have all
similarly-coloured items repainted at the same time. Otherwise older, original side panels
may show up as faded against the newly painted tank.
What might it Cost?
In 1998 I had two very similar tanks painted (for a '69 TR6C). One was done by a 'Triumph
specialist' to the original colour and cost $425 US. The other was done by my 'local
painter' in Dodge Viper Blue and cost $220 US- this tank also required a little more 'dent
removal' work. The standard of the finish on both is the same.
Finally, talk to your local bike club members about their
experiences. This is always a good source of information.
Comments or Suggestions?
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