Seeking chassis color information

December 1, 2008 | By Richard Prince


I am restoring a 1952 Chevy sport coupe back to original. It was in very good shape with only 32,000 original miles as a result of it having been stored for a long time.

I am now at the point that I can start building from the ground up, but I have run into a bit of a snag when it comes to actual paint schemes of the under carriage (front suspension, springs, drive line, rear suspension, etc.). I can do about 85% of the work myself, but I need to know the “from the factory” paint schemes for the whole frame and suspension. If you could point me in the right direction I would be forever in your debt! Thank you so much for any help you can send my way.


Getting very detailed and accurate information about factory finishes on chassis components for cars like your 1952 Chevy can present formidable challenges. Many vehicles have not been exhaustively researched and written about to the extent, for example, that has been done for 1955-57 Chevrolets.

The fact that different assembly plants and different component suppliers often use different materials or techniques for finishing parts that went into building the same model cars from the same model years complicates things exponentially. So, the lower control arms from one supplier may have been a true gloss black while the equivalent arms from another supplier may have been closer to a semigloss black. The Kansas City plant may have dip-painted chassis while the St. Louis plant sprayed them.

Factor in the running changes due to changing specifications, fluctuations in paint suppliers, variations from one batch to the next from the same supplier, variations in paint appearance that result from changes in humidity, temperature, application technique, and so on, and you come to an understanding of just how complicated it can be to find accurate information.

As always, the single best and most accurate source of information about how your car or any specific car was originally built may be the car itself. If you study the car’s parts as you disassemble them you can often learn a great deal of information.

You mention that your car has 32,000 miles from new and is in “very good shape” so it is entirely probable that careful analysis of its components can yield much information about how they were originally finished.

You can also harvest a great deal of valuable information from fellow enthusiasts who have developed their own expertise on 1952 Chevrolets. I suggest that you consider joining the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America. Among numerous membership benefits, you will have access to a team of technical advisors who know a tremendous amount about vintageChevrolets. You can contact the club by going to or calling .