Holy L472 Beige Grey colour conundrums Batman!

I started out with the ambition to clean up and protect the roof gutters, along with fixing up a previous roof dent repair. As is often the case, one thing invariably leads to another… but at least the roof is now in much better shape than when the work started, even if there is a lot of red oxide primer on it at the moment!

Time to change all that and get some paint on it again. Trouble is, what colour paint? Officially the VW factory paint code is L472 (Beige Grey/Beigegrau) over the lower half of L53 (Sealing Wax Red/Siegellackrot). So I got a can of the L472 made up at a local paint supplier. Unfortunately, when compared to the colour of the original paint on the bus, it was way too dark! It would have been the right colour when the bus initially rolled out of the factory in Germany in 1963, but after 50+ years of being in the Californian sun, the paint has faded somewhat! The much lighter, faded version of the original colour was if anything, slightly more pronounced on the roof than say the bus upper side areas (makes sense as it would have been more exposed to the sun).

new paint supplies of the original L472 (Beige Grey/Beigegrau)
new paint supplies of the original L472 (Beige Grey/Beigegrau)

In this case, the original ‘look’ of the bus that I love so much, turns out to be a bit of a pain when trying to match a paint colour to! Use the correct L472 colour and it would just stand out as being too dark. Try to match to the faded version of the bus upper sides, and the colour would be slightly too dark to realistically fade for the more faded roof colour. Match the faded roof colour and it would be a bit too light for the not so faded upper side colour. My first world colour conundrums! I even went to the extent of removing one of the rear pop out windows to take to the paint supplier. I hoped that the paint colour on the frame could then be scanned in to try to get a match. Unfortunately in this case, nothing really came close. Looks like it will need to be custom mixed by eye to try to approximate a suitable colour…

putting a new coat of paint on the roof
putting a new coat of paint on the roof

The guys at Resto Classics then set about mixing various combinations to try to suit the bus. An exact replication of the 50+ year sun faded original paint was going to be impossible, so a sympathetic compromise was the aim…

putting a new coat of paint on the roof… or at least most of the roof!
putting a new coat of paint on the roof… or at least most of the roof!

At first when the paint went on it was shockingly shiny, but they reassured me that this would be flattened back as part of the blending in process. So again, time to wait for the paint to dry before the next stage could begin.

revealing the originally exposed areas of L53 sealing wax red
revealing the originally exposed areas of L53 sealing wax red

Flattening back the new paint helped to reduce its new overly shiny finish. Then localised areas were carefully worked back to in part to remove some of the deliberately misted/blended in areas of new paint over the previously exposed base layer of the original L53 (Sealing Wax Red).

flattening back the new paint revealing the areas of previously exposed original under paint
flattening back the new paint revealing the areas of previously exposed original under paint

After all this, I think the bus is going to require a bit of a wash and clean up!

after all this, I think a bit of a wash might be in order!
after all this, I think a bit of a wash might be in order!

So in summary, take some old paint off, put some new paint on, rub some new paint off to show the old paint that was always there in the first place! Yep, living the dream you say…

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