Resource for 68 factory paint and primer scheme

I’m in the process of building a tribute XR-7G from all the parts from a G and a clean rust free shell out of the south.

The shell has been media blasted and is in epoxy primer. In the next few months I’m starting paint and body work. What I’d like to do is get the under carriage and chassis painted as close to the factory style as possible. Are there any good resources someone can point me to and or pictures showing the proper primer and paint schemes for the body, suspension etc?

KTL Restorations did a beautiful XR7G. They have photos on their site of various areas of the car during the restoration. The links are below. Just curious what G car are you using for the donor parts for this tribute?

KTL Restorations XR7G

Interesting - are you guys finding red oxide colored epoxy primer on the floors (firewall rearward) on 68 Dearborn built cars??

IF so what are the VIN’s from those cars if you don’t mind?

Noticed in the link that the things like the exhaust and suspension was not original so had to ask :wink: Though a vary pretty car

Prefect, thanks for the link. The parts came from the remains of a G someone had up here but no title. I have been offered a complete G, title and all but its in pretty bad shape and don’t have the funds to do this one and buy another at the moment. This ones going to be fuel injected with 5 speed so better to be a tribute. Although I do have a fresh 428FE in the shop that would look really good under the hood, lol.

If your looking for original paint patterns (beside other details) the pictures (in the link) doesn’t show the original pinch weld black out overspray that would cover some of the floor, out by the rocker panels) and surfaces hanging downward facing towards the pinchweld. Something often missed by restorers.

Things like front frame rail, floor ribs, rear spring front support and torque box(s) would have received a little or allot of this black. Distance inward from the rockers is typically not as far as the exterior color due to less air pressure, gun size and angle - also age of the painter, his height and amount of effort on that car :wink:

This was applied before the front fenders were installed, from the front edge of the pinchweld in the front wheel well opening to the rear valance which hung from the taillight panel but not pulled down into the body at this point. The “line” along the rocker panel and quarter panel have a soft edge - not a tape hard line. This can be reproduced by backwards masking with tape softly folded back on itself or some use foam tape along the edge for the same effect

Here are some generic shots to illustrate this practice

Almost forgot to mention the dolly marks - eight round spots on the floor (really the frame rails where no paint was applied (bare galvanized surface is seen) where the body was attached to a skid or dolly as it traveled down the line during the first half of production. There were two additional round dolly marks in front of the rear most ones - though there is not a hole there in the frame for attachment those were the connection point for Mustangs (on the same line and using the same dollys) since they are slightly shorter

Hope this helps

There is a site where we discuss these sort of details on a regular bases and as a non-member you can see allot of the sections were this and related subjects have already been discussed and pictures posted. IF you choose to join you can gain access to articles which will discuss subjects like reproducing the dolly marks, the galvanized surfaces and related items. Cougars are welcome :wink:

Please don’t take this as an ad just trying to help

Thank you both! Great info.

J_Speegle - Thank you. Question, was the use of the red/orange paint as seen in the link? I’ve never personally seen a car with any remanence of just a red primer under the car so I was wondering if they all came that way or was the primer top coated at some point?

My understanding was that Dearborn cars were slop grey (mixed up leftover body paint) and San Jose cars were red oxide. Don’t know if that holds true in all cases but I believe it to be “generally” the case.

This is a wealth of info I have wanted to know for some time as well. Thanks for the links.
Here is a question though, the Mustang site and how the Mustang was inspected and paint markings, is this the same for Cougar as well? Since they both came down the same assembly line I would think they may be the same.

No the “primer” on the floor was not top coated . It’s not really “primer” since primer is a product that does not seal out the elements and just promotes attachment of a top coat. Instead this was an epoxy primer sealer as a final product or base for a mix. Plants and time period are very important in these discussions since (especially Dearborn) change product all the time. Using other original examples from the same plant and time we can identify the patterns if we have enough samples. The “floor” was painted (as we understand it) but workers from the firewall forward (front the bottom) and from the firewall rearward by a set of jets mounted below the body that applied the paint/primer as the body passed over. Jets stopped about 6" from the rear cross member so that the spray of product went on the car not rain down on the next one as long as things worked as planned

The reason I asked about the red oxide on the 68 Dearborn examples is the hope that some would respond with the findings found on their specific car to help fill in the gaps. But apparently Cougar guys don’t track those things as closely as some of their Ford brethren.

Not sure what time period your trying to copy for your project but Dearborn used both the red oxide and the slop on the floors from firewall rearward (red oxide there forward) The slop color was a mixture of a primer base and left over body paint from the shift before. This produced a product that would seal the elements pretty well and saved money also. As colors work - when you add allot of all different colors together y9ou get a very dark color almost black (which it looked like at times) add a few hundred white cars in to the left over paint it becomes a dark gray, add more blue cars than another color it takes on a bluish tint…and so on. Typically this practice produced a very dark gray to slightly lighter gray with either a blue or greenish tint during 65-69 at Dearborn

So we would need to know what time period you were interested in then see if we have some observations and documentation from that time period or at least make an educated guess :wink:

Dearborn used both red oxide and slop as mentioned above. San Jose used red oxide (a few different tints during 68 - since we’re focusing on Cougars here) and then moved to slop in 69. Again we have the front and rear sections being handled differently until (generally) 1970 when the a couple of practices changed at Dearborn producing a different look

Sorry for being wordy (hope the grammar is at least close) - Hope this helps explain the big picture

Guess you joined (or you would not be looking at the Assembly line section or the Library :wink: If so you saw the 68 Production Line pictures the site collected donations for and purchased from the official San Jose photographer earlier this year. Unlike allot of magazines when we got access to the gentleman we didn’t just ask for the Mustang pictures but the Cougar ones (at least the ones he had) since they could provide allot of additional information as to how the cars were assembled. Was really surprised when he showed me the Cougar shots - especially the engine install ones. Great details in that one !!!

So yes same line, same inspectors much the same practices. There are a few differences between the two builds all associated IMHO with the amount of sealer, sound deadener and such.

Color marks would vary just like they do between one Mustang and another that is why we stress NOT to copy other cars since the difference of a couple weeks or a month, one car having power steering or ac and cars without either or both can change allot. So don’t take what you see posted there and just start slapping it on another car. We refer to that as PMM (Paint Mark Migration) and when that happens some one sees those marks and they end up on another, then another … on and on :frowning:

Some “marks” are fairly general (allot of those are found on buildsheets since those were applied at the supplier of that part) while others vary a little (identifiable patterns can be determined if you look at enough of these things :wink: and break down to specific shifts, workers or time periods (guy get moved, transferred, quits …) Some marks were likely only applied to one specific vehicle so it’s hard to say a fully endorsed Yes or No to such a large subject
Hope I made my point clear

In Mustang and Shelby circles it also means points deducted for at a show

Thanks for explaining. Sorry I keep using the term primer, I know its epoxy, it just reminds me of red primer I’ve used in the past.

As for time period of the car, I don’t have one and this all is really only for me and me only on the car because I like the look that the factory did. It can be much easier and cleaner to do just a black or something but what would be the fun in that! :slight_smile: I’m just a stickler for punishment I guess.

Just to be clear, in the case of the red epoxy was it sprayed on just the bottom of the frame rails, firewall forward, and the rest of the engine compartment was semi-gloss black? Or was everything firewall forward red oxide epoxy and painted over black, forward of the firewall of course? Just trying to make sense of this.

In either case yes it would be really nice for the cougar community to start documenting this stuff! Unfortunately most of the cars up here have had many layers of undercoat sprayed to them and it usually gets media blasted off with anything under it. No one has bothered to pay attention I guess. :frowning:

What color will the car be? Red oxide might give you the greatest contrast between it and the body color and black pinch weld overspray. If the exterior color is a dark color and you use slop it will look too much like you just put body color under the car and the black pinch weld paint will just blend in :frowning: Did a Jade Black car last year (69 Dearborn Shelby) and you could barely make out the different between the slop, the black jade and the blackout but didn’t have the choice while you do without a specific date, it being a clone and that they did use red oxide on the floor. Add to that the ease of using the DP almost straight out of the can with a little black added in to tone it down a bit and make it look closer to original

BTW it will produce a fairly shinny and smooth finished product unlike the regular red oxide (rustoleum ) look that many are familiar with

There is a difference between how to apply it and what gets seen in the final product. Red oxide (tone it a little differently than the floor but just a little :wink: and shot it firewall forward - especially the bottom of the frame rail, all the pockets at the bottom of the lower A arm mount, strut rod mount, front of the front cross member and such as well as the wheel side of the inner wheel well. In the wheel well (after sealant has been applied to all the right seams and pockets body color will be applied (doors, trunk lid and rear valance attached before this point) over the cowl sides, up over the front of the firewall in the wheel well and onto the rear panel of the inner fender up to about where the shock tower rear edge is. Black engine compartment black was applied after this covering the radiator support front and back side, engine compartment and those surfaces facing upward (like the strut rod mounts) allowing for allot of black overspray onto vertical surfaces and areas below. Remember old spray guns with high pressure put out allot more overspray that today’s HVLP guns so you have to make an effort to compensate for this :wink:

You will get black overspray from the radiator support application as well as the fender lip (where the fenders attach) along the top of the inner fenders At the front the black can be maybe a foot rearward - to or into the shock tower pocket, same thing with the body color. If the painter may have applied the black further rearward or forward as well as the body painter - into the shock tower pocket or maybe 6" behind it. Just a range

Of course when you get the car completed you’ll be spraying sound deadener over allot of these surfaces to seal the gaps and seams

Though not perfect (part of a larger project) maybe this will illustrate some details better then words

Most of the Mustangs where undercoated by the dealer like Cougars and unfortunately allot of owners think that they can just blast away the original evidence and someone else will know what was there. There is no better reference than an non- screwed with original car and that is the best place to start. Unfortunately allot of cars have been played with, altered or are rust to the point where nothing is left. That’s when we start looking at other cars, same plant same day for some help

Just thinking of the process (lots of details not touched on) don’t forget to apply or fix the sound deadneer in the rear wheel wells before you apply body color. Rear wheel wells were painted body color as the painter applied paint to the wheel lip and quarter panel applying a nice coat of paint to the surfaces in the wheelwell and the rear frame rail visible through the opening

Good luck with your project

In your post above, you said this, (“Add to that the ease of using the DP almost straight out of the can with a little black added in to tone it down a bit and make it look closer to original”)
Can you explain what “DP” is?

I have an interesting case, my cougar was made in in San Jose January 10 1968. When I got the car, it was totally stripped already and Red Epoxy sprayed over everything, springs and all. Im also building a XR7G clone/tribute car and I know they were not built that early from my understanding. I also could be wrong, but not sure if any of the San Jose cars went to Dearborn to be used as XR7G cars. I will have to dig a bit to find out the time frame the G cars started and where they were from.

Oh, I tried to join the forum, but It kept not accepting my info. I will try a different computer and see if that works. So far what I have seen on the site is great!
This is fantastic info and Im glad you are willing to share this with us. Thanks!

Thank again Jeff! Pictures help more then you know! I’m waffling on what color to paint the car. The shell the car will be built on was originally “Grecian Gold” and with a Black vinyl roof this could be nice but I’m also considering “Glacier Blue” and the common “Black Cherry” but leaning towards the gold and blue at this point. :slight_smile: I registerd on the mustang site, great site!

Side note, if anyone has black XR7 door panels and rears I’m on the hunt! Or at the very least some proper 68 map pockets, arm rests, and pulls to fix what I’ve got.

Sorry, Commonly used PPG/Ditzler product for the restoration guys. The newer mixes reduced/left out the lead so its now DP-LF 90 for black and DP-LF-74 for the red oxide epoxy primer sealer

Not a Cougar guy as much as the Shelby’s and Mustangs but I agree my understanding is that all G’s were Dearborn built cars, If I wrote that or suggested that in my post - sorry for that

The process includes an approval process (almost automatic :wink: done by one of the other admin people. This help reduce the spam post and the trolls a bit. Normally 24 hrs or less

If your doing the two tone paint scheme there are some odd things that come up with the bottom color, how its applied and the results under the car I believe. There was a discussion long ago on this site or the old Cougar site. Need to find that so you don’t get things backwards :wink: Too hard to go backwards on the unibody. After that its all bolt on stuff

Better get it posted in the WANTED section - too easy to have you need not be seen in all these posts and verbage :wink:

Jeff, I know this has been discussed elsewhere but what would you recommend be used for the engine bay black paint??

I’m really a bad reference point for this subject. What each of us can by, use or shot in our area greatly limits the produces available and because of this a prduct mention might not be available in your area or a product that works better than I can get and use would not be know to me.

I see guys mention DP 90 but it’s not made for direct sun exposure (must be overcoated), SEMS Trim black is not very tough but takes touch up well, Hot rod black is fine but really does not look right all the time and Eastwood black always look slightly brown to me. Would look at what others in your area are using and have use (for longevity reasons)

All XR7Gs were built at Dearborn between February and July of 1968. This might help with some of your research/digging.

Thanks Steven, I appreciate that.