Doug Warrener writes:
I need your input and opinions on helping me select the best color for the air cleaners on my 300H.
I have attached 3 pictures of 5 different colors.
1. On my 300H when I purchased the car - powder coated - looks good, but too much brown.
2. PlastiKote #452 Gold - too bright and shiny for my taste.
3. From my 1st spare set - could possibly be original factory color.
4. Attempted match from local automotive paint supplier - not very close to #3, but looks good on engine.
5. From my 2nd spare set - definitely a re-paint.
* Put a clear coat on top of the Plasticote 452, you'll be pleased with the results. Worked on my B.
* If the “Chrysler Bronze” (per Wayne Graefen’s restoration guide for the 300C) in 1957 is the same gold color used for the 300H, perhaps I can help with a color match.
In the midst of restoring my late father’s 300C convertible, I began to notice the continuing controversy over correct air cleaner color. Dad had two complete sets of air cleaners; both were painted (probably at the same time) with what I am certain was Plasticote #452. He even had five new spray cans of that paint left over with the myriad other parts he had accumulated –they still spray fine nearly 35 years later! The outer finish on these obviously repainted air cleaners was not up to par (some thin spots, some overspray into hollow areas, etc., so, in the process of preparing them for repaint, I discovered what I believe to be the original undisturbed factory paint on the inner surface of the oval ends of the air cleaners. The paint was thinly applied on apparently unprimed metal. The metal surface was quite smooth, not like the exterior parts that had pretty obviously been sand-blasted to a rougher finish, definitely by a subsequent refinisher. The ring where the rubber edge of the filter element seated on the oval cover was worn down to bright metal underneath. The paint was noticeably lighter in color than the exterior repaint, and was also less glossy. I took what I thought was the best example of that original inner surface paint to a professional body shop and they worked with the local paint supplier to get a match, first using their computer imaging device, followed by several trial-and-error adjustments to get the color and gloss level correct. A test patch of the final paint mix (urethane base color + ~60% gloss clear coat) was sprayed immediately next to a masked-off portion of the original 1957 paint; when the tape was removed, the juncture between the old and new paint was barely discernible.
I had the first set of air cleaners bead-blasted, primed, sanded smooth and repainted using the best-match two-stage urethane paint/clearcoat. I think they came out looking great, and sent the other pair of air cleaners and the valve covers to be refinished the same way. Unfortunately, the paint shop has still not delivered them six months later (!) after a dozen promises of “next week”.
If my 300C air cleaner/valve cover color is applicable to your later year vehicle, I will be glad to post photos of the finished product (I decided not to take “before” pictures because I knew the color was not quite right) when the lazy shop finally delivers the goods.
* I know that in comparing photographs it is difficult, I feel the third one is the most correct, I have several old chrysler air cleaner housing not restored and it looks the closest to me.
* Just for fun, here is a site that does show many of the various air cleaners used in the 50's-60's. Makes for some good viewing, and may prove helpful.
* The site is incorrect when it says that 57 Fury air cleaners were different from 300C. They are the same part number. The confusion may come from the fact that there were three different castings of the 1821398 air cleaner. Two of the three can be seen in the pictures.