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Paint & Chrome

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.

Original re-paint
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.

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