Cylinder head painting

I have just got my head back from the reconditioners and am in the process of cleaning and reassembly.
I have some correct paint for it but cannot remember how much of it to paint. I know it is painted between the cam covers, down to the spark plug holes, but how far back and forwards should I paint it? Also should the casting around the manifold faces also be painted?

Any pictures would be appreciated too.



Thanks, Pat,
Very nice looking engine bay.
How far down the back and sides does the paint go?

As I recall the entire back of the head is painted. On the exhaust side down to the top of the manifolds. There may be others on this forum with more accurate info.


This one from 1956 was painted just in the valley, not the peak, not the rear, not the front, not the exhaust side, not the intake side.

Of course they may have painted them differently at different times.
The purpose was for production line workers to easily identify the different head types at a time when they were making more than one type in the shop.

Looks like they had some type of form-fitting shroud to mask along the back edge. That certainly would have aided the production sequence and made it more economical.

Yes, very possibly a mask, or used a brush, and knowing Lyons, reduced labor time and thus economy would have been in the forefront.

You may be aware that I co-authored the definitive book so far published on XK140 - JAGUAR XK140 EXPLORED, and one specific detail I researched very thoroughly was the C-type Cylinder Head and indeed the exact demarcation of the red paint. This was based at extensive review of my huge photo library of unrestored original cylinder heads, and indeed my own Sept 1955 car that was low mileage with about 90% original paint remaining, albeit a little - not a lot - faded and chipped… When I restored my head, the following photos show the exact red paint demarcations that I believe was applicable to all C-type heads as fitted to XK140, albeit I am not saying there was not the occasional ‘apprentice’ paint job, or ‘after lunch’ Friday paint job…

Note, four views only, there is no shot of the front of the HEAD as there is zero red paint visible from that direction.
The only views I am not 100% positive about, is the exhaust view. I have seen paint extend part way down between the two exhaust manifolds, and indeed that is shown in XK140 EXPLORED, but after further thought I concluded that this may have been little more than some overspray onto the area that is below the rough cast painted upper area, and of no concern when the gaskets/manifolds fitted over any oversprayed machined surafce area.
The rear view shows being painted on the flat machined areas which again I suspect may have been better masked not to go over the gasket areas, and indeed on assembly I have removed any paint that would be covered by end plate/tacho drive.
The INLET side has no visible paint, apart from what can be seen wrapping around the rear…

And PS…
I meant to emphasize, based on an often seen major ERROR…
But in the Spark Plug Valley, you have red paint all the way up to the Cam Cover gasket joint…
For some reason you sometimes see repainted heads where the machined section just below the Cam Cover Gasket joint being left bare aluminium, with the red paint only on the cast aluminium surfaces. This is 100% WRONG, and in Australian Concours circles enough for me to give maximum deduction for the Cylinder Head… :scream:

Thank you Roger. Many observations are better than one observation. I have saved those photos for future reference.

I just purchased a 63 mark II with 3.8 engine with 8 compression ratio.
I would like to correctly paint the engine. Where can I find the correct paint and color for this model.

One of the Nissan Pixa metallic blues is a good match.

I’ve read that some heads were left unpainted and are called silver because of the color of the aluminum…I don’t know…I’d like to be sure…maybe I’d give mine a little color…



All 1963 Mark 2 have the same B-type head, but for reasons unknown Jaguar decided to paint these Heads mid-metallic-blue if fitted onto a 3.8 litre block, or duck egg-blue (non metallic) if fitted onto a 3.4 litre block. So the only way you can tell if your Head was original to a 3.8 or 3.4 litre Mark 2 is its painted colour (easily lost/removed) or by the Engine Number stamped in, which for a 1963 3.8 Mark 2 will be LCxxxx prefix if original, but at least L prefix if any 3.8 Mark 2.

Same logic of mid-metallic blue for all B-type heads fitted to 3.8 Blocks, so also on a Mark IX (all are 3.8) or a 3.8 XK150 (not 3.4 nor ‘S’ models’).

See pic below of a Mark IX head (NE1662-9)…showing the mid-metallic blue…

My jaguar has kj-10757-8 (3.4 1967) maybe unpainted…I don’t see any color…

I dont know exact demataction, but at some point during 1967 all cylinders heads ceased being painted, and were left natural aluminium - but definately NOT painted Silver…
Still a lot of debate over exactly when 1967 built E-types stopped getting heads painted GOLD, with some speculation it was only from start of 1968 American Model Yera cars no longer being painted GOLD when engines were detuned/fitted with twin Stromberg carbies that USA only cars were no longer painted gold, and whether rest-of-the world cars not complying with USA emissions were still painted gold or not…
I havnt seen similar interest in establish any Mark 2 demarcation, but presume also during 1967…
So re your KJ10757-8 - no idea, if BUILT during 1967…


Great response! Thanks
My engines is LC 7215-8
Jaguar Heritage Trust confirms original engine is in car.
I’ve seen different colored jaguar engines over the years and didn’t know if owners just got crazy with the paint or if Jaguar had a plan.

My car was originally shipped to Fredunds Automobil in Stockholm Sweden
I’m also trying to get info on this car dealer. I’m sure they are not in business now but any info any one has about them would be appreciated.

Right now I was looking at the photos of my jaguar…I watched this video and it caught my attention and I can see a gold color…I don’t know if it’s because of the phone’s camera…but at the first opportunity I’m going to check it thoroughly… .can you give me your opinion??..thanks

I can’t upload the video…here a screenshot

I don’t know if this is stain for long time ago…but I see gold vestige…

True that all Mk2’s had the B Type head, but does the 3.8 have larger diameter combustion chambers to match the larger bore? 2.4 and 3.4 have the same bore and are painted the same colour, so maybe the dark blue was to differentiate the 3.8.