Paint colour for 1948 Mk iv

I’m trying to identify the correct factory colour for Battleship Grey paint. The old Jaguar Colour Chart states it as 2024, but investigations on the internet quote codes like JA001 and 2378. Does anyone know if 2024 is the specific and correct code, who was the manufacturer of this paint in 1948, and are any suppliers now able to match up to this colour.

I’ve tried a number of paints from different suppliers for JA001 and 2378 and they are all different shades and not like the colour on the original car.

Any advice much appreciated.

The information I have says that during the Mark V production era, Battleship Grey was made by British Dolomac and had the code D.3103, known as Zofelac cellulose enamel.
In 1952 they changed to synthetic lacquer made by Pinchin Johnson with J875 being the code for Battleship Grey.
These people have scanned an old color chart.


In my search for Gunmetal Metallic, I ended up taking a good hubcap to a paint shop and they matched that. Ultimately if it is wrong nobody can prove it.

Interesting that your chart shows the Battleship Grey similar colour to black!! My original colour, best condition inside the bulkhead flap/engine bay, looks more like Gun Metal, but not metallic. The Jaguar Chart I have from 1948 has different code numbers to your information, so something must have changed with suppliers/paints to the Mk v perhaps. The problem with my Chart is that it’s no longer an accurate colour guide after 70 years of paper fading, nor would be a scan or download off the internet which is dependent on computer screen or printer variation - so the correct factory code is perhaps the best start position. Battleship Grey seems to have many variations over the years!!

I agree you might not know what shade of grey a car is when it’s on the road, but I’d like the correct starting point before instructing the paint shop and getting a paint match if I can.

Here is an official factory color wheel also from the Mark V era.

Here is the factory color chart for 1938-9.

You are right that Battleship Grey looks almost black, like Onyx.
I wonder if you might have misidentified your sample and it could be Birch Grey, which is also on the 1946-8 color list?

We’ve been down this road on a lot of the pre-1952 colors, and the paint suppliers don’t always have the best information for mixing even with an original code number. Urs Schimd published an XK120 restoration book which lists colors and mixing formulas, and in this book Battleship Grey is a little bit lighter than on those color charts but still a pretty dark gray. Urs felt his formulas to be correct, but he is no longer with us, and I don’t know if anyone on the XK120 forum has tried his formula for this color.

The book is copyrighted, but I’m not sure if the formula itself falls under copyright protection as old information?

The best hope still seems to be matching a sample if you have one small enough to carry into a paint shop. Unless somebody comes up with “Hey, it is a prefect match for 1999 Toyota Holiday Surprise”.

Anyone ever suggest Tower Paint? They sent me a shake-n-shoot that was a PERFECT match for Tweety’s original ODM.

Battleship grey { Now apparertly to be known as "air warfare destroyer grey 'for early this century, and Darth Death Star grey for later this century] . is indeed extremely dark I had always though , though never actually seen one, that Battleships were a similar grey to other navy ships.
WE have a LHD MK IV DHC in and at the stage of being painted at present.WE had to get th e colour matched to places on the car that still had original paint. Paints these days are different in a number of ways and I don’t think havinga formula for the original will necessarily produce the correct colour with modern ingredients.
STill for what it’s worth here is the page from the old book.

Thanks for the responses. Just ordered another couple of paint mixes to try from the Codes shown in these Posts, but I’m beginning to wonder if my specific need for 1948 Battleship Grey on my original United Kingdom car is different from what Jaguar used for their Exported, pre-1948, or post-1948 colour shades as quoted on the chart numbers and colour charts mentioned in this topic.

As mentioned, perhaps no one will notice or be able to prove if my re-spray is a different shade to the original - but for historical relevance it would be good to do it the right colour if I can, and document what I’ve done during the restoration work. If not I’ll pick the nearest shade I can find, be it in modern paint technology and application in the workshop.

I am told that there is apparently a book on the internet called “Fifty Shades of Grey” - whether this has any mention of the 1948 Jaguar Battleship Grey I will let you know if I decide to buy it and read it !!!

We have not run across any evidence of Jaguar’s UK colors being any different from Export colors.
Here are four Mark IVs and three Mark Vs which claim to be or are entered as Battleship Grey.
Can you post a picture of your color sample on your car?

I am also going to extra effort to duplicate the original Gunmetal Metallic on my Mark V.

You could read Wilde’s “Picture of Dorian Gray” or listen to the Monkees “Only Shades of Gray”. :wink:

Um , I think the book is “Forty Shades of Grey”" I don’t think paint colours or Jaguars feature in it. It’s more about 40 versions of the Horizontal Tango… an English language Karma Sutra.
But it may be an interesting read. One could do a review over on the Pub List : >)

I also doubt export cars would have any reason to have a different shade, But cars delivered here in Australia , were often completely repainted before delivery as the paint at the time didn’t survive the trip in a ship’s hold very well.
I had a Mk VII that factory had painted bronze , but was stripped to bare metal and painted black for sale when new.

Well, Ill be hornswoggled, Ed: I caught you saying sumfin wrong…:joy::joy::joy:


Tower Paint had the 1963 color codes for ODM: perhaps their records go back as far as the cars we’re referencing?

Wiggles Obviously I was thinking of the sensitivities of some listers. There were 2 films one Forty Shades… and one Fiftty Shades… perhaps the un-abridged version Or the 40 shades was a political documentary.
Neither though of much help in painting an old Jaguar. : >)
BTW s this your new avatar pic? : >)

Yes, thats my avatar…for now!

Im not finding anything called 40 Shades of Grey/gray…?

Forty Shades of Grey is a movie with a preview on Youtube. [ Or Youse tube as we call it in Oz.]

The only shade of grey I’ve been coming across lately is my hair colour , what is left of it ]

So far, Im not losing hair, but, all has gone silver.

Guess I got outta the car bidness too late…:joy::joy:

Thanks Rob for the links to the “Battleship Grey” cars and pictures. My question remains - that all these cars (which look like they are in the USA) are a much lighter Grey than the Jaguar colour charts I’ve seen, which show Battleship Grey as almost black. These colour charts are I think either for the early SS or later MK V, and I’ve not seen a chart specifically covering the 1948 MK IV is one exists.

The car I am restoring came out of the factory in Battleship Grey (also confirmed on my Jaguar Heritage Certificate), and has lived all its life in England. Some 20 or so years ago the then owner stripped the paint off (badly) to paint it white for a family wedding !!! Taking the external chrome trim off a few days ago there are areas of original paint underneath. I’ve taken the paint down carefully to bare metal through the layers, and its definitely the top coat visible. From the photo attached this colour on my car is much darker than the cars in your photos, and actually of similar colour (blackish) to the colour charts. What I cant prove is if the car before being painted white was pre-painted sometime in the first 50 years of life after leaving the factory, but judging by the struggle I’ve had stripping the chrome off I cant see that it’s been off before (so what’s underneath is likely to be how it left the factory I believe).

So is almost black the right Battleship Grey shade to use (and match it to the colour charts), or is it the lighter grey as cars physically appear in photos on the database register? I would like to resolve the mystery if possible to a definite conclusion before it goes to the paint shop - particularly as I’d like it to be restored to the original factory specification, and it would be an expensive job to paint it twice if I get it wrong now.

Any more feedback much appreciated, and if anyone knows of a 1948 MK IV in Battleship Grey which actually matches the colour chart shade of almost black please post a response.

It looks like car 628134 is the closest match to yours of those I selected from saloondata. Pity it is only one picture.
Maybe you can’t really trust restored cars to be accurately color matched.
Anyway we can rule out Birch Grey and Gunmetal.
No color chart for 1946-48 has surfaced of which I am aware.
But there is nothing in the service bulletins about 1949 Battleship Grey being any different from 1946-48 BG.
My feeling (unsubstantiated by any evidence) is that any significant change in a color shade would also garner a change in name by Jaguar.
So the 1949 color chart is probably right.
If you want to browse there are 21 BG XK120s on there with pictures. Some of them like 681092 look like your sample.

Once again…maybe Tower Paint can help.

I’ll keep looking, but thinking the dark black grey is perhaps the correct one - so will ignore pictures unless I’m confident any repray people have done was to correct original colour (which I doubt looking at some of the photos). Can I find an original car in that colour that hasn’t been repainted? - probably impossible after 70 years.

I’ll try Tower Paints, but I guess they will only supply to my quoted code and not have any original paint mix charts.

Thanks everyone for the responses.

I am on a travelling holiday and away from home until end of November, but do have a factory Jaguar colour chip book of all the 1945 to 1952 British Domolac ‘Zofelac’ paint colours as used on Mark IV, Mark V and early XK120. These colours did not change over this period, just some additions and deletions from available colours, but all maintain the exact same period British Domolac codes over this 1945 to 1952 period. And anyone who tells you there were different colours available for USA or any other export markets, is having a lend of you.
But the Battleship Grey is a very dark grey, almost looking black in dull light, but clearly dark grey and not black in bright sun. No metallic at all, it is 100% a solid colour.
Try some of the main paint suppliers such as Glasurit or PPG, they will have an accurate match.
Any cars you see in light or silver grey, are just owners who prefer a different colour, or just don’t know and call it Battleship Grey without knowing any better.

I would be very interested Roger to know the paint code on your card chart, and perhaps you would be kind enough to update the Post with it or scan the card and add a photo when you are able to do so. It is interesting that you have the right date period card, and this would be good info to add to my history files I’m keeping. Certainly your comments seem to reflect the small patches of old paint on my car. Thanks.