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Fan Shroud Colors

July 13, 2010 | Research & Identification
By Wyatt Blankingship, Ron LaDow, Wil Mittelbach, Robert Paxton, Bill Romano, Roy Smalley, Bill Waite, John Willhoit, edited by Barry Lee Brisco


[Editor] The question of fan shroud colors and the colors of various engine parts is frequently asked. After several decades of car parts being painted and re-painted, and original paint fading, it is often difficult to know for sure what the factory color really was. There is a consensus that at least starting with the T2 cars, Normal fan shrouds were gloss black and Super shrouds were silver (T1 and earlier shrouds were gloss black only, no other colors). Brett Johnson is of the opinion that the T2 Supers were the first to have silver shrouds because they had the same carburetors that the Normals had (not true on earlier engines) and it was easier for owners and more likely, factory employees to tell them apart. The first T6 Super engine shrouds in late 1961 may have been the light grey color used for the S90 when it was introduced in 1960, but some think the Super engines from that period were always silver. 356C model C and SC shrouds were the same light grey except at the very end of production some cars were given black shrouds, possibly because Porsche was preparing for 912 engine production (this theory has been suggested by Ken Daugherty). Jim Breazeale states, "I know for sure that the last 356 made had a black fan shroud." If your late 356C has a black shroud with the center bracket or clip at the top as used on 912s, then it may well be the original color.

Roy Smalley: To my eye, SC and C are the same, as are late Super. Close to but lighter than Heron Grey.

Bill Romano: I took these photos at the Porsche factory in 1962 and 1963. They show rows of engines awaiting installation. There are both gloss black and gloss grey fan covers on engines with Zeniths and I guess these were Normals and Supers. Then there are S90's with Solex carbs that appear to have the same color fan covers as the supers (gloss grey). The grey ones could be silver I guess but they look grey in my photos; they are certainly not white but I can't tell if they're exactly the same shade as the Supers.

Wyatt Blankingship: The Stoddards paint NLA.95.043.00 "Fan Housing Gray" is "Way too dark". He recommends Sherwin-Williams Lt. Charcoal 35-3268600 Code: M5683A. Used on 1985 Fords. It is a special mix not available in a rattle can. Available at S-W's Automotive Paint Stores. This is an excellent matching paint to the original on my 356C.

Robert Paxton: Krylon`s "Dove Grey" is a good color but might be just a tad dark. My choice when I had several C and SC housings to paint was Marble Grey. It was a Porsche color in the early 80's. I am pretty sure it was on 944's.

Wil Mittelbach: My car is an unrestored original '65C cab, acquired in '67. Upon recent engine removal and disassembly, the first time since factory installation, I held the fan shroud next to the car's original pristine Dolphin Gray paint. There appeared to be little color difference other than the shroud's semi-gloss paint vs. the car's polished high gloss finish. The fan shrouds of C's and some earlier cars I've seen have the same color. Perhaps the Dolphin Gray relationship is a heretofore unknown coincidence!

John Willhoit: I have a pretty large collection of fan shrouds (90+) spanning all years including Pre A, some on engines, some loose. At least one-half of them have been repainted so they don`t count, but I still think that I have what amounts to a comprehensive sampling.

The 356C was the first shroud (maybe very late 356Bs, see below) to use the separate, bolt-on, support for the throttle cross bar. None of these shrouds are painted silver, they are all painted light grey (356C, SC) or black (912). I do have a very late 1963 S 90 engine #0800xxx that has this late type shroud, and it is painted grey (it's the original shroud and does have the different S90 valve adjust decal) so there were some of these late type fan shrouds used on the very late 356Bs.

All of the early type shrouds are either black or silver (1600N or 1600S). Early Super 90's were silver because I have several examples of the earlier shrouds that are painted silver with the S90 decal still in place. There are plenty of factory pictures to show the silver and black shrouds on the earlier cars.

From my sampling it is my opinion that the Normals were always black, the Supers were always silver, the early Super 90s were silver, sometime in the 356B T6 period they started painting the Super 90s light grey, and all 356Cs and SCs were light grey.

Bill Waite: I am restoring our late 65 356C. I found a really great powder coat match. I have my powder coating done at "Powder Coating Services" in Greenville, Michigan. Great guys to work with and fair prices. No affiliation. I got color sample sheets from one of PCS's suppliers: Tiger Drylac. One of their colors matched the original shroud color perfectly: ASA-70, 39/70100. Look at this link and download their brochure called "Specialties" (see "Series 39" colors). If you go to Drylac's "Online Shop" at this link you'll see that 2 pounds can be ordered for $24. More than enough for the shroud. So I would have a way of checking the final color against the original, I didn't have the accelerator rod bracket from the shroud coated, as it had original paint in perfect shape on its underside. After the shroud was coated, I compared the bracket to the powder coat and it is "spot on."

Ron LaDow: I had a 'never-repainted' C engine 6 or 8 years back. The rattle-can from NLA sprayed out on a coupon was as good a match as anyone could expect. I had the powder-coater match that (and it was no problem for him) and use that on the fan shroud.

2 Comments

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J & M Kiliany
May 07, 2013 at 12:58 PM
I took delivery of my dolphin gray 1965 SC. 222568, in June 1965 at the factory in Zuffenhausen and it has a black fan shroud. <br /><br />Jerry Kiliany
Profile missing thumb
J & M Kiliany
May 07, 2013 at 12:58 PM
I took delivery of my dolphin gray 1965 SC. 222568, in June 1965 at the factory in Zuffenhausen and it has a black fan shroud. <br /><br />Jerry Kiliany