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MG TD TF 1500 - Engine Color (again, sorry)

I've got an old can of Moss T-Series engine paint. I also bought a can of the Dark Canyon Red that a number of people recommended in the archives.

Boy, they couldn't be more different. Attached is a photo I took of a couple of pieces of iron that I painted with each.

The Dark Canyon Red is the top piece and the Moss T-Series Engine Red is the bottom.

I'm wondering whether maybe the Dark Canyon Red is a better match for the MGA engine color (Moss has a different part number and I remember it being a different color) and not the T-Series color.

I've got a few flecks of paint left on my TD tappet cover and it seems to be a much closer match to the Moss color.

Anybody know how the Dark Canyon Red got accepted as being close to the original? I like the idea of buying it off the shelf at a fraction of the Moss price, but not if it so far off...

David Littlefield


The colours of the Morris built XPAG Engine in the TD and TF was MG read. The B-Series engines were Austin engines and the colour in MG A's and B's up to 1971 was a much darker Maroon. For the 1972 engines, thy changed to black until the end of production.
May be it is much easier to check out the so called RAL colours to find a match to the one needed.
With the TD (19435) RAL number from the on line sample charts as well as for the 1971 B that received a black engine out of a 1978 B after I painted it Maroon.


R.S. Ralph Siebenhaar

...and here is a view on the xpag

R.S. Ralph Siebenhaar

Very interesting. Thanks for posting these pictures David and in natural sunlight for best picture quality. Reading up the archives regarding engine paint, it makes your head spin which colors match best but not having really seeing them in person.

It would be awesome if you could have added the paint many recommend from Hirsch Auto MG Maroon. I've been leaning towards this only due to the quality of the paint against antifreeze and oil spills vs Moss. The pictures posted I've seen so far are great to get an idea but most were taken indoors with florescent light. Hard to really tell.

Judging by your pics comparing those two paints, the Moss color is close to my early TF #1414. I added a few pictures of my original paint.


Frank Cronin

picture of the thermostat housing

Frank Cronin

I painted my engine in i984/1985 with what was then sold by Moss as the "correct" engine color.
It does not appear to be the same color you show today.
It was closer to the Dark Canyon Red.
I am not changing it.

Jim B.

JA Benjamin

Another picture of the 1984 Moss Engine color in sunlight.

Jim B.

JA Benjamin

I am using Rustoleum Cardinal Red. Just off the shelf colour from Home Depot. Tried a few reds and the Cardinal Red is a dead ringer for the paint on my engine. It only looks a little brighter because it is cleaner. Can't provide a picture because the engine has been stripped.
C.R. Tyrell

I think Ralph has it pegged. After going through the archives on the MGA list I think the Dark Canyon Red is closer to the color on the B-series engine.

I'm tempted to buy a can of the Rustoleum Cardinal Red and put a sample next to the other two.

Frank, if someone will send me a small sample of the Hirsch paint I'd be glad to brush some on a piece, as well. Same for POR if someone has some. The fact that Hirsch and POR only sell one MG Maroon may indicate that they are going for the later, darker maroon.

The camera I used is only my iPhone camera, so the colors aren't quite as bright as real life. I also have a high-quality Canon camera that takes wonderful photos. If I get some more samples I'd be glad to post better pictures so people can decide for themselves.
David Littlefield

every picture I ever took of my engine done with the Moss T series red is much Redder (is that a word?) than it looked in real life. I'm just sayin'...
Dave Braun

Here is a shot of the tappet cover which I sprayed this week with the Moss maroon engine paint. The Engine External illustration on the Moss USA site is the same as the Moss Europe illustration so I assume the paint (USA part number 220-510) is the same.

Mike Sutton

I forgot to say I used the spray can paint. I don't have proper spray painting equipment.
Mike Sutton

I painted my engine in the TF Deep Canyon Red and I'm not happy with it! The more I look at it the less I like it. Strange as it might sound, seeing how it's in the chassis with no sheet metal around it, I might just pull it out and re-do the whole thing in a more appropriate color. The original color was more red. PJ

Deep Canyon Red.

P Jennings

Will you ever get to drive your car if you are going to all the trouble of re-painting what looks to me a perfect job? There would appear to be so many "original" colours for the engine. How do you know you are going to like a "more red" colour? Is there not another TD/TF owner near you who has an engine colour that is redder than yours for you to view before re-painting?
What colour are you going to paint the body?


Mike Sutton

Mike, I was thinking of Autumn Red with tan interior. The color designation on the plate calls for MG Red and have found that color buried behind the running boards. We have a Flame Red 72 B show car, so to stay in the Red family, but look a little different, I chose Autumn Red. I really like the color. PJ
P Jennings

Here is a picture of the Dark Canyon Red sample (piece of iron with hole in it) next to the valve cover of my MGA painted with Moss MGA/MGB Engine Red p/n 220-540.

The Dark Canyon Red is virtually a perfect match for the Moss color for the B-Series engine. Not so much for the T-Series, it appears.

Has anyone tried clear-coating the Moss engine paint to make it more durable?
David Littlefield

Sorry, forgot the picture in my last post.

David Littlefield


Those are the colours of the recent stunning TF that went unsold on e-bay. If that car had come up in England for the "Buy Now" price it would have sold no problem! Having said that, the engine was a lot redder than yours!! But I still think that once you have the tub on and painted your engine colour will look grat with Autumn Red. (Should that not be Fall Red over there?)


Mike Sutton

Mike - to which TF re you referring? The original grey one was withdrawn because it was "no longer available", and was clearly sold off eBay.

Tom Lange
t lange

PJ, You couldn't pay me to pull my engine back out just to paint another red. I used a paint off the shelf and think it is pretty close to what was on the engine. I am pretty sure my father never repainted the engine and gearbox. My new color is not quite as dark but I like it just the same. Your steering column being gray, not black, looks kind of weird and kind of cool at the same time. I like it and your engine color.

Rob Welborne

why not use the #1 engine paint in the world..bill hirsch MG maroon? regards, tom
tom peterson


Sorry for the slow response but my bed time is 22.30!
The Autumn Red TF that reached a bid of $26,100 against a buy now price of $49,000 when the auction ended on October 29th. It looked to me as if it had just come out of the gates of Abingdon (except for the chrome wheels) and if I lived in the USA I would have been prepared to pay much more than $26,000 for it.


Mike Sutton

This is the TF that Mike referenced: 130590125626

I liked it so much that I may paint my TF in that color.
JE Carroll

With all the controversy about engine colors used on XPAG engines in the TD series, I am beginning to wonder if the factory used two different shades of red. In the days of production, it seems like the factory used whatever they could get to maintain the line. This might be compared to the discussion about chrome or painted headlamp shells. We all have seen many TDs with either the bright red or the maroon shade over the years. My TD had a dark maroon paint that was comparable to Rustoleum Burgundy in spray cans which I used for a repaint after rebuild. It is reasonably priced, readily available and holds up extremely well even against antifreeze and heat.
Jim Merz

I'll second Jim's suggestion for Rustoleum Burgandy. IMHO, the color is right and it's very sturdy. The Moss engine paint, unless they've changed its formulation in the past few years, gets destroyed by antifreeze or common cleaners. Bud
Bud Krueger

The Autumn Red TF that was on eBay is the exact color and interior I want to do mine in. 49 Gs? Never happen! 35 maybe? PJ
P Jennings

This thread was discussed between 25/11/2011 and 27/11/2011

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