[Healeys] Paint type

nconklin at sbcglobal.net nconklin at sbcglobal.net
Fri Oct 19 08:59:17 MDT 2018

Nice write up and documentation , Thanks Curt

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On Thursday, October 18, 2018, 10:42 PM, Curtis Arndt <cnaarndt at gmail.com> wrote:

With all due respect, sorry but you are mistaken on a number of points. 
Michael Salter... Please make this my first revision for the next Concours Guidelines update. 
First off, the badges were never Cloisonne, they are red enamel.  Yes, the Concours Guidelines state that they are Cloisonne, the Guidelines are WRONG.  I am officially submitting an update for the next Concours Guidelines revision.
Copied from the Concours Guidelines...
"All cars up through the Mark I 3000s had flat Austin-Healey "wings" mounted on the front between the grille and bonnet opening, with red cloisonné lettering inset in chrome."  
Change to read "red enamel lettering"

This is where the confusion first arises!
Secondly, all Austin Healey badges were red enamel from the very first BN1 in 1953 through the BJ8 at chassis no. 39975. After that they were indeed painted red.  Also copied from the Concours Guidelines...
"BJ8s produced starting around C. 39,975 (approximate date – December 1966) had a similar badge that was not cloisonné but was painted red instead of the cloisonné. These later badges have a smooth background instead of the pebbled background of the enameled badges." 
Change to read "was not enamel but was painted red instead of the enamel."
Karla Maxwell, a trained jeweler with 45+ years experience who owns Maxwell Enamels will tell you, as she told me 25 years ago that automotive badges are enamel and NOT Cloisonne.  Karla is the premier automotive emblem restorer in the US, is in high demand for Pebble Beach participants, is a neighbor and personal friend of 25+ years. Karla has restored a number of badges personally for me, and I have done some Bakelite restoration work for Karla for Pebble Beach cars that she was working on.  Oh, and Karla's business is Maxwell Enamels NOT Maxwell Cloisonne.  In the UK the best known badge restorer is PD Enamels, NOT PD Cloisonne.
I hope that this clears things up once and for all.
This is from Karla's FAQ section of her website... http://www.maxwellenamels.com/FAQs.html
FAQ... How was my emblem created? 

These enameled emblems are often, incorrectly, referred to as cloisonné. Cloisonné is an enamel process in which separate bands of metal are bent then applied to a base. These labor intensive bands encase the enamel and create the design. I have yet to see an automobile emblem done with cloisonné. The process that is used is called champlevé (pronounced shomp´-leh-vay).

The champlevé technique involves applying enamel into depressions in the base metal. These depressions may be etched, engraved or, in the case of automobile emblems, die stamped. The stamping process can also include the beautiful design work that shows under transparent enamels. 

Historically the word enamel meant glass but today it seems to refer to any shiny color. The correct terminology is vitreous [glass] enamel. It is a true glass that melts and fuses around 1400 degrees F.  Enamel can be obtained as opaque, translucent or transparent. The colors are created by the addition of metallic oxides to the glass.


On Thu, Oct 18, 2018 at 8:31 PM Gary R. Brierton <gbrierton at hotmail.com> wrote:

OK...let's try and clear this up.  As I understand it, the "flat wings with the Austin-Healey script" commonly seen on BN1, BN2 and (I don't know when it stopped), had red paint of unknown shade in the etched out lettering.  Along came the larger badges with MKII or whatever, incloisonne. THEN, to really screw us up, those badges returned to red paint of unknown shade, seemingly during BJ8 production.  As was true with almost everything involving our cars, the exact change VIN number for all of this is largely indeterminate, at least as far as trim pieces are concerned...oh, and some major body parts, like wings with one  or two signaling lights, swag lines, whatever.  Reliable reports (from D.M.H.!) state that the guiding principle in assembling our cars was "use up what was on hand".I claim no expertise beyond owning Austin-Healeys and associating with their owners for over 50 years (so, mainly the 6 cylinder cars).Take it away, Curt, Randy, Steve, et. al.😁
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