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Having embarked upon the creation of the SELNEC Preservation Society on 27th January 1987 and started to acquire a number of vehicles and identified the vehicles that we would one day hope to secure for preservation it did occur to us that there would be a number of liveries involved in returning vehicles to their original condition. Therefore to identify the correct paint code specifications for when these vehicles were returned to their original condition was a necessary item of research.

Having already made the mistake of painting 7206 (VNB 177L) our first preservation candidate in the wrong shades of Sunglow Orange and Mancunian White, having based these on dry samples that had faded over the years rather than obtaining the correct computer generated colour specifications, we were adamant for the future that no such repeat mistakes would be replicated and therefore over the years we have built up a database of the colours of the other vehicles that we either have in preservation or would like to have in preservation so that they can be correctly identified and manufactured when required for repainting.

This work has been undertaken along with activities in securing the appropriate transfers for SELNEC/GMT and GM Buses vehicles which also need to be correct in terms of their size, typeface, colour and precise wording which we have undertaken with a great amount of help and assistance from the Museum of Transport in Manchester.

The paint specifications we have identified that reflect the vehicles we have in preservation are either British Standard colours which local paint manufacturers, H. Marcell Guest, Riverside Works, Manchester, to replicate for us or where we have had to obtain wet samples which we have had to have spectro-analysed and these have been given specific unique HMG numbers so that we can have them replicated from time to time as and when supplies are required. SELNEC Sunglow Orange is Masons T3502 and SELNEC Mancunian White is Masons T3667. These have been replicated by HMG and given reference numbers 15029 and 15030. In terms of Greater Manchester colours their Metropolitan Orange is 06E55 Pantone 165 which is a British Standard colour and GMT White is also a British Standard 00E55.

In 1981 Greater Manchester Transport changed its orange and white livery to white, orange and brown, but used the same white and orange but a darker shade of brown to that used previously on the wheels. The white was applied to the roof and looks much brighter than the white applied on the orange and white livery but the reason for this is many of the early orange and white Standards were varnished at Northern Counties giving the white an off-white appearance. However, when in 1981 the white, orange and brown livery was released the white roof was not varnished, hence appearing to be whiter but it was the same reference 00E55 and the same Metropolitan Orange was used 06E55. However, a much darker brown was used for the skirt and bonnet and the wheels, this being 06C40.

Just before Greater Manchester Transport was transformed into Greater Manchester Buses they launched their new Express liveried vehicles and these had a salmon coloured background known as light orange which is a special mix to the match of the ink reference Pantone 162. The Express markings were provided by Milden Eagle with reflective red lettering outlined printed in dark brown. The three colour stripes on these vehicles are brown, red and orange. The brown and orange are from the white, orange and brown GMT livery at the time 06C40 and 06E55. However, the red was 04E55 which is better known as Rail Red subsequently used as the First Manchester Red livery.

The colour causing us the most concern has been the the light brown used between 1974 and 1981 on the wheels of Greater Manchester Transport vehicles. This was lighter than the brown subsequently used in the white, orange and brown livery, being 06C40 Pantone 469. We had not obtained the reference number for it as we had with the others from GMT and consequently when we had to paint the wheels on 8001 (XBU 1S) we called in the Museum of Transport in Manchester for their assistance. They had taken a sample of the light brown wheel colour off EX62 and had it spectro-analysed for paint to be made in order to paint the wheels on 5871 in its Greater Manchester Metropolitan Orange and White livery. We therefore had a sample of this paint spectro-analysed again by HMG who gave it their reference 15867 and applied it to the wheels of 8001 which makes it look the same as 5871, similar of course to EX62. However, we were determined to find out the correct British Standard specifications for this brown and had been advised by individuals employed by Greater Manchester at the time the livery was created on 1st April 1974 and it is extremely likely to have been British Standard 08D45 and this is the colour we have had manufactured and applied to 5001 (GBU 1V).

Parking it next to 8001 (XBU 1S), the two colours do look very similar and consequently we have taken the view that this is more than likely the right colour bearing in mind any variation will be explained by the dry sample colour variation on 8001.

When Greater Manchester Transport became Greater Manchester Buses the orange changed again, particularly with the livery of the last 28 Olympians from 3278 in an all over orange livery with white roof, air doors, windscreen surrounds and head/spotlight surrounds. This was the Greater Manchester Buses "People on the Move" livery, although it is the case that 3278 was actually painted first of all in GMT Metropolitan Orange and was then repainted in GM Buses Orange at Northern Counties before delivery, a fact observed by members of the SELNEC Preservation Society at the time. The later orange is GMB Orange Pantone 172 Masons W1159 which wet sample has resulted in HMG reference 15449.

GM Buses later livery added a grey skirt (whortleberry) which is a standard colour 18B29 lustre finish. Thereafter GM Buses split North and South and the North added more whortleberry to their livery and a light grey which has Standard reference RAL7035. It is also the case that a number of vehicles were delivered with sprigged mounted wheels and these had grey wheels as opposed to fleet colour wheels, being brown or subsequent colours used and this grey used for the wheels was known as Derwent Grey Masons 524. The only other colour specification we needed to look at is the yellow used on the Ashton Miniline Dodge Minibuses in order to assist our member Greg Taylor with 1807 and the yellow line used on the Centreline Dominos' 1751 to 1770 which we understand to be Pantone 121 Light Yellow.

Other aspects of paint colours which we have had to deal with over recent times are the colour of the seat frames. In 7206 and 7185 the seat colour is light grey and we managed to match this with Standard Dulux house paint colour. When it came to the slightly bluer grey used for vehicles produced from 1973 onwards we had to have this colour matched for all existing seat frames and this has wet sample HMG reference 15571. We are also of the view that the correct colour for brown seat frames is the same as the brown external livery of white, orange and brown of 06C40

Finally, in all our restorations we have embarked upon removing all the seats from the vehicles and rectifying them inside which means dealing with the floors and in 7206 we sanded the floor down and varnished it but this did not produce a particularly satisfactory result. Consequently, in all subsequent rectifications we have painted the floors in floor paint based on a sample used by Greater Manchester Transport.

We actually tracked down the nearest specification to this which was Neogene A 1027 and have used this on a number of occasions until it was discontinued. Luckily, however, we had a wet sample which HMG spectro-analysed and gave it our own reference number which we use whenever ordering repeat supplies. In fact we have subsequently painted the floor of 7206 in this paint.

We trust members and other preservationists who read this article may find this review of paint specifications of assistance and if members have any further details or information about paint colour specifications we would be only too delighted to hear from them.

F28) Split of GM Buses into divisions
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