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What Are Original Castings Supposed to Look Like?


Another carb builder posted that a customer was unhappy because a car show judge told him the carb was the incorrect color.

So lets clear this up. What color were the castings supposed to be?

Answer: There is no correct answer.

From 1957-1970 and later the chromates used to preserve the zinc castings varied in strength and concentration. Holley was a factory turning out millions of castings. Their goal was not to appease a car show know it all in 2023 but to treat and prevent corrosion.

We the modern restorers have to go through great lengths to clean and treat the metal so it takes a good coating. Yes yes, most of us are pretty vain in regards to how the appearance is, but we are also charging a premium price for a premium product, so you the customer should expect quality from us.

As many of you know and have seen these when new, from light grey, dark grey, bright yellow, dull yellow, greenish yellow, highly iridescent in all the colors listed, or with no iridescence.

Below are two List 3259-1 GT350 carbs from the same year. On the left is one restored by the reknown Ford restorer Mr Bunetic. On the right was done by me here at AirFuelSpark. Which is correct? Both.

The bowls in front of the carbs are all NOS Cobrajet front bowls. They all came brand new in boxes dated roughly the same time. If that example doesn’t explain this, I don’t know what else will.

Almost all of us restorers have lots of build folders and the like posted online. You should find the look you like and go with it. This is one of the reasons I take a ton of photos from different angles and in different lighting around the shop. I never try to take glam photos, I only try to represent the exact appearance so a customer knows what they have coming.

As far as highly critical car show judges? I look forward to seeing the carbs they restore

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