Burgundy is Brown ?

It has been the most frustrating past few days – I have spent more than just a few hours trying to figure out what the Suzuki paint code is for the colour I want to paint my GT750 project bike. It had been painted with what looked to be 1978 GS750 colours, and as that fit with my design premise I had planned to go with the same colour scheme. I am wiser now.

I had originally thought it would be fairly simple – the ownership/registration said it was ‘brown’, and the side covers and original tank certainly looked brown, but there was an obvious snag with this – none of the GT750’s were actually ‘brown’ so that meant that the registration must have been changed at some point from the original (whatever that was) when it was re-done in GS750 colours. Unfortunately when you start to dig into things, the colour ‘brown’ actually doesn’t show up on the Suzuki colour listings at all, other than for tape used as tank trim in 1978, although there is a ‘brownish black’ listed in 1983. To add to the confusion, when I look at photos of 1978 GS750 Suzuki’s like the one to the right, at least a few of them certainly do look ‘brownish’, so it was a bit of a puzzle which led me to do more than a few searches on the web to try and solve it.

Although I found several good information sources, they each seemed to be short on some detail – the Ozbook site has a really good list put together by an Rick Best, which is a fantastic bit of work, but focuses on Suzuki 2 strokes between 1968 and 1977, and it doesn’t include trim information and which colour combinations were used on the different models of bikes. Another really great source of information is maintained by Jarmo Haapamaki called Suzuki Cycles and which includes data and photos of almost (I’ll be honest – I personally do not know of one he has missed, but I’m being cautious) every Suzuki ever made. This is a site to bookmark as the photos are invaluable, but again, it misses paint code data in many cases, and also doesn’t show which colour combinations were used in each model, other than via the photos. Most of the on line fiches do not show paint code information, other than on the part numbers themselves, but having just a number and no idea what colour it actually was is not a lot of help. Suzuki part numbers of painted items are in the form 00000-00000-xxx, where the last three places on the right are the colour code. So 291 for example happens to be a semi-gloss black, and a side cover for a 1977 GT750B is part number 47211-31200-291, but just by itself, ‘291’ doesn’t tell you much.

Luckily, this is when I found Alpha Sports and I am most grateful to them – they have put on line the full fiche set for Suzuki all the way back to 1965, and most importantly, unlike most other sites, they have not left out the pages with all of the paint and colour combination information !

So – what I’ve been doing for the past few days, is compiling a spreadsheet with this data which will be available from my GT750 project site this coming weekend. A few words of caution – this is a work in progress, and as such will change. It may (most probably does) have a few errors and it is incomplete as I’ve focused on the models I’m personally interested in between 1972 and 1979 (although I have tried to capture all the models between 1965 and 1971) – I also do not plan to include bikes made after 1983 for the moment, as I’m only interested in ‘vintage’ bikes and I somewhat arbitrarily choose to consider those to be anything over 25 years of age ! I have cross checked it with the data provided by Rick Best on the Ozbook site, the cross part reference database from Zedder, the photos in Suzuki Cycles and spot checked against the fiche data on the Power Sport site. The sheet is offered as a PDF – if anyone has data they think should be included, or has a correction they feel I need to make (and has documentation to support it) just let me know via email at oldjapanesebikes (at) shaw (dot) ca.

And the colour for the project bike ? You’ll recall that trying to resolve that puzzle is what started this journey – it turns out that what looks like brown is either a burgundy, colour code 05N or perhaps a maroon colour code 05U or 05L. Now I just have to narrow it down, and then find someone to mix it for me here in Calgary.

Sept 13th update – my first pass at the Suzuki paint code data is now available here.

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