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Paint for WW1 British vehicles

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Would anyone know the shade of green likely used on a 1914 Pattern Rolls-Royce Armoured car (western front service)?

I'm looking for a present day colour match if possible. I contacted Bovington who were very helpful, but they didn't have a suggestion. I also got a colour swatch from Gillespie coatings (USA) of a dozen military shades of green, but which one (if any) to use?

With the chassis of my '25 Silver Ghost RRAC now almost complete, it's time to paint it (and the armour plate once I get to that stage) before putting the drive train back in for the final time.

Perhaps there is a verified shade from a primary source used on other WW1 British vehicles which could be used? 

No Airfix colour suggestions please unless verifyable, this is not a model.

Roger (USA) 

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Hi Roger, In 1914, miltary vehicles were painted in a 'battleship' grey. This was superseded  during 1915 by the introduction of 'Service Colour', which was a drab 'bronze' green supplied in powdered pigment form, to be mixed by the units and workshops themselves. This led to a variety of shades and explains the differences found in surviving samples.

My own project, Thornycroft J type 2393 has been matched to an original sample from a 1917 dated equipment box, the inside of which has been protected and has survived well. I would be happy to send you a sample to match to if you pm your address.



Your project sounds very interesting and I'm sure there would be considerable interest in some pictures or even a thread !





Edited by Tomo.T
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Hello Tomo and thank you for your very informative reply.

Having studied the vast majority of RRAC pics online over the past few years, I decided to build a 'tribute' 1914 pattern RRAC on a 1925 Rolls -Royce chassis I purchased from a marque collector in Pennsylvania USA.

Differences in the chassis between '14 and '25 are minimal and it takes a trained eye as they say...

Replica builds out there vary from pretty good to should be used for large calibre target practice. I'm hoping to build an accurately dimensionsed vehicle with equipment for in field service of 1918 but in 'green' rather than Camo and Uralite seen in 1918.

As a long standing active member of the US based Great War Association in Newville PA, it will indeed see service in the field and will of course be Vickers armed with a crew of 3. About 700 of us meet twice a year (pandemic permitting) and recreate battles in France of 1918 on the no public allowed 150+ acre site, complete with dug outs, trenches, shell holes, red cross, dressing stations, period 12 bed field hospital and lashings of barbed wire in a heavily cratered No Mans Land. It's quite the experience, especially when 6 biplanes dog fight over the mile of trenches...

Anyway, enough of the background before this post is diverted to another forum, I'd be very interested in obtaining a paint chip from the ammo box or a matching paint code so I can have it mixed. I'll contact you accordingly.

Here's a pic of the build to give you an idea of how it's coming along.

Regards to all


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Sounds like a great project.  There was a replica WWI RR Silver Ghost project here in Australia a few years ago but the bloke passed away and when the RR came up for auction, the wining bidder only took the rolling chassis and the scrappy got the complete replica body which went to China in the great scrap drive at the time.  Do you have the correct Silver Ghost engine and running gear or are you going to use the what ever engine you have removed?  I am restoring a 1929 20/25hp Rolls and I am lucky to have the complete rolling chassis with all matching numbers. This is the 20/25 chassis as it is at the moment. It was severely damaged in an accident in 1974 but is now dead straight.


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Hello Rick,

Thanks for posting the pic of your frame.

Originally, I was going to fabricate a chassis and had planned to source some wheels and springs etc. from the Rolls- Royce Foundation (USA) where I volunteer one day a month. Then I located the R-R chassis I subsequently acquired. There was a Phantom P1 drive train in it, but the owner already had a buyer for it. Regardless, the P1 engine is quite different from the motor that was fitted to the RRACs, so it was never really a serious option.

Once word began to spread of my build in R-R circles, people began to contact me and that led to me locating a 'correct' engine and gearbox at what was really a very favourable price. I took a trip to Steve Litten at Ghost Parts near Cleveland Ohio USA as he specializes in the restoration of Silver Ghosts. Very accommodating chap originally from NZ, Steve took me through his extensive workshops where his team were restoring several 'Civilian' Ghosts. As we moved from room to room, I began to make mental notes of what I would need for this engine and the costs involved. It wasn't long before I ran out of fingers and realized the price of parts alone was going into the tens of thousands of (US) Dollars.

So bearing in mind that this is not a restoration of an original vehicle and that it will be used in (reenactor) anger on a variety of off-road terrain, focus became more on correct exterior appearance and driveability than originality. I therefore decided on and easily located a Ford 300 inline 6 engine ( 4.9 Liter) of mid '80s manufacture and a Ford 4 speed gearbox with a 'Granny' first gear. Using a cam designed for this engine when used in a RV motorhome application, it will have plenty of low end grunt to carry a crew of 3, our personal equipment a Vickers and around 800 rounds of (blank) .303 ammo on an extended 4 day weekend at Newville giving the Hun a damn good thrashing. These are full immersion events, rather like a Territorial/National Guard weekend but using WW1 equipment. Only in America!

As you can see from pics in my previous post, I made a drive shaft to link the Ford gearbox to the R-R rear axle and torque tube (which contains a partial R-R driveshaft  3/4 length with a 10 bolt flange). The radiator is a genuine R-R item circa 1917 and is of dubious water tightness. It's a huge cast iron affair and took 2 people to lift it into place on the chassis. To handle cooling, I 've bolted an aluminium rad to the back of it with a (coincidentally) 1918cfm Spal puller fan.  In reality, it's unlikely I'll ever get out of 2nd gear in the terrain of Newville PA, so after discussion with Spal USA, the fan should do the job.

Engine mounts are a combination of R-R and my modifications/fabrications - no original lugs were harmed in the installation of the Ford Powertrain, so if for any reason in the far future, someone wanted to convert the car back to civilian spec. with a body and OE engine, they can do so without cursing my memory. 



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Hi Roger,  Thank you for all that.  I can understand exactly where you are coming from re the costs involved.  My 20/25hp has 'One Shot' lubrication which obviously hasn't worked for a long time and the shackles and bushes all have to be replaced.  A big expensive job but so what, if I don't spend it my kids will, so I've taken up skiing. 'Spending the Kids Inheritance'. This is a photo of my car, GGP19, taken about 1968. It is known in Australian RR circles as 'The Safari Saloon'  If I can get it back to that, I will be happy.  Regards Rick.


aaa 1929 GGP19 9.jpeg

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17 hours ago, Citroman said:

There was a replica rolls-royce armoured car here on the site. They made it for film use.

Yes, made out of a Bedford by the looks of it.


From memory there are no 1914 Pattern Armoured cars about? The irish one and the one at Bovington are the 1920 pattern



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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello all,

There is an original 1914 Pattern Rolls Royce armoured car in Ahmednagar India.  It is in a very sorry condition.  It's wire wheels were swapped for NAP wheels when in service in the 1920s.

Rumor has it that this car was measured and a replica based on these measurements was started in Australia some years ago, but the replica was lost in the transfer of a business.  I don't know if this is the same Australian replica mentioned in the thread above, but I would like to find these measurements as they are the only ones known to exist of an actual 1914 Pattern car and I am not likely to make a trip to India with a measuring tape anytime soon!



Roger, what have you got for plans?  To my knowledge there are no surviving original plans from 1914.  There is however a 1930s plan set prepared by Air Ministry for the RAF which details the update of a 1914 Pattern RR.  A few sheets from this set are reproduced in David Fletcher's excellent Haynes Manual.  This plan set mostly details the equipment going into the car though, as they apparently already had the body and chassis.  I have a copy of this plan set so if you need any particulars we can discuss by PM.  Here's the main index sheet from this set, as shown in the Haynes manual:


(Note:  This book seems to be going out of print, but may still be available through the Tank Museum's Shop online)

The RREnthusiasts Club archives has quite a number of plans of the mechanical bits that make up the chassis of the 1920 Pattern as well as the India Pattern, but dimensioned plans of the bodywork are hard to come by.  There are a few golden nuggets to be found there though.

Let me know if you need any information on Rolls Royce armoured cars.  I've been collecting books and images for more than 20 years, so I have quite a bit.


Mark (USA)

Edited by MarkV
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