308 Paint Labels

My car needs a new paint sticker to replace one lost sometime in the last 37 years. The question is which one?

Missing Ferrari 308 paint label
Where my label should be

Scaglietti used four types of paint sticker during the 308’s production and two different paint suppliers: Glasurit and (Glidden) Salchi. In order to know which sticker should be on my car, I needed to work out the timeline for the paint suppliers and stickers. Also, painting was taken in-house from Scaglietti in Modena to Ferrari in Maranello sometime during 1978 with Scaglietti delivering unpainted bodyshells to Maranello after this point.

Dealing with the late cars first, 308 production ended in May 1985 at which point Ferrari was applying the Glasurit sticker below. Glasurit was the sole paint supplier for the later 308s. Glasurit continued to provide paint to Ferrari until 1997/1998 when Ferrari transitioned to PPG.

Glasurit Ferrari paint label
Glasurit label used in the early 80s
(Source: ebay.com)

I don’t have an exact date when Ferrari switched from Salchi to Glasurit paint but I believe it was sometime in 1982 and certainly after May 1981. There may not have been a single changeover point if some colours were from the new manufacturer while others were from the old. Certainly Glasurit and Salchi did not offer identical colours; for example ‘Ferrari red’ was rosso chiaro under Salchi but rosso corsa under Glasurit and both the name and shade are different with rosso chiaro being slightly lighter than rosso corsa.

The earlier cars from 1975 to 1982 were painted using Salchi lacquer paint. Three distinct paint labels were used during that time, principally due to changes to the Salchi company name. In 1975, at the beginning of 308 production, the paint supplier was Glidden Salchi and the following label was being applied under the engine cover to record the paint code of the car:

Ferrari 308 paint label
Early typed Glidden Salchi label (76 GTB s/n 19399)
(Source: Barry Wollinsky)

Salchi was an Italian paint manufacturer that was owned from 1971 until around June 1977 by US industrial conglomerate SCM (formerly Smith-Corona Marchant). Specifically, Glidden-Salchi, as it was known, was part of the SCM Coatings and Resins division which had formally been the Glidden paint company prior to merging with SCM in 1967. Therefore from the beginning of production through to until mid-1977 the paint labels on 308s looked like the label above.

The label has the Glidden logo with Salchi written below it. The label also identifies Glidden-Salchi as a licensee of SCM Coatings and Resins in the upper left corner. The label has two fields of which only the lower one is normally filled in with the code for the paint colour, for example, 20-R-190 for rosso chiaro. Early labels were typed as the one above while later ones were hand-written, as below. All subsequent labels would be hand-written until the Glasurit labels (which were separately printed with each colour code.)

Hand-written Ferrari 308 paint label
Hand-written label (Mar 77 GTB s/n 21083)
(Source: bringatrailer.com)

In mid-1977 SCM, the owners of the Glidden trademark sold its Salchi subsidiary [1], [2], and a second Salchi label type is introduced without the Glidden logo, as shown below on this label on a 1978 GTS:

Salchi paint label
Post Glidden-Salchi split paint label (77 GTS)
(Source: Brett Gagnon)

I do not have a precise date for the introduction of the second label but I believe it was near to the end of 1977 or even sometime in early 1978. 308 s/n 22927 was built in November 77 with the first type of Glidden Salchi label. Note that although the Glidden logo was removed from the label, Salchi is still listed as a licensee of SCM Coatings and Resins. This Salchi double-field label was used until late 1978 when the third and final Salchi label was introduced:

Final version of the Salchi label (79 GTB s/n 30477)
(Source: petrolicious.com)

The third label is a variant of the second with an identical Salchi logo but with a single field for the paint code. The reviously concise “Vernice” (Paint) text is replaced with the somewhat wordier “Questa vettura e stata verniciata con smalto” (This car has been painted with enamel) label.

So did my 78 308 originally have a two-field Salchi label or a single field Salchi? To answer that I’d need more research…

I reached out to fellow fchat members and scoured online for-sale listings to build a picture of which labels were used when. After 6 months I had a period for the changer over from the two field stickers to the single field stickers of sometime in mid-November 1978. The only problem was my car was built in mid-November! I still did not know if my car should have a two-field label or a single-field label.

And that was how it remained until about a year ago when a fellow fchat member announced he had purchased a low-miles 78 308 GTS serial number 26355. This serial number is two cars earlier than mine (at that time serial numbers were only odd, so no 26356 or 26358). Now 26357 was a silver 512 BB built on a different production line, so 26355 was literally the car in front of mine on the production line. And what’s more… it still had its paint label…

The paint label of the car built immediately before mine
(Source: Richard – lm2504me)

But wait a minute… what happened to the horse? It is missing from this label and the blue is a slightly darker hue. So now we have a fourth type of label. Furthermore, another November car, with a serial number after my car, 26481, has the same dark blue but with a horse:

A fifth variation of the Salchi label

So what does this all mean? Well, I still don’t know for sure what paint label my car originally came with. It was definitely the single field Salchi label, and I think it is probable that the label was printed with the darker blue rather than the earlier light blue. But did that label have a horse on it? I have no idea 🙂


[1] https://www.linkedin.com/pub/cesare-vergani/60/501/920

[2] http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/the-glidden-company-history/

Disclaimer: 308restoration.com describes the restoration work I perform on my car and only my car. I am not a professional mechanic. The website content is presented for entertainment purposes only and should not be seen as any kind of advice, information, instruction or guidance for working on any other car. The opinions stated here are my own and no-one else’s.

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4 Responses

  1. Kevin Bento says:

    I believe you can get labels from Superformance UK. I may be placing an order with them soon, if you want I can order it and save you $ on the shipping. Im in NY, so Im somewhat local to you (Im in Newburgh, NY).

    Question, have you ever done any work with the “Expansion Tank” in your car? Specifically the coolant temp switch thats under it? Mine is an ’85 308QV so it may be different from yours. Ive removed mine and tested it and seems to me Normally Closed, and I think its supposed to be Normally Open, and close at a certain temp (57 C, and open at 33 C). Its stamped “57/33” on it. I think mine is malfunctioning, or its the wrong swirch for my year car. The Aux Air Valve seems to be wrong also (from a 328), so I have the correct one on order.

    Just curious. Love your posts, keep it up!

    • David says:

      Hi Kevin, thank you for your comment. I’m pretty sure superformance only have the Glasurit labels but thank you for the offer. We are indeed local… I’m in Rockland County.

      I have not touched my expansion tank although it needs repainting. I’m not sure the carb cars have any kind of switch there and I don’t have any experience with QVs cooling system I’m afraid.


  2. Sean Brennan says:

    Many thanks David. Love your work! Now I know exactly what paint code sticker to get for my 77 308. I know Eurospares have some Gillden Salchi type stickers but haven’t looked at them carefully. Parker Hall might be a good contact as well. I will let you know if I find anything.
    Thanks again and best wishes.

    • David says:

      Hi Sean.

      Thank you for your comment. It looks like Eurospares have a two-field reproduction label on their website.


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