At one time all vehicles were offered in black, black…or you could choose black instead. Then came maroon, dark green then some of the more sombre colours British vehicles were famous for.

Tekaloid Black

One of the leading brands of paint was Tekaloid by Thornley & Knight, a very durable coach enamel that was originally applied with a brush. It’s characteristics were such, that a skilled coachbuilder could make it dead flat and very shiny. Spray painting was further developed to allow faster and easier application of paints, with a much higher chance of achieving a mirror finish.

You can still buy Tekaloid from companies such as Breakwells Paints but I kept two or three tins of original paint when clearing my Dad’s cellar and workshop. The first two tins hadn’t been closed properly and had dried out. The last tin however was fine…and once stirred was totally usable.

These days, many vintage motorcycles are either stove enamelled or painted using a toxic ‘two pack’ paint solution. Just ‘painting’ is frowned on for some reason, especially when it comes to frames. Personally, I don’t like powder coating…the paint thickness tends to be quite thick, meaning you have to scrape some off to get parts to fit, and if it gets chipped or cracked, water can get under the paint and wreak rusty havoc. For me, I’d rather have a paint job done by a traditional craftsman.

Inevitably, motorcycles get the odd ‘ding’ or scratch. Whilst you can use most paints for ‘touch up’ purposes, I use my trusty tin of old Tekaloid. It takes several hours to dry but does a good job.

Keep your eyes open and you might find some at an autojumble.