308 Paint Labels

Published by David Flett on

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

This is 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.

Ferrario 308 PPG 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:

Early Ferrari 308 Glidden 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.)

Ferrari 308 pain 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:

Ferrari 308 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:

Late Ferrai 308 Salchi paint label
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…

Ferrari 308 Salchi 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:

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 🙂

Thanks to all those 308 owners that helped me formulate the correct labels and the date ranges and who granted me permission to reproduce their photos.


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

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

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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.

Categories: Research


Donald Bartz · May 20, 2021 at 1:37 am

Excellent! Thanks for taking the time to research this. This stuff is always helpful.

Tim Ross · May 20, 2021 at 3:52 am

Have you checked the sizes of the different versions or the corner radius? You might be able to determine which label you had by the size and the leftover marks on the trunk lid. Just a thought…

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