The magical brown color of seventies Citroën parts

When I removed the engine from the engine bay, I noticed the fan case of the engine needed some love and attention too; the paint was faded and the metal rusty in certain areas. Because I’m a sucker for nicely painted stuff, I decided to paint this part as well. But then began the mighty search for the magical brown color of those parts.

Citroën used all kinds of paint for the mechanical parts of it’s cars. The green color of all kinds of LHM parts is one of them. Also, the grey color of all kinds of auxillary stuff in the engine bay like air filter housings and also the destinct brown color of the sheet metal that is shaped to fit the engine and guides the cooling air along the oil cooler and cylinder heads of my Ami8.

It is also used on the cooling casing of other A-types with (almost) the same configuration as the Ami8; the 2CV, Dyane and Mehari. The Citroën GS and CX have subframes painted in the same color and maybe it was used on some other models as well?

I know that this color was not always used. A friend of mine has a Ami 8 from 1971 and this car has an original engine with black cooling casing. I have yet to do some research on when it was used exactly, but my first mission was to find the color code in order to get the right paint.

This turned out to be rather difficult. A lot of connaisseurs I asked didn’t have an answer.

I went to a paint shop with a small item in the right color, but the part turned out not suitable to put under the color scanner to get a proper scan result it was too contaminated (rusty) .


On the biggest Citroën forum of The Netherlands, I found a topic where people asked the same question. The answer was that the paint matches the RAL8017 color best. But when I looked at the pictures of the parts painted with this color, it seemed far to milk chocolate brown; too light and without a red hue that the original color has. Someone on the forum painted the part and proved that this is not the right color code at all:

Someone on the Citroen Forum used RAL8017 (right) on the fan shroud, but compared to the original color (left) it is way off…

Ok, this doesn’t work. What are my options. I decided to turn to Facebook to ask the question in some groups. Although I dislike Facebook as a company very much, for these kinds of questions it turns out to be a great platform because so many people with the same weird love for Citroen cars as me are on it.


Besides the expected answers like “RAL8017”, “Just scan it”, “Make it black”, I got an interesting answer: it could very well be AC727, also called “Brun de chassis” or “Marron Foncé”. When I googled this color, I got results that seemed to resemble the colour very much. Another suggestion was AC409 “Brun Palissandre” which is a color used on the DS in 1962/1963. And a final tip was RAL8016 that has more of a mahogany type of hue than the chocolate brown of 8017.

This is more like it! I found the image when Googling for AC727

Unfortunately, the paint shop were I order my paint (, doesn’t have the color AC727 on record neither do they know the recipe for AC409. I finally decided to order a can of RAL8016 to see if it matches. If not, the search continues. The last option is to clean the bottom part of the engine cooling casing and let the paint shop try to scan this in order to make some matching custom paint.

In the meantime, I was told a wonderful and interesting story from the owner of the biggest A-type garage in The Netherlands. He told me that the rumour was that Citroen at the end of the painting process mixed all paint that was left in one container with some black paint. This turned out to be this particular dark brown color. I don’t know if its true, but I love the story.

RAL 8016?

RAL8017 wrong brown color for Citroën parts
RAL 8016 (top) is totally wrong!!

Unfortunately, as you can see in the picture above, the RAL8016 color turned out to be far from the correct color; the upper one has some 8016 on it, below the original color. And so the saga continues. I am going to dismantle the other metal cooling parts and get it scanned. But is it possible to scan the deteriorated and weirdly shaped spare parts?

Marron Foncé it is

The paint shop couldn’t scan the part, due to the deterioration of the paint and the area of the part that has to be flat to scan it, has to be at least the size of a packet of cigarettes.

I turned to a different paint store and asked if they could make the AC727 “Marron Foncé” color. They could! I sprayed the sheet metal of the engine cooling in this color. Looks good, but not exactly the same color as the original. Maybe in 10 years, when I take the engine out again 🙂


  • RAL 8017: NO!
  • RAL 8016: NO!
  • AC727: Not perfect, but close enough for me

Update: even more confusion!


When I visited 2CV Garage Sander Aalderink, the mechanics were busy restoring a 2CV from the late seventies. They were looking for this specific color too. They started digging in crates of spare parts and found two (seemingly) original parts with different colors. In the picture you see a brake-cooling shroud and the (bottom) interior air shroud. Notice the totally different colors! The brake cooling looks a lot more brown, almost like RAL8017, so maybe that is “correct” after all. The part on the right looks more like the color that is used in my Ami. I am very confused ? If you know more about this matter, let me know!

Confusion is complete; both original parts, both totally different colors

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