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BMW PAINT, COLOR CODES, etc. 1970 - ??

© copyright, 2014, R. Fleischer


Be SURE to read this ENTIRE Introductory Section!!

This page contains a summary of all 1970 & later BMW Airhead motorcycle colors & paint codes, that I know about, and, while it is mostly North America shipped colors, I HAVE added some European information over the years here.   I have some links to UK & Euro information sources.

There is also SOME, not extensive, information on K bike and Oilhead colors. 

I DO have a LOT of information on older BMW car paints, you can ask about a specific model, year, color.

Each BMW motorcycle (and cars too) is coded with a three-digit paint finish code number.     BMW motorcycles use that code number, usually found on a label under the seat, to refer to an over-all paint job..... this is a FINISH code; that covers the entire paint job.  Europeans refer to that finish code as a Scheme code.  All of which means exactly what I say here. 

This is NOT a number that describes 'just' the color of the paint....although that is often also the case.  You can think of this as the number describes an entire paint color and layout....except for exact paint gun passes, thickness of coatings, exact placement of pinstripes, other words it is not a full engineering description, but it IS a solid description of the products used.  This code does describe, or not fully, pin-striping, even dual-pin-striping.   I can help you with SOME of the information, for USA and for Europe/UK, but please do not ask unless you have serious reasons for doing so, as it takes a LOT of my time to delve through the various literature I have to determine a good answer for you!

Glasurit, and some others, have information....they know what that BMW FINISH code means.    This is particularly troublesome with the pinstriping and the smoked colors, and the orange R90S paint job.     There may be several color coats used, and a finishing top clear coat, one or more colors or types of pinstriping, all depends on the model.  

For example, you might have a bike whose under-seat label has 572.   That is a specific BMW color, Magenta Red, and you CAN get paint in that color.   But...for 572 you also need a clear coat, and what about the gold pin-striping used most often with that paint code?    Is it a single pin-stripe or a dual pin-stripe?  Is it installed before the top clear coat, or underneath? How many layers or dusting coatings of a paint to use to get the appropriate depth of color?...too much/many may be darker than originally intended!  

This is just one area where a highly experienced professional painter earns their money.   In some instances there is a BASE color coat, which then has an over-coat to get some desired effect...or more than one....and then perhaps a clear coat.   SOME paints are NOT clear coated.  When investigating a paint code you may need to contact the paint manufacturer, try Glasurit (see note 5 below) for the information, although some of this is found in BMW literature/parts lists

Not only are these things confusing, but you may find in some instances that the colors and coatings, etc., are all the same, but a different code number signifies perhaps a different PATTERN to a pinstripe.   BMW and Butler & Smith, the importers of the early BMW bikes, sometimes had different names for the same color when used on different models!

BMW themselves sometimes had different names for the same paint when used with different colors of pin striping.

BMW used a descriptive 00 for color for right hand drive cars, single 0 for left hand!

Additional information:
 1.  On matching colors and numbers:  In order to use that URL,  select "BMW". On the next page enter your color sticker number. The following page will have the trim code.  Use the first color number listed, enter it back into the previous page, it will give you the color name.  I have NOT compared everything in my chart, below, with the Glasurit website.

 2.  Even more
information is in literature such as the SNABB Katalog, BMW's microfiche, etc.

The first number in a BMW code is the paint, the second number is the finish code.  You will probably find that information confusing.

In 1983-1984, the front fender of the R80RT had ONE pinstripe; the R100RT had DUAL stripes.

Many paints previously available from BMW are no longer available; sometimes while NOT available from a California dealership due to VOC & other smog laws; they ARE available from other State's dealerships.   BMW dealerships have access to availability. In some instances a paint is NLA in fiche & in dealer information, but MAY still be available. You can try ordering it.    SEE #9 BELOW!

6.  For R-M paint (BASF's mid line):   If the paint formula is available, a BASF paint store can mix it for you.  Some formulas may only be available in certain types of paint (single, two stage, etc.). For Glasurit paint (BASF's high end line):

7.  Many sources for paint, here is another one:

 8.  RUST, TANKS, FRAMES, etc:
For the black frames, there are numerous black paint products that work fine. See two tables further down for recommendations.        
Aluminum door & window frame cleaners and Naval Jelly (any hardware store or Lowe's or Home Depot):   When touching up painted steel surfaces, & you have rust areas, do fine grit sanding & feathering into the 'OK' paint area, & then treat the area to either a metal etching liquid from the local store (it contains PHOSPHORIC ACID, & will so state on the container), OR; for surfaces where the liquid would flow off, use a similar gel product called Naval Jelly.  Naval Jelly usually works reasonably quickly.  The screen door & metal etch stuff will work reasonably quickly, but I usually use it diluted 1:1 with water, & let it sit overnight.   I do this for FRAMES as well as the INSIDE bottoms of fuel tanks, after the tanks are well-hosed-out with warmish water & a bit of detergent, then flushed well.  These phosphoric acid products CONVERT the RUST, even  HIDDEN rust under the edge of paint, to an iron phosphate type stuff that is grayish-blackish  & is PROTECTIVE.  Do NOT sand that off, only WASH the acid product off.  Let dry, repaint your rusted area you just fixed.

9.  Availability of paints from your BMW dealership varies, a LOT!   Some dealerships will, especially on their on-line fiche, show something not available, or not shippable.  It may well-be that the item is still available, so contact other dealerships & try out-of-State ones in particular.  This problem has been especially seen in California with its Rules & regulations about VOC's in paint.   As one example, the touch-up 'stick' which is really a small round container with a brush attached to the cap & a shaker-ball (?) inside, for the up-to 1980 black frames, is 51 91 0 302 284, & was still available in January 2013, when I typed this, yet many dealerships either had it as "Ended" or NLA, or not shippable.

10. Paint work can be tricky.  Smoke colors are not what you may think.  Lots of similar examples.  78 red smoke uses dark blue for the smoke; silver smoke job uses dark green for the smoke.  If you want 100% authenticity, contact someone like Holt's.

Alloy wheels are painted.  An EXCELLENT match for that paint is Würth's Silver Wheel Paint.

When painting, whether it is from a rattle-can....or from professional equipment, preparation of the surface is EVERYTHING!  Use of quality paints in a dust-free area is of considerable importance.   Absolutely no contaminants should be left on/in  the surfaces....this is especially important if there are any silicones from such as waxes/polishes having been used.  If the surface is not perfect, the final appearance will be much worse than you expect!

This is a rather short list for paint work.   I have not kept up this area.  Inquire on the appropriate Internet Mailing List or Forum.

Paint work:  Holt's, in Ohio.   740-593-6690 (also does fuel tank repairing)

Paint:   Excellent paints; can match any color.  Color-Rite.  Their chief Tech is Doug Hodgins, in the business for >40 years.  Small to large containers available; as well as aerosol cans; and a 'trick' touch-up pen. 
In the USA:  in Whittier, CA   (562) 947-9796
In Canada (418) 876-3867, if you are not French speaking, ask for Reggie.   in U.K.     0044 (0) 1707 273219 
Will, I think, ship worldwide.

Powder coating:   (1) Fusion Coatings, Livermore, CA
                             (2) This company does it
                                  REALLY right, even cooking
                                  the parts first; then coating,
                                  then fusing at temperature.
                                  HIGHLY recommended.
                                  Greber Machine Tool &
                                  Custom Powder Coating; 313
                                  Clark St. Elyria, OH   44035


If you supply me with the SCHEME (finish code) number, I may be able to supply you with the pinstriping number, if it is not in the tables in this article.

Reportedly, BMW pin stripes are 3.8 mm wide on the WIDE types; and, 2 mm wide on the NARROW types.   Spacing is 3 mm.

PINSTRIPING COLOR (BMW calls pinstriping:  RULING)

 Pinstriping number
Weiss 101
Gold 104
Blau 105
Feurrot 107
Minzgrün 108
Dunklebraun 110
Oliv 111
Orange 112
Red 113
Hellblau 114
Grün 116
Mittelrot 125
113, 114, 115, used with "MotorSport"  


 Miscellaneous codes, colors, containers, etc:

Snowflake wheel SILVER
51-91-1-240-868 in spray cans
51-91-240-867 in 1/4 liters. 
NOTE regarding the painted alloy wheels:  An EXCELLENT match for that paint is Würth's Silver Wheel Paint.
086 (and see in below chart too!, where was used/called AVUS black on the bike tank, etc.)


BMW frames before 1981.  To touch-up the Avus black on a frame, see #51-91-0-302-284, a touch up 'stick'.  See my note on availability of paints in general from your BMW dealership, item #9, ABOVE.  086 was also used for painting the other parts of some motorcycles, such as 1970-1976 (possibly other years)    
121 Schwartzmatt.  Semi-matte black BMW frames from 1981; spray cans 51-91-1-453-483    
FLAT BLACK (matt schwarz) used on Airheads, K-bikes, BMW CARS, and even on late BMW motorcycles like the S1000RR, etc.    Used on some frames, insides of fairings, etc. Spray can was 51-91-1-900-346    
BMW black luggage Good results have been seen for that black by using common truck bed liner paint, from rattle-cans!    
Classic K bike valve covers are black from the factory. Rustoleum Black Satin seems to match well enough    


Below are the actual paint codes for various models & years.  These numbers are not in complete numerical, scan down fully!

Every model that used a particular Paint Code MIGHT NOT be listed under the Models column.

For a more complete list of Paint Codes and Paint Schemes, see Phil Hawksley's website.  There may well be errors on that website....and, may not be USA codings.  NOTE that Phil's website has a page on PINSTRIPE colors, listed by CODE for the stripes! for the main site.
Note carefully the addresses!   Do NOT use


RE:  Those so-called Belgian Police R100RS bikes:

None of the "Belgian Police" R100RS bikes* had Red Smoke Paint. They had Red Metallic tanks and seat cowl, as well as the upper fairing with semi-matte back on the lowers, sidecovers and rear fender. The Red was the same as the 1977 R100S.

Some of those bikes had black lowers, others had all red fairings with black sidecovers. That whole run of bikes was a PITA for Butler & Smith. I think I got sent to the warehouse about 50 times to look at different bikes to make sure WHAT paint each had, because the dealers were selling the bikes, based on a vague description, then they would call AFTERWARD to see if that was what they were getting. One of the Sales Reps made up the BS story about the bikes being destined for the Belgian Police.

 *(they were never built for the Belgian Police, that is just a BS story that has persisted for so long that it is widely accepted)


Tom Cutter
Yardley, PA

Above is verbatim from Tom's posting to the Airheads List on 01/29/2017.


Paint Code Color Description Years Models
023 / 523 Granada Red  1973 - 1974 R50/5 - R90/6
051 / 052 Phoenix Gold Matt Flat Lowers; used with $113 and 104 1979 R100RT, R100T
057 Polaris Silver 1970 - 1971 R50/5 - R75/5
060 Imola Polaris Silver.  Metallic.  This color was never used on R100/7 shipped to the U.S. 1972 - 1974 R50/5 - R90/6
074 Green Metallic 1973 - 1974 R50/5 - R90/6
084 / 584 White, Federweiss.  Also in Europe, called Creme White when JUST code 084 1970 - 1976 R50/5 - R90/6.  Supposedly also used on Motorsport R100RS. In Europe, Creme White was on the R50/5.
086 Black (Avus), used with #101.

NOTE:  Avus Black was always 086, but has been used with 519/086/640/590/608, since year 1955.

1970 - 1976 R50/5 - R90/6; R80/7; with R100/7 add #125 Mittelrot
119  Anthrazit    
120 Dull black 1977-1978 R100/7 special
R100S, R100RS
130 Dk. Blue Met/Iceberg blue = Dunkelblau.  Used with #101 1979 - 1980 /7; R100T - R100RS
131 Silver, Hellsilber; with #101 & #112 1979 R100RS




This was the code for the 1978 R100RS "Motorsport" model.  The 585 is also called Weise Motorsport.   The painting consists of white panels using #083 white; the center fairing panel was red #133; the tricolor pinstriping was using colors 113, 114, 115 1978 R100RS MOTORSPORT
510 Daytona Orange, used with #107 1975 - 1976 R90S
511 Havana Gold.   Not gold, but almost a feces-colored brown, and was never used on R100/7 shipped to the U.S.  Havana Gold was used with gold pin-striping scheme, color 104 1976 - 1978 (only a few 1976 R90/6) R90/6 - R100/7, R75/7, and 1978 R80/7.   Supposedly available on R100S.  Supposedly not used on R100/7 to USA.


Bol D'or Red.  526 and 528 were used as Bol d'or-rot

It was reported to me that, at least in Germany, the code 528 signified TURQUOISE, and was used on 1992 or 1993, or both, R100RT

1975 - 1976

see to left
R60/6 - R90/6.

see to left

529 Curry--metallic
this is NOT the 002 color that was also used on some early cars
1972 - 1974 R50/5 - R90/6


530 Silver Metallic, with a clear coating-used with #105 1977 - 1978 R100RS
531 Red Metallic 1977 - 1978; maybe to 1980 R100/7 SPECIAL; R100S
532 Black Metallic.  Used with #104 1977 - 1978 R60/7 - R100/7
084 / 533 Blue Metallic.  May have been used with #101, not 084, unclear?? 1977 - 1978 R100/7 - R60/7
534 Burnt Orange Metallic. /6, /7 may have used it with #101 1977 - 1978 R100/7 - R60/7
538 Monza Blue metallic 1972 - 1976 R50/5 - R90/6
546 Gold Metallic, used with #110.   
There was also a M. Gold 046/546; and perhaps a 031/531 M. silver
1978 and possibly later R100RS
548  Silver Beige RT Lower/RS, used with #107 1980 R65???; R100RS  RT??
551 Red 1979 - 1980 R65
552 Phoenix Gold Upper    
553 Red Smoke (dunklerot), metallic, used with #104 1978 - 1980 R100S; R100RS; R100RT
556 Red/Silver 1979 R100T
561 Silver Smoke (TT-Silberrasch??)
 It was reported that the early R90S had its gold striping being a TAPE, and it was applied AFTER the clear coat
1974 - 1976 R90S, R100S
577  Nuerburg Green 1975 - 1976 R60/6 - R90/6
583 Motorsport (White) 1978 R100RS Sport
589 / 088 Bronco, may be used as 589/116 1979 - 1980 R65, R100T other /7+
509  Red Smoke 1981 - 1982 R100RT
520 Green Smoke metallic. Dark green metallic #164; Amazonas grün, used with #104.  Unclear, one source says Schwarz black 168 is used with a matt black 121. 1981 R100RT
507 Silver Graphite; known as Polaris graphite metallic with #163 1981 - 1982 - 1983 R100RS
508 Red Smoke.  As 508/509, with 553, was Lavarot.  Metallic, R100RS.  1981 - 1982 R10ORS; for R100RT add #104.
506 Classic Black, metallic, used with #162 and 104 on R100S 1981 R100CS
505 Silver, known as Stratos silver, used with 161 and 126, on R100/7 1981 - 1982 R100
504 Blue; called Atlantic Blue Metallic used with #124 and 125 on R100/7 1981 R100
519 Black; possibly used with 101, 125 1981 - 1982 - 1983 R100   R100/7
519 Black 1981 - 1982 - 1983  R65
518 Red 1981 - 1983 R65
501 Blue 1981 - 1982 R65
503 Turquoise 1981 R65
146 Alpine White 1981 R80GS
562  Henna Red 1982 - 1983 R65LS
563 Polaris Metallic 1982 - 1983 R65LS
519 Black 1982 R100RT
558 Pacific Blue Metallic 1982 - 1983 R80GS
559 Polaris 1983 R100
542 Alaska Blue; probably uses paint code 136 1983 R10ORS
573  Spheric Silver 1983 R100RT
572 Magenta Red 1983 R100RT
137 metallic mother of pearl white subcodes 571/621/634/650 various, and some K





Pearl White.   Some literature suggests that 999 was a Motorsport color, white with blue/red, and used on 1978+ R100RS

Pearl White





Last Edition bikes





Last Edition bikes

544 Pacific Blue.  I have heard that a near perfect match for this color is Lamborghini Midnight Blue, F0930F.  For the original BMW color scheme, the base was a dark blue #130, dunkleblau, and a silver pinstripe was used, mittelsilber. 1983 and 1984 R80RT
577 Nüburg green    
133 Rennsport red (Rennsportrot)   R100RS
566 Red Metallic....note that the 566 color is the same as the 531 red, used with the 104 gold stripe, in a slightly different stripe pattern 1983 and 1984 R80RT
545 Spheric Silver 1983 R80ST
031 Red metallic, used with #104, but on R100/7, used with #111   /7
097/797 Minzgrün   /5, /6
048 Brown metallic, used with 051   R100RT, R100T
597, 601, 602, 603 All are called Minzgrün.  With #603 was called Minzgrün-Hell, used with 094 and 101   /7 series
583/584 Police White 583/584/607/083/581 Police motors.  Not the only Police White...see 083 in next table.  Also 581/583
541 Red Metallic 1983 R80ST


535 Nigeria   /6+
595 Gray, Bristol   /6+
083 Police white; used with 101, 108, 097, and likely used with 601 and/or 602 numbers too. Some 083 was used just with 102, and some #108    
580 RAL6012 black   /6, /7
070 Golf    
581/583 Police White    
054 Ocean Blue, used with 113, 114, 115   R100S, R100RS
067/567 Police green    
162 Classic Black    
228 Onyx Black    


644 Bermuda Blue.  Base was bermudablau
225 and a
silver pinstripe
was used.
confirmed, may be
Mystic Red

unconfirmed, may be scheme

USA, & may be other

R65 Mono (20kw), R80 Mono, R80RT Mono, R80GS, R80R Mystic, R100RT Mono, R100LT Mono, R100GS, R100R Mystic, R850R, R1100R, K75, K75RT, K75S, K1100LT, K1100RS

656 Classic Black Metallic   USA sold R100R, 1994 models, and maybe others

Below are paint codes that tended to be used in Europe:

146 Alpine White 629/628/
Some R80, R100GS, K1200, R1150GS
265 Aluminum White 265 K1100LT, R1150GS Adventure
571 Perlmutt, also called Pearl White 621/634/
668 Black 2 668 R850 and later; some F650, some oilheads
special code 9005 Deep Black   F650GS

I will probably never finish this paint codes page; I do add to it or make corrections, from time to time.  DO keep in mind that the Paint Code under the seat is the FINISH SCHEME CODE, it covers all facets, generally, for the various paints, coatings, stripes, etc.  That paint code under the seat is NOT the code for the paint color you see, although it may be descriptive-enough!  The Finish Scheme code number does not tell you how to get the correct paint color depth, how to exactly place pinstripes, etc.  LOTS of ETC!

Of all the technical pages on this website, this page is the one most likely to have errors on it.  Please report such, in detail, to me.  I can be reached at this E-mail address: CLICK!

11-12-2001:  Clarify heading description.
04-22-2003:  Add .htm title.
06-14-2003:  NOTE 1 and NOTE 2.
12-10-2003:  Add NOTE 3 on Phil Hawksley's website near top of page; add NOTE 4.
05-03-2004:  Add big red information and thusly clarify paint code information.
05/16/2004:  Clarify NOTE 1.
08/16/2004:  Cdd note 5, plus minor clarifications in discussing paint codes in general.
12/08/2004:  Correct a change URL for Hawksley's site, modify our title, add some notes for 566 and 544.
02/15/2005:  Update Havana Gold and M. silver; RS for 1978.
02/26/2005:  Clarify information at top of page, add copyright and homepage URL.
06/19/2005:  Minor clarifications and add a hyperlink.
12/15/2005:  Add 585 information.
09/23/2006:  Clarifications on wheels and frame.
10/31/2006:  Clarification on some colors and years.
11/02/2006:  Clarify pinstriping on some models.
11/11/2006:  Add Note 12 and add RS and RT to existing R100S on PC 553.
11/18/2006:  Extensive revisions and clarifications.  Most of the Ruling codes now shown; they, & sub-colors incorporated when known.
02/19/2007:  Luggage information (Note #13).
01/08/2008:  Fix bad hyperlinks.
09/04/2008:  Change snowbum's e-mail address.
10/23/2008:  Add note on German Turquoise, for code 528.
10/16/2009:  Clean up the page, and also clarify initial information on paint codes.
01/24/2010:  Add note in 561.
01/27/2010:  Add Note #1.
02/27/2011:  Add table for European colors and start inserting information.
06/28/2011:  Remove bad hyperlink from Note 3.
08/08/2011:  Slight revision in wording in several places but no change in data.
08/29/2011:  Minor update for K bike valve cover paint.
02/11/2012:  Updating SOME R80RT and R100RT; add another table with cells.
06/14/2012:  Add Additional Information section.
08/26/2012:  Revise entire article; mostly to clean up by using more tables; but also to condense and re-arrange and make article easier to use.
10/28/2012:  Edit phosphoric acid treatment area.
01/21/2013:  Add Note 9; minor changes here and there for clarity.
06/03/2015:  Add 656.
03/11/2016:  Metacodes, layout, table size/formats/some colors.
10/01/2016:  Repeat of 03/11/2016, plus clean up some HTML coding.
07/07/2017:  Edit certain colors to better show years and anomalies.

© copyright, 2014, R. Fleischer

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Last check/edit: Wednesday, January 17, 2018