The Paint Page
Painting your Industrial Deere? Come here!

I have tried to find information about the paint schemes of the various industrial tractors. I will put what I have found here. Much of this information came from owners of the various tractors, some from magazine articles, different books, and some from guesses on my part. It also involves some "interpetation" of black and white photos, which is always a risky proposition! Depending on the type of film used, and the lighting conditions, not to mention the cleanness of the tractor, the paint colors can seem to be several shades "off"! Even modern color pictures are not immune to this problem. So take anything you see below with a grain of salt. And remember, this is how "I" interpet things, and I could be wrong!

If you have painted your industrial tractor, and can remember the color, email me. Even if it is already here, tell me. The more proof, the better! I would also like to know the manufacturers and code numbers of the various paint colors.

This page deals mainly with the industrial yellow paint colors. However, if your Deere is a different color, go to the bottom of this page!

The Number One source for finding the color of your tractor...

The first source that you should look for your paint color is your tractor itself. Any small specks of paint can be useful. Try to save some samples for color comparison. Beware of fading, or fuel/exhaust stains. Heat from the engine may have changed the shade of the paint also. Try to look inside a toolbox, under a frame, or anything shaded from the sun. Also, there may be many layers of paint on your tractor. There may be green over yellow (common), or even more layers. These tractors probably changed owners many times over their lifetimes, and often, a new owner didn't like the old paint job. It is up to you to decide which layer to use. Also-It may have been stripped and painted, but not a very high chance of that on an old tractor, unless it has been "restored" at one time or another.

Paint Color: "Highway Yellow"
a very Light yellow, sometimes known as "Bug Yellow". More of a pure yellow, with no hint of orange

Seems to be the standard paint for Tractor models: AI, BI, DI, L and early LI (this model also may have been painted with later yellow), for later models in the 1940s and after, seems to be an optional color.

The normal paint scheme for these tractors was "Highway Yellow". However this yellow was much lighter than what was used on the later industrials, I have even heard it referred to as "Bug Yellow" for certain LIs, but it appears that this color is the same as the earlier AI, BI and DI tractors. This is from interpetation of period photos. The little original paint on my grandpa's DI is also a very light yellow. It is very close to the normal JD agricultural yellow.

It is just my OPINION, but many of the restored AIs/BIs/DIs are painted the wrong shade of yellow...the owners used the avaliable John Deere industrial paint "for equipment prior to 1992". This is definitely more "orange" than some of the photographs, and original tractors indicate. However the later shade still looks great!

Some examples of the lighter yellow in orignal pictures, original tractors, or restored examles:

Sources for this paint color (not confirmed to match, use at own risk!)
  • Coronado paint, #139-349 and the name of it is New Caterpillar Yellow. Picture here
  • PPG paint code 81304 "Contractor Yellow"

Paint Color: "Highway Yellow", again
Standard on models: later LI (this model was also painted with earlier yellow)
MI, RI, all numbered models, New Generation

This is the most common yellow found on industrial equipment made by John Deere. Unlike the earlier industrial yellow, this paint has a "hint" of orange, making it darker. Some tractors from this time also appear to be a very light yellow, like the earlier highway yellow. There were probaly plenty of choices for a yellow color, if not just varieties in the paint used originally.

Some examples of the orangish yellow in orignal pictures, original tractors, or restored examles:

Note that a couple of the examples are actually the earlier 1930s tractors that should have the lighter yellow. The John Deere-made paint seems to have the most acceptance for this later "oranger" shade:
  • John Deere Construction paint, for equipment manufactured before Nov. 1,1992. Picture here
    Part number
    TY24353 (12 oz spray)
    TY24354 (gallon)
  • MARTIN-SEYMOUR acrylic enamel, number 99L-8804. Picture here

Paint Color: "Highway Orange", again
Tractor models: ALL

The paint known as Highway Orange was an optional color for all of Deeres industrial tractors. In no way mistakeable with the other yellow paints, Highway Orange definitely stands out.

However, as with everything dealing with Deere, nothing is simple. There were lots of orange shades out there, many probably custom colors for a specific Road Department. Build records may or may not show the name of a color!

Sources for this paint color (not confirmed to match, use at own risk!)
  • The paint used was PPG Delstar and the color was Tangier Orange. Picture here
  • I've even heard that Kubota Orange is a match
Paint Color: Anything Else
Tractor models: ALL

Some of Deere's industrial tractors weren't painted highway yellow or orange either! All of them, including the earliest AIs, BIs, and DIs had optional colors, including red, blue, and pretty much anything you can think of, not to forget other shades of yellow or orange. There were also custom paint jobs avaliable, including some MIs painted for the New York State Department of Transportation. From what I've heard, these had yellow bodies, with blue sheetmetal. IF someone can confirm this, or provide a picture, it would really be appreciated!

Your best source to match one of these "off" colors is to get something custom mixed! Sorry, there are many options besides that!

The most famous set of "off shade" tractors was a group of 330s painted red and silver to match the current paint scheme of the IH corporation. Apparently, the head man of a certain road department in Ohio wanted International tractors, but was forced to get JDs. So he ordered them to look "right"! I've also seen some red 430s, but I don't know if they are correct or not.