I have the timing cover off of R5083 (it's an R2 289). It had some very minor traces of black paint on it but was 95% bare aluminum. The Authenticity Manual does not shed any light on the original finish on the timing cover, at least not that I can find. The shop manual shows a number of engine pictures that show the timing cover with a natural aluminum finish, but Studebaker may have done that for shop manual photos simply for better contrast. A black finish would make sense because the engine was likely painted black with the timing cover in place and I doubt that the factory would take the time to mask off the cover. But it sure looks nice in natural aluminum. Does anyone know what it was originally and/or what would be considered correct by Avanti show judges?