Martin sent me this awesome pics of his 400e's. Yes, the top is an original crackle black 400e. It in fact does exist. Wouldn't you have just loved to been in the Lionel factory when the guy figured out how to do this crackle black paint? I would have really loved to see this technique on some other trains of the time as well as rolling stock. I have a crackle black MTH 400e and it is really nice, I can't imagine how nice an original prewar Lionel flavor is.
Thanks for sending Martin! Martin and Rob Lear sent me a few other pics I'll post shortly!