Leaded petrol was used for nearly 100 years in our cars. It was finally banned in the UK in 2000, even though the phase out started in the mid 1980’s.
The main reason was the impact on public health. The emissions produced from leaded petrol is known to cause heart disease, strokes and cancer. Not only that but it can cause slower cognitive development in children- with an impact of up to 10 IQ points. You can see why it was banned then.
Since then, the fuel has been banned globally and 1.2 million premature deaths are estimated to have been saved.
In the 1920s, General Motors founded Ethyl Corporation. They used this to sell and distribute tetraethyllead or TEL. The lead additive increased the octane rating of fuel, prevented ‘knocking’ and increased performance from cars as well as acting to prevent valve and valve seat wear. Sounds pretty good, no?
Lead was known to be harmful as early as the Victorian era, so it’s unsurprising that during the first year of production the company was plagued with lead poisoning cases. A number of employees experienced hallucinations, insanity and death.
Due to the investment into the product, the company wanted to cover up some of the bad press- with some bizarre attempts. The Vice President of the Ethyl Corporation, Frank Howard, called it, “a gift from God” to cover up some of the negative stories and Thomas Midgley Jr. gave a press conference where he poured TEL over his hands and inhaled it for 60 seconds. He claimed he could do this every day and receive no health implication- even though he had suffered lead poisoning only a few months before.
We’ve established that it’s bad then. But we’ve also established that it can be beneficial for classic cars. So how do we get the same benefits and protection for classic cars without causing a danger to the health of the entire world?
Motul have developed a lead replacement additive to provide:
Valve Expert should be used at 1ml per litre of petrol and should be added before fuel is added to the tank. That means one can of Valve Expert is good for 250 litres of fuel. This is for classic cars, and it should never be used in vehicles with a catalytic converter.
We all want to look after our classics, not only because it means they will run better but also because it will save us some money too. Talking of saving money, make sure you use your club specific discount code to get 15% off Valve Expert and everything else across the Club Motul website.