One of the best-known demonstrations of RR reliabitty was on the Alpine Trial of 1913; here the cars prepare to leave the Conduit St. showrooms. The ways in which Rolls-Royce demonstrated the reliability of their famous 40/50 hp Silver Ghost are generally well-known. For instance, the famous 15,000mile RAC Observed Trial in 1907, which fully established this as not only the quietest car of its time but a remarkably dependable one. That this distance could be covered with but one involuntary stop (when the petrol-tap shook itself shut), had included the 2,000 miles of the Scottish Reliability Trial, and that when
the RAC engineers stripped the chassis down at the end of the test they found no wear in engine or transmission bearings, the back axle bevel gears unmarked, and the few parts needing possible replacement costing a mere £2 2s 7d, was very impressive. Tyre wear was over 2,500 miles per cover, the overall cost of the run working out at 41/4d a mile, the least expensive luxury travel available.
Then there was the splendid showing of the 40/50 hp Rolls-Royce in the 1913 Alpine Trial.
re-enacted so convincingly in 1973 and last year by many of these still-youthful RollsRoyces. But I wonder how many R-R followers know of another impressive test in which one of these cars took part? I refer to an RAC test of Castrol oil, undertaken in 1920. For this purpose a 1915 Rolls-Royce tourer was used, weighing 2.4 tons loaded. It was run on National Benzole fuel, and driven for 10,000 miles over the RAC’s six test routes, which took 61 days, with snow and rain on 24 of them, the average speed 19.9 mph — which sounds rather as if the RAC dared not admit to exceeding the 20 mph legal limit! When the engine was stripped down afterwards no wear was found in the cylinders, pistons or valvestems, compared to their satisfactory condition before the test started. A slight carbon deposit on the piston-crowns was thicker on the valve side and on two pistons a hard deposit had impeded the top rings. But generally all was in order and the state of the sparking-plugs, not cleaned during the test, was excellent. The oil had remained clean and had deteriorated very little: consumption was 9351/4 mpg. Tested chemically, the Wakefield-Castrol oil showed no benzole or acid content, and an increase of only 0.6% in suspended carbon. Nor had its specific gravity much changed during the 10,000 miles. But its viscosity had altered somewhat. Regrettably you can no longer buy National Benzole. But Wakefield Castrol oil is available and I have always used it. W B
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