Low-lead fuels


John Foreman’s letter (Motor Sport, May 1987) regarding 98 octane 4-star fuel for his Jaguar XJ12 might be worrying needlessly about the use of low-lead and non-lead fuels, if an extract from an article in the The Washington Post under the title “Getting rid of lead” is considered.

I quote: “The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has undermined the case of retaining some leaded gasoline for use in older vehicles. Lead additives were previously thought essential to prevent excessive valve-seal wear in heavy trucks and cars produced before the mid-seventies — at least, if they run at high speed. But the EPA has discovered that, as a practical matter, both the Pentagon and the US Postal Service have been using unleaded gasoline in their extensive fleets without any indications of universal valve wear.”

This extract was republished in the Bristol Owners Club journal, Bulletin, being of interest to owners of the Chrysler-engined Types 407 to 411 Series II, which ran on 4-star fuel. Subsequent models produced by Bristol Cars (1973 onwards) have been equipped with Chrysler engines designed to run on 2-star lead-free fuel!

Perhaps Mr Foreman should swop his jaguar XJ12 for, say, a Bristol 603 S2, and he need not worry about lead levels in fuel at all.

Mike Crawford, Editor, Bristol OC Bulletin