Vintage Oil Pressure




It was with interest that I read your advice to potential purchasers of vintage motors in the May issue of MOTOR SPORT. On the whole I think that your advice is sound, but there is one point which disturbs me and which I feel I must point out to your reader’s to whom the advice was directed. It concerns oil pressure.

You state (I quote from memory as I have not MOTOR SPORT by me) that “in almost all cases oil pressure should be at least 8 lb. per sq. in.” Now I am the proud owner of a most distinguished “Bullnose” Oxford, 1925 – my first car and, I think, one with which many vintage motorists begin, as it is cheap and simple. The oil gauge (original) is calibrated from 0 to 10 and on starting up from cold the needle rushes round and jams on the end stop – about 12 lb. Quite soon, however, it starts to sink back and after about half-an-hour or less of normal running it will be reading about 1 or 2 lb. When it gets really hot – after running all day for instance – the needle can barely lift itself off the zero stop. Quite recently I had the sump off and cleaned everything up, but this made little difference to the oil pressure, only making it a little more sensitive.

“Ah,” you may say; “there you are. An excellent example of a shocking car, with ‘don’t buy me’ written all over the oil gauge.” But this is my point. In the handbook (also original). the makers say that “so long as any reading at all is obtained it is an indication that the oil pump is working and that all is well. The pressure shown on the gauge is in no way relative to the quantity of oil being fed to the bearings – only a measure of its viscosity”. (Again, I quote from memory as I have not got the handbook with me).

To repeat myself, it appears to me that many people begin with the excellent “Bullnose” and as my experience is typical and correct I feel that it should be brought to the notice of potential buyers.

I am, Yours, etc..


London, S.W.3.

(I was, of course, only generalising. The Austin Seven is another car which is quite happy on a few pounds pressure. – Ed.)