Twice-the-life oil

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Sir,

Perhaps I may be permitted to protest against this massive advertising drive by oil firms for which the motorist indirectly pays.

We are now told that if we use a certain brand we get double the normal mileage—at 9d. extra per pint, of course—as if it was not expensive enough already. I only change the oil in the sump once every year; more than double the normal mileage. I do not change the oil in the gear box or the back axle—at all!

I have always used Esso Extra and once used “Longlife” oil (made by the Battery firm) at a 1s. per pint—with no ill effects. The car has never been off the road during my four years of ownership—but then the car may be exceptional.

Even the bodywork is in mint condition, and a point I wish to make is that it came out of the factory nine years ago, labelled an A40 Somerset.

If the car had not belonged to the past I would go on at length as to its merits but perhaps I could congratulate the Austin Co. on a car which has withstood that all-important test of time.

Friends, with that knowing look, are continuously harping on the phrase “they do not make them like that nowadays.” If not, why not?

It is no wonder that an oddly shaped German car, envisaged by Hitler, is the world’s best seller.

Perhaps I could also touch on my pet grouse, this fantastic mania in Britain for Italian styling. Finmobalia as someone termed it.

A Rolls-Bentley outside a hotel in Genoa, Italy, last year made me feel proud to be British. Its grace and symmetry was never more apparent than it was there.

D.M. Murray.
Glasgow.

***

Sir,

I was most interested to read yet another example of the Castrol Organisation beating its shining breastplate of self-righteousnes. For a long time, Castrol have been seeking to establish that they live by a moral code higher than that of their competitors in the dirty “oil-field” of lubrication.

Having launched a tirade both in your correspondence column and by advertisement against “Long Life” oils, I have been interested to learn that Castrol have launched Castrolite E.D.I. (extended drain interval) oil in the Norwegian Market. This appears to be evidence of hypocrisy and indicates that Castrol, like their brethren, are fully prepared to stoop to the most doubtful of deeds to further the profitability of their organisation. I expect Castrol shareholders will be relieved to realise that Castrol are more interested in those vulgar things called “profits” rather than taking on the high-flown duty of being “custodians of the mechanical well-being of several million cars.” An organisation of such piety (unless they concern themselves more with the science of letter writing than of lubrication) should realise that fuel dilution and low-temperature sludge will be a far greater hazard in Norway than in Britain.

We would be most obliged to Castrol for further details of what they expect from an oil marked E.D.I. and also for information (implicit in the calculations given in the Castrol letter) as to the location of garages which do oil changes free of labour charge. Further, is Castrolite a normal multigrade? Surely it is only an S.A.E. 20W/30 giving inferior cold starting due to niggardliness in the VI improver content compared with more generally accepted S.A.E. 10W/30 materials.

With regard to the aspect of convenience, perhaps Castrol have not been informed of the current trend to lubrication servicing at 30,000-mile intervals.

I note that the rival organisation marketing a “Long Life” oil have backed up their claims with impressive engine test data. Apparently no such data is available on Castrol products, only vague claims. It is an established fact that a Savile Row suit will give excellent service over a period which would wear out several of the products of a multiple tailor!

Finally, whilst we would not dispute that Castrol are a forward-looking organisation (in Norway) it seems that they are even better at facing both ways.

C.M. Hyssen-Teape.
Waldron.

***

Sir,

Laurence Sultan, Group P.R.O. for Castrol Ltd., says in your last number: ” it would not be in the interests of the motorists for us, as oil technicians, to recommend any departure from the lubrication procedures laid down by the engineers who have designed his car.”

Oh dear, Mr. Sultan! I have always used Castrol in my Sunbeam Rapier and as you no doubt know, Rootes recommend exclusively Shell oil! Must I now change?

Or could it be that this, like many other things in the motor industry, has very little to do with the engineers and a great deal to do with other less attractive sides of the industry?

In any case I wonder how many other motorists like myself resent being pressurised to use only one sort of oil—or tyres (Rootes again)—when it is obvious that any of a number of brands are equally acceptable?

O.L. Uren.
London, N.W.5.