View Full Version : What do people do for gasoline for vintage muscle cars?

Rich Engelhardt
01-13-2018, 12:42 PM
The other thread about ethanol free gas got me wondering about what people feed to their vintage V8's.
With regular and hi test leaded gas gone, what is there that can go in the tank & still deliver the performance?

Dave Lehnert
01-13-2018, 12:55 PM
I know next to nothing about vintage cars but hang around guys who restore and race them.
They talk about using "Turbo Blue" Use to have a gas station here in town that sold it. Know it was expensive.
Like I said I know nothing about it so do some research on your own.


Jim Becker
01-13-2018, 1:00 PM
If you're going to use a vintage vehicle that "really prefers" old style gas, about the best you can do is to find "pure" gasoline that doesn't have Ethanol in it. A lot of that is high octane and used "today" for marine and small engine use. There are places out there in many geographies that sell it. It's not necessarily inexpensive, but. Perhaps there's an additive to, um...add to it...that will take the place of what the lead used to do for lubrication, etc...but I haven't looked into that personally.

George Bokros
01-13-2018, 2:00 PM
If you are rebuilding the heads the best thing to do is put in hardened valve seats. Bardhal used to sell a lead substitute but I have not seen that in years. Red Line, Motor Medic, Lucas Oil all make substitutes these days. They are marketed for off road use only but who knows what your add to your gas tank anyway.

Marc Jeske
01-13-2018, 3:33 PM
Maybe some help here, lotta members w those kind of vehicles....



Pat Barry
01-13-2018, 5:10 PM
Premium unleaded.

Scott DelPorte
01-13-2018, 6:12 PM
There are a few gas stations around me that sell “pure”, or ethanol free gas that I use on my old car. It is 91 octane but not leaded. You can find lead substitute in auto stores that gets used as an an additive, but my mechanic who works on vintage cars says it’s really not necessary if valves are kept properly adjusted. One thing worth noting, the tune up and adjustment intervals on old engines is typically much shorter than what we’re used to on new ones

Bruce Wrenn
01-13-2018, 7:51 PM
For ethanol free gas, go to "puregas.com." You will find thousands of places that sell ethanol free gasoline. In our town we have two places that I know of that sell it. Most likely the stores out by the lake also sell it.

Ruperto Mendiones
01-13-2018, 9:21 PM
What about 100ll aviation gasoline? There is at least some lead in it.

John Ziebron
01-13-2018, 11:03 PM
Most automakers started using hardened valve seats in the early 70s to accommodate unleaded gas. You can still buy lead substitutes for your vintage vehicle but it is really unnecessary unless you use it a lot, like several thousand miles a year.

A lot of folks don't realize, and some probably don't remember, that the lead in gas also increased octane and that regular and premium octane numbers at the pump actually showed lower numbers than today. The biggest issue with low octane is pre-detonation. With the advent of fuel injection and computerized control of engines pre-detonation issues were solved with sensors that told the computer to back off on the advance timing of the engine. That's why even in a modern high performance car today if you use a low octane gas you will not get any pre-detonation, just not the power as with a higher octane gas.

Friends I know today that have older high performance vehicles that only occasionally drive them don't worry about lead, just octane. It's rare to find a gas station that has a higher than average octane pump so a lot of guys go to small airports and buy their gas (airplane engines need much higher octane than cars). And some of those octane levels are high enough that they will do a 50/50 mix to save money.

Rich Engelhardt
01-14-2018, 8:03 AM
After following up on some of the information above, I found out that Sunoco makes a racing fuel - some of it leaded.

Thanks for the tips & steering me in the right direction!

Gary Muto
01-14-2018, 4:23 PM
What about 100ll aviation gasoline? There is at least some lead in it.

I used to use 100 Octane Low Lead Aviation fuel. I was told it had more lead than what used to be put in road fuel. I'm not sure about that. I do know taht it would evaporate quickly if spilled so it may have some other "stuff" in it too. deiceers??

Harry Hagan
01-14-2018, 6:47 PM
What about 100ll aviation gasoline? There is at least some lead in it.

That's what I used in my cars when leaded gas was discontinued.

Curt Harms
01-15-2018, 6:21 AM
What about 100ll aviation gasoline? There is at least some lead in it.

There's quite a bit of lead in it, low is a relative term. The industry is working on a lead free aviation gasoline but it hasn't been easy finding something that won't damage gaskets and other fuel system parts from the 1940s, 50s etc.

Mike Hollingsworth
01-15-2018, 11:30 AM
I've found no issues with unleaded fuel in old low compression (pre 50s) engines.
But when it's time for a valve job, in go the hardened seats.
my $.02

Art Mann
01-15-2018, 1:11 PM
I live fairly close to a drag race track and it is easy to buy 102 octane racing gasoline at a few nearby stations. I believe it may have tetraethyl lead in it.

Wayne Lomman
01-16-2018, 4:58 AM
Flashlube is a product commonly available here here in Australia for pre-unleaded engines. It's a fuel tank additive. Works well. We aren't afflicted with ethanol laced fuel thankfully. Cheers

robert baccus
01-16-2018, 10:23 PM
Lead was originally used in gas. to preveny preignition (knocking) and was all that was added for thatuntil the catalytic converter was adopted in the late 70's. It ruined them. It's ability to prevent knock was denoted as octane--a pure number. It gave no more power than pure gas but allowed higher compression ratios which raised power without knocking. Hond introduced the stratified charge engine which allowed regular gas when all other cars required no-lead gas at a higher price--I owned 2 of those Accords--they had 3 valves heads!! I do use some lead additive in my 48 model Cadet cub tractor.

Kev Williams
01-17-2018, 2:34 AM
First thing anyone with a 'vintage' vehicle should do is change out all the fuel lines. This is because the main problem with alcohol in gas is that it attacks the older style rubber fuel lines. New fuel hose is pretty much alcohol proof. Another problem with alcohol is it absorbs water, but it's very hard for water to find its way into a gas tank. If you ever find water in your gas, unless someone put it there on purpose, the usual source is the gas station you bought it from.

So as long as you have good fuel lines, just run premium unleaded in your vintage car. And a good lead substitute for old engines, is to add a tablespoon or two of Marvel Mystery Oil to a full tank of gas. All lead ever did for the inside of an engine is help lubricate the valves, the Marvel (or your favorite brand of similar oil) will help do the same. I know a lot of guys with Turbo Buick's that make their own race fuel by adding xylene to premium unleaded, and they add Marvel to the gas to compensate for xylene's lack of lubricating properties.

Anyway- trips to the airport for gas may be fun, but in most cases probably not necessary ;)

Rod Sheridan
01-18-2018, 10:39 AM
I only have old bikes, they're able to run on unleaded premium fuel with only exhaust seat wear as an issue.

That can be corrected with the installation of hardened seats, I haven't bothered because I don't ride them enough to make it an issue..Rod.