The market for classic cars is growing rapidly. As technology evolves and steps into our everyday life, the call for simplicity gets stronger. Classic cars are connecting people with the same mindset and a passion for old cars. They invest time and money in their precious oldtimer. That’s why it’s convenient to know Motul runs a classic oil range, specifically developed for classic cars. We took a deep dive in this product range with Baptiste Plaine, Group Product Communication Manager at Motul.
Baptiste, please explain why historic engines require specially designed lubricants?
The performance of modern lubricants has considerably improved throughout the years. Their composition and particularly their formulation additives simply don’t fit some of the historic engines which conception (metallurgy, technologies and particularly materials chosen for seals of higher performance...) and functioning constraints are very different from those of modern engines. The special features of old engines require adapted lubricants. The Motul range for historic vehicles was designed respecting those features, by using, if necessary, new techniques that provide real advantage (for example the detergent of the 20W50). The Classic range provides optimal protection and brings solutions to all purposes: from vehicles that do not run often with longer downtimes to those used in competition requiring full performance from the machine.
Since technology is evolving at a very fast rate every decennium, do cars of a specific decennium require a period correct oil?
Yes indeed, Motul developed different oils for several periods depending on the development stage of motoring industry. As we have a long history over 160 years, we acquired very specific historical knowledge and expertise in lubrication. We classified our classic range of lubricants in different periods:
The SAE 30 and SAE 50 oils are used for the manufacturing years from 1900 to 1950:
These are mineral monograde lubricants with very low detergent level for optimal compatibility with paper, felt or fabric gaskets. Small detergent level avoids soot and deposits removing in the lubricating circuit. This can be used as break-in oil if drain intervals are short. They also have complete compatibility with nonferrous metals as brass, bronze and copper. Typically, these cars suffer from a long period of immobilization, therefore we added reinforced adherence for an easier start.
20W50, manufacturing years 1950 to 1970:
This is a mineral multigrade lubricant with middle detergent level, compatible with elastomer gaskets. The 20W50 oil meets standards of the 1950 – 1970 period (API SF/CC) while benefiting from the advanced technology of the new Motul lubricants. The viscosity is perfectly suitable for narrowed running clearances of the engine, it might suffer to significant progress at the time, as regards of metallurgy, casting and machining. It has anti-corrosion and anti-wear properties.
2100 15W50, manufacturing years after 1970:
This is the updated version of the 1966’s 2100-oil, the first semi-synthetic lubricant in the automotive market. It was developed for naturally aspirated and turbocharged original engines built after 1970. The semi-synthetic lubricant is formulated with modern technology detergent level and meets recent standards (API SH/CF) plus offers a better cold viscosity in order to reduce wear during engine start. We reinforced the lubricant with a synthetic base (oxidation stability) allowing stay-in-grade viscosity for a continuous engine oil pressure.
Did you also develop a specific racing oil for Classic racing?
Absolutely, our state of the art 300V Motorsport line based on ESTER Core technology, is perfectly suitable for rebuilt engines used in Classic Racing cars, ensuring maximal performance and longevity.
In case owners have any doubt, they can use the oil selector on our website to pick the suitable oil for their specific car: https://www.motul.com/be/en/lubricants, our they can simply ask their local dealer.
Photo © Drew Gibson, Frederik Herregods