Sometimes I start a post and realize that no matter what I say on the topic its going to be controversial. We get a lot of questions that are exactly like the title says asking us what kind of oil we use and I thought it would make a good topic for this weeks blog post.
People have strong loyalties to motor oil, and can be as attached to a specific brand as they are for a particular sports teams. Just Google 'best motor oil' or something similar and read the results. You should probably set some time aside if you do, when I googled it I ended up with about 720,000,000 results.
For us at RSP Motorsports we are about evidence. We have a state of the art dyno and over the years we have tested many different oils out and have actual results rather than anecdotal feelings. Before I delve into that though lets talk a bit about oil, and its history.
Even in the stone age there is evidence of lubricants being used that ranged from animal fats to petroleum in the form of bitumen. As far back as the 17th Century BCE, olive oil was used as a lubricant to help move large rocks and structures by the Egyptians. A few hundred years later and animal fats such as tallow were used as a lubricant for everything from building the pyramids to the wagons and chariots used by Romans, Myceneans, Sumerians and Greeks. As far back as Roman times was the development of the modern day equivalent of ball bearing sets for chariots and the beginnings of the need for better and longer lasting lubricants.
Surprisingly, nothing better really came along until the modern era. In the 15th century whale oil was the preferred method for ships rudders and anything else that needed lubrication and Leonardo Da Vinci began to study the issues of friction and how to address it, including the design of a roller bearing. With metals now starting to be used instead of wood as bearing material the need for lubricants to keep up with the new demands was being addressed and concepts like viscosity was being developed by Isaac Newton. In 1794, Philip Vaughan, an ironmaster, was granted the first patent for a bearing that was an advancement of Leonardo da Vinci’s discovery. it was around the 1800 that horse carriage axles were getting ball bearing axels fitted and the increased need for better lubricants continued.
The Industrial Revolution brought the mechanization of industry and transportation as well as textile machinery. Mineral oils from shale and coal were extracted through distillation and refined into petroleum. It wasn't until 1859 in Titusville when the first oil well was dug down to just under 70 feet and produced under a thousand gallons a day. The oil pumped out of the ground was actually considered inferior to many of the products being used and it wasn't until distillation that oil extracted from wells began to overtake every other kind of lubrication. The first synthetic hydrocarbons began to appear as early as 1890 in the ever increasing need to lubricate everything from machinery to trains.
As there was a need for more than just oil - grease was also developed to maintain a constant low friction surface between bearings. In the early 1900s Oskar Zerkowitz emigrated from Vienna to America and gave his name to a set of grease fittings still in use on almost every car until fairly recently. He changed his name after arriving to Oscar Ulysses Zerk and zerk fittings, although used far less, all remain largely unchanged from his original invention.
The process of refining petroleum and making it better and better was boosted for the product that was the ultimate reason why RSP Motorsports exists - the car. Even the Wright brothers found that they could get increased horsepower and engine longevity depending on the product they were using. For context, the newly formed SAE (society of automotive engineers) had only three grades of oil: light, medium and heavy. None of these oils had additives and they lasted about 1000 kilometers before they needed to be replaced.
By the 1930's additives were being created and blended to reduce friction, extend the life of oil and the engines. With the second world war Germany became a leader in additives such as PTFE (teflon) or molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), a solid lubricant found in milk and nuts and by the 1950's the API or American Petroleum Institute was classifying oils in a system we know today. After that came multi grade oils, that added polymers, worked better across a spectrum of temperatures and had better viscosity and lubrication than anything previous.
By the 1980's and 1990's hydrocracking, synthetics and all of the modern additives began to emerge to create the modern oils, designations, grades and properties that we use today.
I know - I still didn't answer the question of what oil we use at RSP. A few paragraphs up I mentioned that Germany was a hub of development for oils in the early part of the 20th century and it still is. Liqui Moly GmbH was founded in 1957 in Ulm on the river Danube. The patent for production of molybdenum disulfide formed the basis for the company. This additive based on liquified molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) was the company's first product and gave the company its name. Molybdenum sulfide, the basic ingredient of the Liqui Moly Oil additive, was discovered in the shops of the US Army in post-war Germany. These shops sold a can under the brand name Liqui Moly that contained the liquified form of the solid lubricant molybdenum sulfide (MoS2). When added to motor oil, this substance ensured emergency running characteristics in the event of a sudden loss of oil. Fighter pilots in World War One had already exploited this property, adding MoS2 to the motor oil in the aircraft engines. This enabled pilots to still land, even if the oil tank was hit.
From this additive, an entire range was developed, with over 4,000 products including engine and gear oils, additives and vehicle care products, workshop equipment and service products. In Germany, Liqui Moly is one of the leading producers of engine oils. Germany remains the main marketplace, but international demands are increasing. Liqui Moly products are now sold in 120 countries
Like the Wright brothers we have done testing on oils, specifically LiquiMoly, and found gains both in torque and horsepower and we have measured those changes on a dyno using multiple runs in identical conditions and including spacing those tests years apart in some cases. In every case we have found it to be a superior product and we don't hesitate to recommend it.
For us (and our customers) LiquiMoly has significant benefits and we use all of their lubrication products exclusively. Now you know.
I will finish this post with a testimonial from Renato.
I have heard for years the positive reviews of LIQUI MOLY oil and additives. I was skeptical and before I recommend any product to my customers I thoroughly test them. I took a Porsche Cayenne GTS, Mercedes C320 and a Porsche 993 and tested them on a dynamometer. I then flushed all three engines using LIQUI MOLY Engine Flush. Upon completion, I added Leichtlauf High Tech 5W-40 oil, Motor Oil Saver and Cera Tec wear protection. I then re-tested all three vehicles on the dynamometer. In my 43 years as an automotive professional working with European luxury and exotic cars in both Europe and Canada, I have not come across lubricants which enhance and restore engine and components on a level comparable to LIQUI MOLY products. The results were astonishing! The three vehicles experienced an increase of up to 20hp, increased torque, and generated 25 degrees less heat!"
I don't want to be the one to say that word...the 'winter' word, particularly when its going to be a series of plus 20 degree weather days this week, but its coming. In this post I wanted to delve into our storage and why this is a busy time for us.
Generally around this time, on top of our regular day to day, we have two things on the go - people asking for snow tire installs or storage for the off season (see - I avoided the winter word). I often hear the heavy sigh lately as a customer enters the store and says 'its that time...isn't it. The reality is, if its not today at the latest its a few weeks away, but its no reason to be concerned, think of it as an early start on next season.
Here are a few reasons to think about winter storage with us:
For many of our clients the issue is as simple as that, a need for more space. For some people a get away spot is at the cottage or on vacation, but for many of our clients the vehicle is the get away and they use it through the season. Particularly in these times of pandemic and limited travel many people have a summer car that gives them exactly that. When the season is over they are often looking at a place to store it that's out of the way and secure. We can fill that niche for you and store your investment in a place free of any off season contaminants, which is a nice way of saying snow and salt.
Protecting your investment.
The air filter on the left was from a customer car would have benefitted from our storage facility. It was obviously stored in a place that allowed mice and insects to get access to the all areas of the car. The air filter is not from the Audi by the way, its another of our clients cars showing off its summer looks. Our facilities are modern, state of the art with dust free climate control and trickle chargers on each vehicle. We've recently epoxy coated our entire storage area floor and we challenge anyone to find a more spotless facility.
We also have zero tolerance for anything touching your vehicle other than our technicians or detailer.
Getting modifications or repairs done
For us, the off season is a perfect time to tackle those issues that crept up on you over the summer. While your car is in storage we can work on it to address any issues, improve horsepower, rebuild an engine, or modify the car to anything you always wanted to have done but didn't have the time to do it in. In the 'off season' we can spend the time making your dreams for next season a reality. Its also the perfect time to have your car detailed or ceramic coated.
Peace of mind and security
In some cases our clients have invested a significant amount of time, money, thought, or all of the above, into their vehicles and want to be able to enjoy the 'off season' without any worries about their investment. As mentioned above we have fully climate controlled heating and cooling systems, robust security with cameras and now we have added an additional layer by installing electronically controlled barrier gates on each side of our facility. We can store any make and model and although our storage is by the month, many of our customers book us ahead of time for the entire 'off season'.
We have space for about 40 cars - but its filling up fast, give us a call and set up your storage up today.
Yesterday we had a classic 1983 Ferrari in - a 308 GTS Quattrovalvole in for a performance test on the dyno. We often get requests to see how owners classics are doing on power and what the actual horsepower is after losses, particularly after almost 40 years. Before the video of the power test I wanted to take a bit of a retrospective into the history of that era of Ferrari.
In this day and age where everything from Hyundai to Honda's range between 180 to 250 horsepower out of four cylinders (with similar torque values) and a modern 'entry level Ferrari' (Ferrari's words not mine) like the Portofino have 600 HP its often difficult to think that most of the 80's sports cars had significantly less than that. As was the case with many sports cars of the time the 308 was naturally aspirated. In an effort to increase power, Ferrari modified the heads to 4 valves per cylinder - thus the Quattrovalvole badge. The engine is transversely mounted with a 5 speed gated transmission tucked behind and just below the oil sump. Fuel was controlled via a Bosch K Jetronic fuel injection system and spark controlled by a Marelli electronic ignition system. The European version of the car did not have as many emission regulations and Ferrari stated (somewhat optimistically) that version came in with 240 Horsepower at around 7000 rpm with a top speed of 255 km/hr (about 160 mph). and somewhat less for the North American version.
In that era many of the sports cars had surprisingly less power than you might think. For comparison The iconic Lamborghini Countach of the same year came in at an impressive 350 horsepower and a naturally aspirated Porsche 911 was about 172. I mentioned modern Hondas and Hyundai's earlier and I think for fairness and context a 1983 Honda Civic had a 'blistering' 67 Horsepower and a Hyundai Stellar had 10 more than that. For those that are thinking I left out similar era American cars...a 5 litre V8 Mustang had 176 horsepower and a base model C4 Corvette had around 205 HP.
It was the 80's and it was as much about looks, style and exclusivity as it was about speed and handling. In the case of the 308 it was raised to iconic status in part through a mustachioed private detective on Oahu - Magnum PI. It probably did more for advertising in that era than all of Ferraris ad campaigns combined.
Lets be honest though - it would not be the same TV show if Tom Selleck drove a Hyundai Stellar, particularly since it had a hand operated, manual choke, but I digress.
The styling of the car itself followed a series of lines that were as recognizable as the giant shoulder pads in womens dresses (think Dallas or Dynasty) to the 'popped' collars sported by a significant portion of the nation. This particular Targa Top variant era of the model made its debut in 1982 at the Paris Salon. It carried forward a bit of the wedge design that was so in vogue in the decade preceding it and was rendered by Pininfarina’s Leonardo Fioravanti. Over the course of its production run around 4000 of them were produced.
The interior as well takes its cue from the era in all of its analog glory with all of the main cluster of gauges in a single binnacle in front of the driver. RPM and Speedometer take their place on the right and left respectively and the cluster is rounded out by oil pressure and temperature, plus a fuel level gauge.
This particular example we had for a power pull was very impressive. The car starts slow and winds up to its full RPM with its distinctive Ferrari V8 snarl. In this case, the car is smooth and power gains through the RPM band rise steadily. After almost 40 years the car has lost less than 10% of its output and is an excellent example of how a well maintained classic can be.
After the power run and the fans were shut down the room was filled with the smell of a 1980's sports car. Hydrocarbons and octane would be an apt way to describe it and once you have smelled it, its addictive, particularly since I was filming as it hit the top of its RPM range while standing near the exhaust. Although the top of the charts was, "Every breath you take by the Police" for 1983, I cant imagine a better sound track than the high revving Ferrari engine itself. Enjoy.