Gas Trivia

Discussion in '308/328' started by Crowndog, Mar 11, 2020.

  1. Crowndog

    Crowndog F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed

    Jul 16, 2011
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    Interesting little bit of aviation history

    It has always puzzled me as to why the German Luftwaffe kept on using 87 Octane Aviation Gasoline while the Americans and British used 100 Octane Gasoline in their Spitfire Fighters and Americans used 130 Octane in our P-51 and other fighters. This morning I discovered the reason!
    This is a declassified article by the British Society of Chemists
    (Declassified in 2014)
    It seems that the German and British aircraft both used 87 Octane Gasoline in the first two years of the war. While that was fairly satisfactory in the German Daimler-Benz V-12 engine, It was marginal in the British Rolls-Royce Merlin XX engine in British aircraft. It fouled the spark-plugs, caused valves to stick, And made frequent engine repair problems.
    Then came lend- lease and American aircraft began to enter British service in great numbers. If British engines hated 87 Octane gasoline,
    American, General Motors Built, Allison 1710 engines loathed and despised it. Something had to be done!
    Along came an American named Tim Palucka, a chemist for Sun Oil in their South East Texas Refinery. Never heard of him? Small wonder,
    very few people have. He took a French formula for enhancing the octane of Gasoline, and invented the "Cracking Tower" and produced 100 octane aviation Gasoline. This discovery led to great joy among our English Cousins and great distress among the Germans.
    A Spitfire fueled with 100 Octane gasoline was 34 miles per hour faster at 10,000 feet. The need to replace engines went from every 500 hours of operation to every 1,000 hours. Which reduced the cost of British aircraft by 300 Pounds Sterling. Even more, when used in 4-engine bombers. The Germans couldn't believe it when Spitfires that couldn't catch them a year ago started shooting their ME-109 E and G models right out of the sky.
    Of course, the matter had to be kept secret. If the Germans found out that it was a French Invention, They'd simply copy the original French
    patents. If any of you have ever wondered what they were doing in that 3 story white brick building in front of the Sun Oil Refinery on
    Old Highway 90, that was it. They were re-inventing gasoline.
    The American Allison engines improved remarkably with 100 Octane gasoline, but did much better when 130 octane gasoline came along in
    1944. The 130 Octane also improved the Radial Engine Bombers we produced.
    The Germans and Japanese never snapped to the fact that we had re-invented gasoline. Neither did our "Friends" the Russians.
    100,000 Americans died in the skies over Europe. Lord only knows what that number would have been without "Super-Gasoline". And it all was invented just a few miles west of Beaumont, and we never knew a thing about it.
  2. Ferraripilot

    Ferraripilot F1 World Champ
    Project Master Owner

    May 10, 2006
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    It's man
    Neat stuff Rob.

    The German invention of mechanical fuel injection, which allowed aircraft to fly in any manner they wanted, had the carburetor crowd in spades though. We saw that type of injection used by Porsche and of course Ferrari through the 70s.
  3. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
    Austin TX
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    Brian Crall
    #3 Rifledriver, Mar 11, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2020
    The Germans were happy just to have gasoline. It was all they could do to make enough even at lower qualities. Their fuel shortage was one reason 70% of their over the road transportation was horse drawn. They did have high octane though in very limited quantities, very high. General Galland for one had a ME109 that required very high octane (more than 130) because of the engine modifications.
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  4. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
    Austin TX
    Full Name:
    Brian Crall
    #4 Rifledriver, Mar 11, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2020
    The German development of "High speed" fuel injection. We had it too but built under Bosch patents. We just never used it for gas engines. At the time it was basically diesel injection adapted to a gas engine. Diesel trucks wouldn't run without it.
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  5. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
    Austin TX
    Full Name:
    Brian Crall
    Never seen it on a Ferrari. The race cars used a Lucas style system. Very different from Bosch.
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  6. ferrariowner

    ferrariowner Formula Junior

    Feb 21, 2014
    Mansfield, TX
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    Supercharged engines need hi octane fuel.
    Most WW2 aircraft never made it hundreds of hours.
  7. Alex308qv

    Alex308qv Karting

    Jul 1, 2016
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    Probably meant to say Alfa (SPICA ‘68-‘79). Of course ubiquitous Bosch mech FI in many Benzes of that era too.
  8. Corvus

    Corvus Rookie

    May 10, 2007
    To bring this back to Ferraris. All the NA cars really perform much better with 100 octane. Or anything better than the 91 octane common in California. However the 812 still has a lower redline as compared to Europe no matter the octane. (8750 rpm is the highest I've seen.) I have found that the modern turbo F cars do not require the higher octane. In fact, I have never had the urge to try it.
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  9. JCR

    JCR F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Mar 14, 2005
    H-Town, Tejas
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  10. jacques

    jacques Formula Junior

    May 23, 2006
    Los Angeles/Florida
    Affer all is said and done my father and this allied flying mates still won the War, even with shorter- lived engines.. these were not garage queens..they were tools meant to save lives...kinda like car racing?? Jq.
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