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BP Visco-static
100,000 Mile

Ford Anglia 105E - BP Visc-static 100,000 Mile Trial

BP In 1961, the British Petroleum Company (BP) undertook a test on six cars. The purpose of the test was to see whether a particular BP lubricant , BP “Visco-static” Motor Oil, could help to reduce wear of a car engine’s cylinder bores, pistons, bearing, valve stems and all parts lubricated by the sump oil; and thereby also reduce the rate of oil consumption expected by the six cars.
What the Trial Consisted of

The trial would consist of 100,000 miles of compressed driving in all sorts of conditions. The six cars would be expected to travel the equivalent of 12 years average family motoring in just nine months. To make the test fair and impartial, the cars were selected and observed throughout the test by the Royal Automobile Club (RAC). The RAC would supervise every aspect of the running and carry out the final strip down, inspections and measurements of wear. The sumps, and cylinder heads of the engines were sealed by the RAC prior to the commencement of the trial. It was also a condition of the trial that if any engine parts dependent upon the efficiency of the lubricant, required repair or replacement at any time, the that car would be disqualified from the total trial.

The Beginning of the Trial

The trial began on the 26th April 1961, when the RAC representatives started visiting car showrooms in search of new cars. On that first day they selected a Morris Mini Minor, a Ford Anglia and a Vauxhall Velox. Six days later the RAC bought a Triumph Herald, 3.8 litre Mark 2 Jaguar, and finally on the 26th May, a Hillman Minx (purchased after the other cars had started the trial). Each car was a standard production line model, with the supplying showrooms having no knowledge of why the cars had been bought.

The Ford Anglia chosen was a new 1961, 997cc, deluxe model, registration number 292 DNM, chassis / engine number 105E 318774. It was purchased from the showrooms of Luton Motor Company, 326/340 Dunstable Road, Luton, with an initial odometer reading of 91 miles.

Anglia on the Forecourt

Looking at Ford Anglia’s on the Forecourt

The cars were taken to the BP Halfway Garage at Luton, where the engines were sealed by the RAC, and the existing oil was drained and replaced with BP “Visco-static” Motor Oil. Special Helda Pilots (mileage instruments calibrated to be 99.5% accurate) were fitted. The refuelling, servicing, repairs and “top-ups” on all of the cars would be supervised by the RAC and undertaken by Halfway Garage. Any servicing, where practicable, would be undertaken at the normal manufacturer’s service intervals.

Filling Up

Filling up at the Petrol Station under RAC Supervision

The Start of the Driving Trial

On 1st May, five of the six cars were rolled out onto the M1 to start the first day of their nine-month trial. The Anglia’s odometer reading at the start of the test was 156 miles. On that first day the Anglia clocked up another 415 miles.

The cars were on the road by 7am every morning, with two drivers per car working in shifts. The cars were driven all day with just the normal meal breaks for the drivers. During the summer, the cars were driven for up to 15 hours a day, and in the winter they were driven to 9pm at night (where practicable) and for six days a week.

Most of the miles were undertaken on the M1 motorway, where the miles could be clocked up safely and quickly. By 25th May, the Anglia had already clocked up 10,000 test miles, and by the end of June, another 10,000 miles

Cars on Motorway

The Ford Anglia clocking up miles on the Motorway

Part of the trial also consisted of the cars tackling town and country roads (you must remember that in 1961, there were hardly any motorways in the UK. Once off the M1 the cars would be back on roads that were still evolving from before the Second World War.) This part of the trial more consistently represented where the average family would be using their vehicle and the type of conditions they would be tackling daily. The trial also included one week in the Lake District of Cumberland.

Cars on Side Roads

By November the 25th, the Anglia had clocked up 90,000 miles. By now though, the weather had deteriorated badly, making the last 10,000 miles tricky for the cars and drivers, but by January all six cars, including the Ford Anglia had made it; 100,000 miles in nine months. The final mileage for the Ford Anglia was 101,495.

Inclement Weather

The Results of the Trial

Now it was time to see if the oil had done what the trial was asking of it. The cars were taken to the BP Research Centre at Sunbury-on-Thames, where the engineers were stripped down under strict RAC supervision and accurate measurements taken for wear of all of the relevant parts.

The relevant manufacturers were invited to inspect the car engines and comment on them, after all of the measurements had been taken.

Ford Engineers

Ford Engineers inspecting the Anglia's Engine Components

The RAC published their reports for each car, with the Ford Anglia one being RAC “Report on Trial No 833” which could be requested from the RAC. The summary report consisted of an A3 size document that folded out to reveal four A3 pages of information. You could also request a copy of a brief case history of the Anglia that described each service interval and what things had had to be done to the car over the length of the trial.

A table of published averages for the Ford Anglia are shown below:

Month MPH MPG Oil Changes Top-ups Miles to 1 Pint Monthly Test Mileages
May 35.8* 42.9 * - - - -
  46.6 47.3 17 1/2 Pints 6 1/2 Pints 1,816 12,711
June 47.6 45.1 13 1/2 Pints 8 Pints 1,811 14,489
July 47.8 45.1 18 Pints 8 Pints 1,873 14,986
August 48.2 44.8 13 1/2 Pints 7 1/2 Pints 1,428 10,714
September 48.1 46.2 13 1/2 Pints 7 1/2 Pints 1,911 14,333
October 48.3 44.4 22 1/2 Pints 4 Pints 3,503 14,013
November 47.6 44.3 17 1/2 Pints 2 Pints 5,110 10,220
December 47.5 42.5 9 Pints 1 Pint 6,270 6,270
January 46.4 41.7 - - 3,759 + 3,759
Averages and Totals 47.1 45.0 125 Pints 44 1/2 Pints 2,280 101,495

* = Running In period of Approximately 3000 Miles

+ = Last Oil change21st December. No additions after this date.

Total Petrol consumed on the trial was 2,255 Gallons

BP produced a booklet that described the trial and gave pertinent extracts of the RAC reports for each vehicle together with some vehicle manufacturers comments.
BP Visco Static The BP "Visco-Static" 100,000 Mile Trial

Printed by Alabaster, Passmore and Sons Ltd
Brochure No BP/162/62

A 32 page booklet that described the trial and gave pertinent extracts of the RAC reports for each vehicle together with some vehicle manufacturers comments.

Ford also produced a leaflet extolling the virtues of the Ford Anglia on the test.
4 times around the world "4 Times Round the World" Test Proves Anglia Quality

Printed in England by Fox Printing Press Ltd
Brochure No T.7287

A 90 x 217mm 3 way fold out brochure that extolls the virtues of the Ford Anglia after it's 100,000 mile test by BP Visco-Static.

Please feel free to email me if you have any further photos or information about the
“BP Visco-static 100,000 Mile Trial”