Letter: Classic car dilemma

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The Independent Online
Classic car dilemma

Sir: The Government is to implement the European Commission proposal to ban the sale of leaded four-star petrol from 2000. This will adversely affect all of as who have older or classic cars.

Most cars made before the 1990s will be unable to run on unleaded fuel. The lead additive provides a protective coating for exhaust valves and valve seats. Without it, heat and impact damage to the cylinder head will eventually destroy an engine.

As yet there are no approved lead substitutes on the market. Existing engines may be adapted by fitting hardened valves, valve guides and valve seats - at a cost. A Rover B series engine, as used in MGBs, will cost in excess of pounds 400 to modify.

Petrol stations will be able to sell a limited amount of four-star petrol - 0.5 per cent of total sales. Many petrol stations will find it uneconomical to continue to sell leaded fuel and those that do will be able to charge a "monopoly" price.

Replacing an existing vehicle with a new one is more damaging to the environment than allowing it to continue to run on leaded fuel. Should this ban go ahead then we old/classic motorists should be compensated.