Scan the pages of any classic car publication or website these days and you’re likely to find mention of ethanol, the constituent that accounts for an increasing percentage of our pump fuels and which has, rightly or wrongly, struck fear into the hearts of classic vehicle owners far and wide. As related advice flows from all quarters, British Motor Heritage (BMH) has come up with a foolproof solution – the supply of ethanol-free fuel.

With immediate effect the company is offering both unleaded and leaded ethanol-free petrol, courtesy of the renowned specialist American supplier VP Racing Fuels. It is being sold in drums of 5 or 54 US gallons (18.93 or 204.41 litres) and classic vehicle enthusiasts and businesses alike have the option of collecting the product from VP’s premises in St Helens, Merseyside, UK, or having it delivered direct to their door anywhere in Britain or mainland Europe. BMH is also stocking VP’s purpose-made easy-pour spouts, complete with vent hole, to help buyers safely transfer the product to their vehicles.

Long shelf life, extra detonation protection, more power

Both these ethanol-free fuels have a shelf life of up to two years and provide extra protection against detonation. They also have the ability to create substantial increases in power and torque when compared with ordinary pump fuel as, at 100 octane, they are 5 percent more potent than typical UK forecourt products. The cost of an 18.93 litre drum is £67.50, which equates to a price of £3.57 per litre (including duty and VAT), plus delivery charges where relevant.

Responding to a cri de coeur

British Motor Heritage (BMH) is best known for the replacement panels and body shells it manufactures for many of the most popular British-built classic cars – see It also markets a range of complementary related parts and accessories via its online store – Motoring Classics(  and produces a quarterly magazine of the same name. It was the response to an article in the Spring 2013 edition of the publication that convinced Managing Director, John Yea, there was a pent-up demand for ethanol-free fuels within the classic vehicle world, and VP have now quite literally come up with the goods.

Said John Yea: “Though we aimed to calm readers’ views on ethanol through the advice of one of Europe’s major fuel suppliers, the resulting correspondence made it clear that some owners would only relax if they could return to using a completely ethanol-free product. Now they can, thanks to the option of VP Vintage Unleaded and VP Vintage Leaded.”

VP’s C12 is claimed to be the most successful fuel in US racing history

Still relatively unknown in the UK, VP cut its teeth on the American motorsport scene, where its product C12 is claimed to be the most successful fuel in US racing history. The company is now the official supplier to 60 major race series and organising bodies around the globe (including the UK’s Santa Pod Raceway and Isle of Man TT), and boasts distributors in Central America, the Middle-East, Asia, Australia and Europe, and a rapidly-growing network of 1,500 dealers.

Commented VP’s Regional Manager for Europe, Jim Kelly: “We are fully au fait with the concerns raised by ethanol among American classic vehicle owners and businesses, and are delighted to be able offer a solution to the UK and European fraternity through BMH. As a classic car enthusiast and racer as well as parts supplier, John Yea is the ideal person to be masterminding the supply of our ethanol-free fuels to the historic vehicle market, and we will be fully supporting this activity with whatever technical support is required.”

British Motor Heritage (BMH) was established in 1975 to support the owners of classic British marques by putting genuine components back into manufacture; using original tools wherever possible. To date it has built over 6,000 replacement bodyshells for the MGB, MGR V8, MG Midget, Austin Healey Sprite, Triumph TR6, original Mini and Mini Clubman, as well as thousands of individual replacement panels. These and other items are distributed internationally by a 60-strong network of specialists. Further details of BMH and its products are available at Motoring Classics is the retail arm of BMH, which sells related products direct to the public. It is also the title of BMH’s free-of-charge quarterly magazine that’s available in printed and app formats – see for further details.

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