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New Premium Fuel Formulation Ideal for Classic Car Engines

LeMay – America’s Car Museum’s 1961 Chrysler 300G fueling up at Shell.

With over three hundred cars on display at any given time at LeMay – America’s Car Museum, it’s sometimes difficult to regularly drive them all. When they’re started and moved for an event or exhibition, it’s often only for a few minutes – not nearly enough time for the cars to reach proper operating temperature.

With modern fuel injection, that’s no big deal. But our older cars use carburetors with mechanical chokes, and short runs can result in a rich burn condition which can accumulate sticky excess fuel deposits in the engine, technically known as “gunk”.

When we took off on the first Drive Home cross-country road trip almost five years ago, we pulled three “driver” classics out of the collection and set off on a 3,200-mile winter passage to Detroit.  Our curatorial team prepared three cars with new fluids, filters, plugs and wires. One car – a 1961 Chrysler 300G – utilized a NASCAR-inspired, 413 V-8 engine with dual four-barrel carburetors connected by long ram intake manifolds.

The 1961 Chrysler 300G, 1957 Chevy Nomad and 1966 Ford Mustang on The Drive Home in 2015.

Leaving the Museum in Tacoma, we had no problems. But as we started to encounter real world conditions – cold air, rain, snow, elevation changes and stop-and-go traffic – we began to detect some issues with the big Chrysler engine.

There was a noticeable hiccup when starting out from a stoplight, and on the freeway you could hear a slight rattling sound coming from the combustion chambers. The hesitation was likely a clogged carburetor jet, and the rattling was detonation – a problem caused when the gunk built up in your engine glows red and pre-ignites the fuel mixture being drawn into the engine.

Detonation robs the engine of power, and can cause real damage over time. And sitting behind the wheel listening to it hammer away at your engine for ten days can be disconcerting, to say the least.

But an unexpected thing started to happen as we came down the eastern slope of Mt. Hood in Oregon. Little by little, the rattle seemed to be going away. Idle and throttle response were improving, too. We started to pay attention to the fuel we were using – Shell V-Power NiTRO+ premium gasoline – which we were sourcing via the Station Locator on the Shell phone app.

The Drive Home’s 1957 Chevy Nomad fueling up with Shell V-Power NiTRO+.

With each tankful of Shell V-Power NiTRO+, the cars ran better. By the time we hit eastern Colorado, we were charging down on-ramps at full throttle. Idles improved. And that high-performance Chrysler 413 just hummed along like its designers intended.

Normally a chore, we were almost giddy to pull into the next Shell station to see just how much the car’s performance would increase.

Shell attributes this to V-Power’s exclusive additive package, designed to tackle gunk, wear, corrosion and now friction with the new formulation that just launched in May. The fuel’s high detergent content – seven times greater than the federally-mandated requirement – gradually cleared out our car’s carburetors, valvetrains and combustion chambers over extended and consistent use on The Drive Home. Developed with the same technological advantages that the Formula One team Scuderia Ferrari uses, the V-Power NiTRO+ seems ideally suited to our classic car engines.

Even the 1917 Crane-Simplex Model 5 received the Shell V-Power NiTRO+ treatment on The Drive Home II in 2016-17!

Now, there’s unlikely to be any scientific data coming out from Shell about the effects of V-Power on old carbureted engines. There’s just too few around. But take it from this old boy who sat behind the wheel for 3,200 miles, and then again in three different classics in three subsequent Drive Home road trips: I don’t pass a Shell station without fueling my own classic up with Shell V-Power NiTRO+. It’s cheap insurance against fuel-related problems, and it feels like a trip to the machine shop after a few tanks. Try it yourself – you’ll feel it in the seat of your pants with your classic car or motorcycle.

William Hall is an automotive journalist based in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

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The Drive Home III: Epilogue – Driving the Future

By William Hall, The Drive Home veteran

Twenty-four-year-old Michael Ciesielski had never driven a classic car in his life–until he jumped in a 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville and drove over 2,400 miles from Florida to Detroit in the middle of winter a good writer reviews.

Mike is barely into six months on the marketing team for Kettering University (formerly known as the GM Institute in Flint) and had been assigned by the university to pilot its cherished Cadillac, endowed to the school by a longtime, popular chemistry professor named Reg Bell.

Professor Bell was one of those transformative figures who embodied the spirit of the college responsible for training generations of America’s transportation business leaders and engineers. For a university heavy on science and technology education, but devoid of sports teams, this particular Cadillac is both an iconic mascot and treasured university asset. Continue reading “The Drive Home III: Epilogue – Driving the Future”

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The Drive Home III tour from Florida to Detroit ends with a bang

By William Hall, The Drive Home veteran

Vintage vehicles weave across the country on their way to the North American International Auto Show

The Drive Home III, the annual cross-country classic car tour held by America’s Automotive Trust for the opening of the North American International Auto Show, covered nearly 2,500 miles in a weaving path to Detroit, and was accident free – until the last hour ethics their.
Continue reading “The Drive Home III tour from Florida to Detroit ends with a bang”

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The Drive Home III: Homecoming

Photo by Derek Klein. Other photos by author, unless otherwise noted.

By William Hall, The Drive Home veteran

The Drive Home III –the little classic-car caravan that could – reached Detroit on Friday after more than 2,484 miles through unseasonably cold weather in the south. Beginning in Boca Raton, Florida, the annual mid-winter tour zig-zagged across the southeast before driving into the Cobo Center for the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).

The trip was not without incident, or accident. Although a number of the mechanical maladies were typical of cars pulled from collection display and driven – with failures from voltage regulators, heater cores and batteries – by-and-large the cars all worked well, even outperforming some of the modern support vehicles on the tour. Continue reading “The Drive Home III: Homecoming”

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A Diary from the road – Days 9/10: 2,484 Miles Later — Rode Hard And Put Away Wet

By Rock Jenkins, State Farm, The Drive Home II and III Driver

The final 250 miles from Cincinnati were fairly ordinary, except for one thing we hadn’t seen on the trip: rain. North of Cincy we stopped in a downpour at a Dunkin Donuts Cars and Coffee where Chris Zimmerman welcomed our Drive Home III team with coffee, breakfast sandwiches and – of course – donuts. Continue reading “A Diary from the road – Days 9/10: 2,484 Miles Later — Rode Hard And Put Away Wet”

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A Diary from the Road – Day 8: Things Get Really Interesting In Nashville and Bowling Green

By Rock Jenkins, State Farm, The Drive Home II and III Driver

What a great day with the resilient and energetic Drive Home III team, and today’s drive from Nashville to Cincinnati proves once again that our country is replete with passionate stewards of the automobile who are determined both the cars and the heritage and spirit that make them so special.

Our first morning stop was the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville where owner Jeff Lane and his Marketing Director Vicki Garrison gave us a tour of the incredibly diverse array of Lane vehicles. Housed in a massive old Sunbeam Bakery building, the eclectic 500-vehicle collection features an extensive variety of wheeled vehicles. Examples of the genres include micro-cars (defined as cars with motors under 400cc), cars from different countries, flying cars, bicycles, and various oddities. Continue reading “A Diary from the Road – Day 8: Things Get Really Interesting In Nashville and Bowling Green”

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The Drive Home III: Day eight – Memory Lane

By William Hall, The Drive Home veteran

The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville is certainly known for its collection of micro-cars and rare oddities of the automobile world, but the 500-vehicle museum that Jeff Lane has built is a true temple to transportation, saluting the unknown innovators that pushed forward automotive evolution through success and spectacular failure. Continue reading “The Drive Home III: Day eight – Memory Lane”

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A Diary from the Road – Day 7: The Long Drive to Nashville

By Rock Jenkins, State Farm, The Drive Home II and III Driver

A Drive Home III team cheer in the icy Charlotte hotel parking lot this morning and we were on our way for the longest daily drive yet: 400+ miles to Nashville. I drove the Camaro part way, and then my partner journalist Larry Nutson drove as well. We wound our way up into the Smoky Mountains, through fog that had settled in low spots along the way. We also took great care to steer clear of slick spots and the stretch west of Canton on I-40 that our friend Dale Wickell had warned us could be full of trucks and sharp curves. Continue reading “A Diary from the Road – Day 7: The Long Drive to Nashville”

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The Drive Home III: Day seven – The Gorge

By William Hall, The Drive Home veteran

The Drive Home team is heading west from Charlotte for a long, 400-mile push through Knoxville and onto Nashville. It’s a shame that we are flying past some of the country’s best driving roads around the Smoky Mountains, but we have a tight schedule to keep if we want to stay ahead of the weather and deliver our six classic cars to the North American International Auto Show on time. Continue reading “The Drive Home III: Day seven – The Gorge”

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A Diary From The Road – Day 6: Every Day Better Than The Last!

By Rock Jenkins, State Farm, The Drive Home II and III Driver

Day 6 for our Drive Home III team was chock full of fun and amazing cars. First stop was Michelin HQ in Greenville, S.C., where our hosts gave three of our cars a change to all-weather tires for the last half of our trip. A slight snag came when the new wheels wouldn’t fit the small alignment tab on the Fury. Not to worry, soon Mike and I were on our way to Jackson Motorsports with him driving the Fury and me in the International truck with the replacement tires in the back. Jackson does marketing and events for Michelin, and while the Fury was getting new treads we got an insider’s tour of the high-performance tire world from Jackson’s Lowell Eckart. Continue reading “A Diary From The Road – Day 6: Every Day Better Than The Last!”

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