Motul Classic Performance Lubricants – Keeping Historic Vehicles on the Road


Motul Classic Performance lubricants are a special part of Motul’s catalog. The automotive industry is continuously evolving with new and improved technologies being implemented every day. Engines are becoming more and more efficient, using less fuel, and operating at higher pressures. Motul is one of the leading lubrication experts who is keeping pace with this rapid progress.

However, parallel with developing high-performance engine oils for modern motors, Motul has invested effort into designing advanced lubricants for older engines. Said lubricants fall within the Classic Performance line, and today we’ll tell you all about them!

Owning Classic Cars in 2020

It’s no secret that the world is slowly turning against the internal combustion engine. The sings are on the walls. However, classic cars and trucks are still a blast to own. With that said, there are two types of owners out there – those who treat their cars as pieces of vintage art that are never to leave the garage and those who enjoy their machines the way they are meant to be enjoyed.

Treating your car as a piece of art is fine, but many will agree that classic cars and trucks belong on the street. Those who feel this way are presented with a rather interesting predicament. 

To drive a classic car means frequent maintenance. Most of these machines have been around the block a few times and require more extensive care that goes beyond service intervals found in these cars’ owner’s manuals.

As it turns out, performing maintenance can be an issue, and it has nothing to do with the lack of or rarity of spare parts. It’s the lubricants and fluids that are causing the friction, pun intended.

Are Modern Synthetic Oils Too Modern?

Vintage engines, just like any other engine, are built to certain specifications. Every manufacturer issues a manual that states what kind of lubricants should be used, how often you should change fluids, and more. If you were to look at a manual for a 1950s car, the chances are that you wouldn’t be able to source the exact same engine oil they recommend.

What comes next is a rather logical question – which oil should you use? This is where the classic car community divides into two camps. One side feels that you should simply use modern synthetic oils while the other is vocally opposed to that practice.

The problem with dumping something like Motul 8100 X-Clean 5W30 into a Jaguar XK150  has nothing to do with the lubricating properties of the oil, but rather the detergents that it contains.

Modern engine oils are packed with heavy detergents that prevent any buildup of gunk or oil residue on various engine components. With that said, the lubrication systems in modern cars are specifically designed to handle these detergents, among other things.

Vintage cars? Not so much. Older engine designs actually rely on a little bit of gunk buildup to operate as intended. 

We have to issue a little disclaimer here. Some classic cars will indeed work fine with modern synthetic oils meaning that both sides of the community are partially right. Figuring out what works for your particular car might take some trial and error in case there isn’t any concrete information out there.

It is always recommended to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when and if possible.

Engine Oil (5w30) (5 Liter) (X-Clean+ 8100)
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Motul Classic Performance – Custom Tailored Lubricants for Classic Cars and Trucks

Motul is one of the few brands that have decided to offer a custom-tailored solution to owners of classic and vintage cars. The company has been working with FIVA (the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens), the international federation of historic vehicles, on creating a line of lubricants that would meet the needs of a wide range of makes and models produced from 1900 up to now.

Motul is the only, or one of the very few lubricant brands that has invested this amount of resources and effort into creating dedicated vintage engine oils. Their Classic Performance series is a work in progress, so we can expect to see more and more products being added over time.

With that said, the line of lubricants Motul has put together is quite impressive and includes blends that have low to medium concentration of detergents, while some are semi-synthetic in nature. Here’s a quick overview of what they offer!

Motul Classic Performance Lubricants

Motul Classic Oil SAE 20W50

The way Motul’s Classic Performance series of oils are divided creates two distinct groups. You’ve got oils designed for cars made before the 1950s and oils meant for cars made after 1950. Classic Oil SAE 20W50 belongs to the latter category. 

This is a mineral oil that features a mild blend and is multigrade in nature. SAE 20W50 was intended to be used in cars and trucks produced up until the 1970s. Motul has created this blend with a medium concentration of detergents, which makes the 20W50 compatible with elastomer gaskets that were used in this period.

This oil offers just the right amount of viscosity that perfectly matches what the metallurgical and engineering standards of that time required.

High Levels of Zinc

One important detail that has made this particular oil popular among classic car owners is the high concentration of zinc. Some of the older engines that feature the so-called flat tappet lifters. With enough zinc in the system, SAE 20W50 effectively reduces the wear on the engine and minimizes friction.

Engine Oil (20w50) (1 Quart) (Classic Performance)
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The Full Range of Fluids

Aside from the SAE 20W50Motul has developed a complete range of oils of varying viscosity that meet other specific requirements. Some blends cover pre-1950s cars that don’t see much action over the year. 

Motul’s two brand new single-grade oils – the Classic Oil SAE 30 and Classic Oil SAE 15W50 offer excellent adhesion to engine components even after long periods of inactivity. Running one of these two oils in your classic car will ensure that you won’t induce any significant wear when you crank your engine after several months of not driving the car.

One of the more interesting oils from this segment is the Classic SAE 50. This particular blend has a very low concentration of detergents and is designed to be used in cars made from 1900 to 1950. The reason why it covers such a specific period comes down to gaskets. 

Back in those days, most manufacturers used paper or even felt in their gaskets. The lower concentration of detergents ensures that said gaskets won’t degrade to the point of failure.

Ever since Motul got involved with FIVA, they have been expanding the Classic Performance line of oils. Over the years, they’ve introduced high-performance options as well that are a derivative of Motul’s 300V series of lubricants.

Aside from actual engine oils, Motul has also developed a line of the gearbox and rear axle lubricants, brake fluids as well as fuel additives. All of these fall within Motul’s Classic Range.”

Engine Oil (5w40) (2 Liter) (Power 300V)
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How Often Should Classic Performance Oils Be Changed?

The oil change interval for most of these oils is once per year. There is no specific mileage recommendation due to the vast diversity of classic cars these go into. If you own a classic sports car and decide that you want to use a high-performance vintage engine oil such as the Motul 300V Le Mans SAE 20W60 or similar, you’ll get all the recommendations with the oil change kit.

Overall, vintage cars are more sensitive when it comes to maintenance. Performing frequent oil changes can only do good for the longevity of your car or truck. At the end of the day, you’ll have to adapt the maintenance schedule to your own taste.

Offering Support to The Classic Car Community

The ongoing cooperation between Motul and FIVA is developing into something that transcends product design. Motul has joined a group of industry leaders that work with FIVA on providing education, advice, and assistance on the correct use of their respective products.

The future looks bright for classic car enthusiasts as Motul plans on expanding the scope of cooperation even further in the future. Motul plans on introducing a higher level of information exchange where they would provide training and technical assistance to classic car owners in countries where FIVA has a presence.

This level of cooperation would be a game-changer for anyone who isn’t quite sure what lubricants they should use in their vintage car.

Get Your Motul Classic Performance Oils at eEuroparts.com

We at eEuroparts.com offer a wide range of Motul products, which includes a part of their ClassicPerformance series. If you’re interested in these oils, make sure to use our navigation tool and find out whether these oils are suitable for your car. 

In case you have any questions, feel free to contact us via our site’s contact form or by giving us a call. We will do our best to clear up any questions you might have regarding Motul’s Classic Performance oils.

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