Rick’s ‘Bullet in the tank’ item about Arturo Peraia’s discovery of lumps of lead in his old Triumph’s fuel tank (Rick’s Fixes, August 2018) cautiously avoided any comment about whoever put them there. I understand that his job as a writer behoves him to treat readers with respect – even those dumb enough to put lumps of lead in their tanks. But as a correspondent, I am not so constrained by the need for diplomacy. The kindest thing that can be said of such people is that they’re gullible.
Metallic lead and tetraethyl lead are completely different substances. Tetraethyl lead is a viscous, colourless liquid that is mixed into fuel. The mere fact that lumps of metallic lead last for years in the tank without being consumed should tell anyone with a scrap of intelligence that it’s not going into the engine. But even if it was leaching into the fuel, pure metallic lead in an engine is likely to do more harm than good.
Let’s put aside the bothersome reality of science for a moment and take a wee diversion into the fantasy land inhabited by those happy folk who believe that metallic lead is an effective replacement for tetraethyl lead. Let’s also assume they’re aware that leaded fuel was banned for environmental reasons. That must trigger some dim level of suspicion that their own lead ‘additive’ is probably not a good thing for the environment, either. While in reality they are not making their exhaust emissions any worse, by their twisted logic they must believe they are, which indicates a lack of regard for their fellow creatures. It’s a weird example of someone making a reprehensible choice without doing any actual harm.
As for anyone who produces and sells such devices to those hillbillies who believe the absurd claims, suffice to say that they are thieving scum. Any further comment about them would not be printable in a genteel magazine such as Classic Bike.
CAM DOUGLAS, TASMANIA
Well, you’re certainly right in what you say about how I answered it! Thing is, I have met quite a few readers who have tried this product and have faith in it and I don’t feel it’s down to me to call them fools. Some say that the things get smaller over time – but having done some reading up on it, the claim, as I understand it, is that it isn’t just a lump of lead but some soluble compound developed by the military to improve bad fuel in outlying theatres of operation. How you tell if it is indeed this miracle substance rather than just some old fishing weights, I am not entirely sure! RICK PARKINGTON