By Mike Atwal
23rd January 2020

Running a V8 for Half The Price!

We are all aware of the black cloud hanging over diesel. A cloud that did in fact once sit behind the diesel cars in question. Tesla is leading the way in cranking up the amps to the electric vehicle market and charging up the industry demand in a true fast-charge manner. In terms of petrol, even super unleaded is a little worried that one day it may well be in the same category as it’s sibling 95; relegated and defunct.

There is, however, another contender for survival in the mix that is often overlooked, especially in the land of the modern classic.

Liquid Petroleum Gas. LPG for short.

There could be a little wave of motors that will slowly mature into modern classics, all running on LPG.

If you had asked me back in 2015 about LPG, I would have firmly turned my nose up. Now my daily soldier of a BMW 645ci that spends a lot of time out in mainland Europe, in and out of snow, sun, beaten roads and silky new asphalt has 28’000 glorious miles under its belt with me and LPG at the helm.

€0.96 for gas?! That’s half-price!

Let’s get the big fat elephant out the room first; an LPG converted car, even if done neatly, is generally considered taboo for any form of a modern classic, so let’s forget the value of the car itself.

What about if we focus on the running cost? Yes, it really does slash the fuel bill. I drive for half the price of unleaded pretty much. I bought the car with the installation in place, didn’t cost me a penny, and the car was the same purchase price as non-LPG versions around.

Apparently better for the environment, LPG does reduce the performance when you press on, but using up to 70% of my throaty V8’s propulsion is more than enough for my gentle driving style.

LPG is freezing like liquid nitrogen and thus caution must be used in the form of gloves to fill up. It starts on unleaded and only when warm does the LPG kick in. LPG uses a widget that is plumbed into the coolant circuit and being a freezing liquid, it naturally keeps the coolant temp down a bit and the heater a little less hot.

Fine for a hot running BMW engine.

It’s not suitable for all cars, such as those that are direct injection, not all car parks allow LPG cars in, and I remind you all that an LPG tank will impact space, weight and visual appeal of the car. My 6 is heavy at the rear with its 75l tank; perfect for iced-over hills out in Eastern Europe on trips. My filler is hidden behind the petrol flap neatly. I service the system yearly. The money I save sits in an account that my bank calls ‘Saver.’

Hope you have a shovel and spade Mike!

I think they don’t know how to spell ‘2005 DB9 coupe, in black, with black leather’.

Here’s where I’ve ended up conclusion wise.

Check out all the rules for car parks you use, channel crossings and so forth, along with where LPG is sold near you, and if you can’t see any inconveniences, buy a car that’s already converted neatly and just start driving cheaply.

Don’t purposely fit LPG.

So when you see an LPG big engine borderline modern classic, don’t dismiss it immediately.