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MG MGA - Pennzoil 25W 50 Racing oil

Has anyone used this oil. It apparently contains the correct amounts of ZDDP. I have broken in my rebuilt 1600 engine with 30W Joe Gibbs Break In racing oil at the recommendation of my engine rebuilder who also recommends using Pennzoil 25W 50 Racing oil for normal road use. It's readily available on line at around $50 for a case of 12 qts. Any thoughts.

Andy 60 Coupe
Andy Preston

I bought a case to use with my MGA 1600 MkII, which is still running the original engine, because of the ZDDP. No complaints, save it's probably the most expensive oil my MGA has ever been treated to. I understand it's called Racing Oil to indicate that it's NOT for contemporary street cars, as the ZDDP, and perhaps other ingredients, are NOT good for catalytic convertors.
Steve K

I've been using Valvoline VR1 20-50 Racing oil. It has the proper zink in it and it's $3.98 per quart. A cheep price to protect the engine. I have been very happy with the results.

David Honness


Very simple if it is rated SE, SF it will be fine but higher than SG, you avoid it, like modern SM for example.

I found at W-M 20w50 motorcycle oil, their brand: Tech 2000, here in Canada, which is SE, SF, SG..


Jean Guy Catford

The guys that used to do machine work on my MGB and MGC engines built engines for Mark Martin and Daryl Walthrop. Many years have passed, but on a scale of 1 to 10 (best to worst) Pennzoil was 19. I've always heard of 3 brands in no particular order: Catrol, Valvoline and Kendall. The MG agency mechanics that worked on my car(s) in the mid to late 70s swore by Valvoline. Much time has passed since I heard those comments, but consider the marker that each of the brands aims at.
Rick Penland

I too, have switched to Valvoline VR1 20-50 Racing oil. Commonly available at your local Walmart. I'll report back in 10-20 years to let you know how it worked out.
C Schaefer

Real racing oil is not appropriate for street use. It will not protect your engine adequately for 3,000 miles until the next oil change. VR1 is not "real" racing oil, but rather a street oil with the word "racing" on the label so people with performance cars will want to buy it, so it is perfectly safe to use in an MGA.

The bottom line is that you need an oil with all the necessary ingredients and protective properties for your car, driving habits and climate. There are several on the market that should satisfy any MGA owner's requirements.
Steve Simmons

Thanks for everyone's input. It looks like Pennzoil 25w 50 racing oil may not be the optimum choice and that Valvaline VR1 may be better. Are there any other good choices for an MGA with a rebuilt engine.

Thanks Andy 60 Coupe
Andy Preston


I mentioned earlier: oil with SAE class SE or SF are required for that vintage engine, like motorcycle oil. Or buy a good brand of modern class SM like Castrol GTX 20W50, add 1 bottle of ZDDP additive and it will be also acceptable.


Jean Guy Catford

I have been using Castrol Syntec 20W-50.
They list the following features of the oil:
# Contains increased zinc levels for extra engine wear prevention.
# Utilizes proprietary additives and base oils to reduce metal–on–metal contact of aging engine parts.
# Engineered to increase wear protection for classic cars with flat tappet camshafts

Jim Ferguson

Classic Car Motor Oil is my recommendation. It's made by DA Lubricants who are a high-end manufacturer, and designed specifically for vintage engines.
Steve Simmons

Hello Jim,

Your classic syntec seems appealing. But there is a drawback . In archives of MGB you will find many post regarding the high detergent aspect of synthetics oils for an old full of deposits (read sludge) engine. Syntec is a good solution for newly rebuilt motor.


Jean Guy Catford

This thread was discussed between 15/05/2009 and 23/05/2009

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