It has always puzzled me as to why the German Luftwaffe kept on using
87 Octane Aviation Gasoline while the Americans and British used
100 Octane Gasoline in their Spitfire Fighters and Americans used 130
Octane in our P-51 and other fighters. This morning I discovered the reason!
This is a declassified article by the British Society of Chemists
(Declassified in 2014)
It seems that the German and British aircraft both used 87 Octane Gasoline
in the first two years of the war. While that was fairly satisfactory in the German
Daimler-Benz V-12 engine, It was marginal
in the British Rolls-Royce Merlin XX engine in British aircraft.
It fouled the spark-plugs, caused valves to stick, And made frequent
engine repair problems.
Then came lend- lease and American aircraft began to enter British
service in great numbers. If British engines hated 87 Octane gasoline,
American, General Motors Built, Allison 1710 engines loathed and despised it.
Something had to be done!
Along came an American named Tim Palucka, a chemist for Sun Oil
in their South East Texas Refinery. Never heard of him? Small wonder,
very few people have. He took a French formula for enhancing the octane
of Gasoline, and invented the “Cracking Tower” and produced 100 octane
aviation Gasoline. This discovery led to great joy among our English
Cousins and great distress among the Germans.
A Spitfire fueled with 100 Octane gasoline was 34 miles per hour faster at 10,000 feet. The
need to replace engines went from every 500 hours of operation to
every 1,000 hours. Which reduced the cost of British aircraft by 300
Pounds Sterling. Even more, when used in 4 engine bombers.
The Germans couldn’t believe it when Spitfires that couldn’t catch them
a year ago started shooting their ME-109 E and G models right out of
Of course, the matter had to be kept secret. If the Germans found out
that it was a French Invention, They’d simply copy the original French
patents. If any of you have ever wondered what they were doing in
that 3 story white brick building in front of the Sun Oil Refinery on
Old Highway 90, that was it. They were re-inventing gasoline.
The American Allison engines improved remarkably with 100 Octane
gasoline, but did much better when 130 octane gasoline came along in
1944. The 130 Octane also improved the Radial Engine Bombers we
The Germans and Japanese never snapped to the fact that
we had re-invented gasoline. Neither did our “Friends” the Russians.
100,000 Americans died in the skies over Europe.
Lord only knows what that number would have been without
“Super-Gasoline”. And it all was invented just a few miles west
of Beaumont, and we never knew a thing about it.