Throwback Thursday – Land's End to John O'Groats on one tank, 10 July 1976
Source : Throwback Thursday – Land's End to John O'Groats on one tank, 10 July 1976
Autocar’s Austin 1800 long-term test car covers the 867-mile trek by one end of the country to the various other – without stopping for fuel
Driving the country by toe to tip has always been an alluring challenge for motoring journalists.
For Stuart Bladon, Martin Lewis along with photographer Peter Cramer, This specific was a way of investigating the frugality of Autocar’s Austin 1800 long-term test car, which had been converted to run a dual petrol-LPG fuel set-up.
“Our Austin retained its 16-gallon petrol tank, plus a 15-gallon cylinder within the boot for LPG,” wrote Bladon along with Lewis in their account of the trip, which also raised money for charity. “With of which lot, we argued, surely This specific would likely even go by Land’s End to John O’Groats without refuelling. Or would likely This specific?”
The team set off to their departure point, Land’s End, within the middle of of which summer’s heatwave. “We decided of which a late start would likely suit best, giving us most of the driving during the night. We kept the gas tank filled up to the warning line on the gauge, which, unfortunately, is usually on the tank within the boot; there is usually no direct read-off within your vehicle. The drive to Cornwall was made on petrol, since we knew we might be in difficulty trying to refill the gas cylinder down there.”
In front of swarms of holidaymakers at Land’s End, they brimmed the petrol tank, generating their departure at exactly 5pm. “Within half an hour we were stuck within the Penzance rush hour (if they call This specific of which),” they reported. “Eventually we were clear along with able to build up the speed again, to Tiverton.
“Long before the event, we had written to the AA for a route, which they furnished with due solemnity, showing the distance as 865.95 miles. However, we noticed of which they took us by Okehampton down to Exeter, which the map clearly showed to involve extra mileage. Instead, we cut across, using Ordnance Survey maps. Once on the M5 we relaxed, switched to gas along with pushed up the cruising speed to 60mph.”
As they neared Carlisle, they hit trouble. The team didn’t realise This specific at the time, although a faulty regulator valve had been feeding an over-rich mixture of LPG into the engine.
“Stuart was attempting sleep within the back when your vehicle gave a jerk along with then started off to lose speed. ‘The gas has gone,’ came the muttered explanation. 330 miles covered on 15 gallons of gas meant we had barely cleared 20mpg, along with of which meant over 500 miles to do on the petrol.
“Could we believe the petrol gauge? If we could, then This specific might still be on. This specific was still over the half mark on the A9 near Balinluig. This specific became increasingly obvious of which we should complete the distance safely enough for the speed to be increased to 50mph.”
Panic over, the team found their arrival at John O’Groats to be “something of an anti-climax, although This specific was great to get out along with stretch along with know of which we had done This specific”.
The true distance of the route was measured at 860.3 miles. The Austin had covered 540.6 miles on 13.05 gallons to give average petrol consumption of 41.4mpg.
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