The development of engine oil specifications in North America, Europe and Japan has resulted in a proliferation of performance tests of increasing complexity and cost. At the same time, the transportation industry is becoming more international with vehicle populations of mixed national origin the rule, rather than the exception. In this context, regional specification writing bodies are making efforts to rationalize their own specifications and to enter into dialogue with each other. Central to any attempt at rationalization, regionally or internationally, is the availability of high-quality reference oils. Data on two formulations (a passenger car motor oil and a heavy-duty engine oil) which have met major requirements of North American, European and Japanese engine builders are presented.