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Kurtis 500B Bardahl Special driven in the 1955 Indianapolis 500
Bardahl logo

Bardahl is a brand name of a line of petroleum lubrication products used in automobiles and other internal combustion engines. Bardahl Manufacturing Corporation is based in Seattle, Washington, United States.

Ole Bardahl[edit]

The industrialist and founder of Bardahl Oil Company in 1939 was Ole Bardahl, a Norwegian immigrant to the United States. Ole Bardahl (28 Jan 1902 – 11 Aug 1989) arrived in Seattle, USA, in 1922 with $29 in his pocket and couldn’t speak a word of English. He became a millionaire by the age of 39 as a general contractor in Seattle, building homes. After that, he founded the Bardahl Oil Company in Ballard, a northwest suburb of Seattle. The company is still owned and managed by the Bardahl family.


Its original factories were located in Ballard, Washington. In the mid-1950s, Bardahl was the leading brand of motor oil and oil additives in the United States.

Bardahl's oil additive was advertised during the 1950s in animated TV commercials which showed the product's effectiveness in combating engine problems such as "Dirty Sludge", "Sticky Valves," "Gummy Rings," and "Blackie Carbon," all of which were anthropomorphized in the commercials.


In the early 1960s York Research Corporation, an independent commercial testing laboratory of Glenbrook, Connecticut conducted controlled testing on Bardahl. As the result of those tests, York President Warren C. Hyer was featured in regional and national Bardahl television advertisements touting the benefits of Bardahl as an oil additive. For many years the York Research company seal could be found on all cans of Bardahl.

Miss Bardahl[edit]

The company remains prominent as a result of its sponsorship of motor sports competitors. The "Miss Bardahl" hydroplane was a six time National Champion and five time Gold Cup winner, racing in the United States from 1957 to 1969.


Bardahl can be found in more than 90 countries. Bardahl has been involved in racing, using events as proving grounds for its products, as well as for the new technologies produced by the company's research and development arm. Types included Unlimited Hydroplanes, Offshore Powerboats, Unlimited Airplane Racing, IndyCars and CART Racing, NASCAR, Motorcycle and Snowmobile racing. Al Young's Bardahl sponsored World Championship winning 1970 Dodge Challenger is part of the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) artifact collection in Seattle, WA. Formula 1 drivers such as Fangio, Guerney and Fittipaldi are associated with the Bardahl brand.

The Bardahl product line includes 250 products, including engine oils, motor oil and fuel additives, and specialty lubricants. The company has expanded to foreign markets, opening plants in countries such as France, Belgium, Italy, Argentina, and Brazil.

OEM recognition[edit]

Bardahl is backed by a global network of distributors throughout 90 countries under brands such as Bardahl and Protex by Bardahl. Formulations meet or exceed OEM Top Tier Performance requirements for the automotive industry: Audi - BMW - Chrysler - Citroen - Ferrari - Fiat - Ford - GM - Honda - Hyundai - Mazda - Mercedes - Mitsubishi - Peugeot - Porsche - Renault - Volkswagen

Other sources[edit]

  • The Ole Bardahl Story (James W. Phillips. Sons of Norway, 60:46. March, 1963)
  • Trønderen Ole Bardahl kom til USA (Brooklyn, NY: Nordisk Tidende. Volume 22, July 11, 1963) Norwegian
  • Seattle’s Ole Bardahl - Trønder og multi-millionær (Henning C. Boe. Western Viking, Volume 24, May 19, 1967)

External links[edit]