Founder Ole Bardahl

This is a story of a man who, against all odds, prospered by hard work and determination. Ole Bardahl was a Norwegian immigrant who arrived in the United States in 1922 and settled in Ballard, a community of Scandinavian immigrants located in Northwest Seattle. Eventually he found a job in a Ballard sawmill. When not working, he struggled to save money from his meagre wages and went to school studying chemistry, accounting and English. In 1929, Mr. Bardahl had saved enough money to become a building contractor. Throughout the depression era, he worked 16-hour a day building and selling homes he had built. By 1936, he had reached a point where he was able to try his hand in other business opportunities. 1939, he began his second business and bought a small chemical company (the beginning of Bardahl). He had a small manufacturing plant in Ballard, where he personally oversaw the entire operation from operating blending tanks, serving as salesman, shipping clerk and canning machine operator. The company he bought had a few cleaners and one oil product. Ole Bardahl was a man of vision quickly realizing the potential of his oil additive. Sales in the first few years were slim. In 1939, sales amounted to a mere $188 and WWII kept growth to a minimum due to wartime shortages. After 1939, racing enthusiasts in America found that adding Bardahl to their automobiles gave them an advantage over their competition. These enthusiasts demanded the performance and Bardahl delivered every time.

Bardahl has been present in all forms and levels of racing around the world including Formula 1, the IndyCar Circuit, Unlimited Hydroplanes, Airplanes, Off-Road and World Rally Championship Series and such world-famous races as the Indianapolis 500, Monte Carlo and the Paris to Dakar. In 1947, Bardahl saw sales rise to $200,000 and by 1952, Bardahl sales were ranked third among its competitors. Soon after, the results of an effective television advertising campaign established Bardahl as the top seller in the United States and then the international number one seller, a position still enjoyed in many countries. In August 2014, Ole Bardahl was inducted into theMotosport’s Hall of Fame of America.