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Kurtis 500B Bardahl Special driven in the 1955 Indianapolis 500

Bardahl is a brand name of a line of petroleum lubrication products used in automobiles and other internal combustion engines.


Ole Bardahl

The company was founded in 1939 by Ole Bardahl, a Norwegian immigrant to the United States. Ole Bardahl (28 Jan 1902 - 11 Aug 1989) arrived in the United States in 1922. When he arrived in Seattle, he was a complete stranger and couldn’t speak a word of English. Ole Bardahl founded the Bardahl Manufacturing Company in Seattle, Washington on September 12th, 1939 and sometime later established a permanent presence north of the border with what is now Bardahl Canada headquartered in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec. [1]


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, a leadership position the company no longer enjoys. The brand continues to market a number of lubricants and additives used in automobile engines and in motor sports.

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 "Sticky Valves," "Gummy Rings," and "Blackie Carbon," all of which were anthropomorphized in the commercials.


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

Miss Bardahl

The company remains prominent as a result of its sponsorship of a number of motor sports competitors. The "Miss Bardahl" hydroplane was a consistent contender in hydroplane racing in the United States from 1962 to 1965. Even though this was over 40 years ago, some people remember this 'oldtimer'.


Over the years, Bardahl increased its global presence and can now be found in more than 80 countries throughout the world. There is no better truism than "World Famous Bardahl". The goal of the company was to provide all types of industry with specialty lubricants that were superior to those currently available. This would eventually include many fuel additives for gas-, diesel- and propane-powered vehicles. Machines of industry would benefit from the superior lubrication of Bardahl's Polar Attraction Formula through the reduction of friction, wear and heat, the natural enemies of all mechanisms which require lubrication.

Throughout the years Bardahl became involved in various types of 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, INDY cars and CART Racing, NASCAR, Motorcycle and Snowmobile racing, to name a few. In its lifetime Bardahl has expanded its product line to include more than 250 different products, including engine oils, motor oil and fuel additives, and specialty lubricants. The company also expanded to foreign markets, opening plants in countries such as France, Mexico and Brazil.

OEM Recognition

Bardahl is backed by a global network of dedicated distributors throughout 80 countries. Proof of product quality can be found in our formulations that 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 - Renault - Volkswagen -


Other sources

  • 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



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