September '18

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SEPTEMBER 2018 THE SHOP 53 Race car engine builders noticed the benefits of the thick, honey-like vis- cosity of the oil treatment and STP began making appearances at racetracks across the country. Soon, a new product for engines was introduced, this one for adding to the gas tank: STP's super-concentrated fuel treat- ment was called Auto Blitz for gasoline and Diesel Blitz for diesel. The first STP racing promotion was the sponsoring of a streamliner car named City of Salt Lake that ran on the Bonneville salt, reaching a speed of 344.761 mph in 1958. Meanwhile, the Studebaker Corp. was looking to diversify once it became apparent that manufac- turing automobiles was not profitable enough for survival. One of the things the carmaker did to stay out of the red was to start buying up other companies. The STP brand had become quite pop- ular (sales were $10 million at the time) and Studebaker, under the direction of Sher- wood Egbert, purchased the company in March of 1961. Egbert quickly recognized the potential of the new Chemical Com- pound Division and in 1963 he brought in a man with great knowledge and expe- rience in racing and high-performance automobile equipment marketing, Andy Granatelli. A NEW SPOKESMAN Granatelli had owned, driven and worked on a wide variety of race cars and he was the perfect guy for the job. He also had hands-on experience with STP Oil Treat- ment when, as president of Paxton Super- chargers, he had experienced excessive oil temperatures with high-speed runs at the Utah Salt Flats and at the suggestion of old- time hot-rodder Ed Winfield added STP to the crankcase of a Studebaker Avanti. (Paxton was a supplier to the factory for the optional supercharged versions). The problem was solved and Granatelli and his brother, Vince, even added some of the oil treatment to the manual transmis- sion, as it had been jumping out of gear due to expanded synchro-collars. STP worked that day at Bonneville and Granatelli was sold on its effectiveness. The flamboyant Granatelli did wonders for STP by bringing it to the masses. One approach was by giving away free all- weather STP stickers emblazoned with the red oval logo to gas stations from coast to coast. Also, special issues of car magazines (including HOT ROD and Motor Trend) included STP stickers inside an envelope that was bound-in with the pages. STP & INDY Developing and racing the famous STP Turbine IndyCars was also instrumental in getting the product in the public eye. When one of America's most popular SEPTEMBER 2018 THE SHOP 53 The 2011 season in NASCAR saw a fun throwback to a bygone era: the full STP colors on the #43 car, with A.J. Allmendinger as the driver of the Petty Ford. It matched the vintage 1973 Dodge Charger paint scheme. Here's how Richard Petty's STP Pontiac Grand Prix appeared compared to his original race car from 1972. Petty switched to a more aerodynamic Dodge Charger body soon afterwards.

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