If you’ve ever wondered what happens inside the iconic Bardahl headquarters in Ballard, you’re in luck: the motor oil company will be offering a unique factory tour next month, featuring famous drag race driver Al Young.
The company’s Ballard roots run deep: the Bardahl Manufacturing Company has been in Ballard since 1939, and was founded by a Norwegian immigrant, Ole Bardahl, who arrived in Seattle in 1922, apparently with only $26 to his name.
From the event info:
Known for engaging, mob-style advertising campaigns featuring menacing characters such as “Dirty Sludge” and “Sticky Valves”, and its iconic neon sign that has held court in the Ballard skyline for decades, Bardahl remains a family owned and operated company with deep roots in racing, including the NASCAR and Grand Prix Formula One circuits. In Seattle, Bardahl helped morph the Green Lake Aqua Follies into the Seafair spectacle on Lake Washington, where the Miss Bardahl boat dominated the hydroplane races for years.
The event will be co-hosted by Atlas Obscura Seattle, Al Young, and the Bardahl team. Al Young is a National Hot Rod Association Hall of Fame drag race driver, and during the tour they will be screening “Race: The Al Young Story“, a short documentary about his career as the first Asian-American World Champion race car driver. One of Young’s race cars — a ’73 Plymouth Roadrunner — will be brought to Bardahl for the event, and participants will be able to sit in the car and take photos.
The tour will also include the goings-on of the factory: they’ll show the process of bottling motor oils and will visit the lab where engineers work on new products. Participants will also get to see Bardahl’s collection of trophies, photos, and artifacts from the company’s history.