STP vector logo
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STP is an American brand and trade name for the automotive additives, lubricants and performance division of Armored AutoGroup.
Founded in 1953 in Saint Joseph, Missouri, the company’s name, STP, was derived from “Scientifically Treated Petroleum”. The company entered into the marketplace with one product, STP Oil Treatment.
In 1961, the company was acquired by the Studebaker-Packard Corporation. Studebaker briefly tied STP into its advertising as an abbreviation for “Studebaker Tested Products”. However, Studebaker-Packard CEO Sherwood Egbert felt that STP could one day outpace its parent company and recruited Andy Granatelli as the CEO of STP to help raise the product’s image. At the same time, Granatelli became the public face of STP, often wearing a white suit emblazoned with the red oval “STP” logo to races, distributing thousands of all-weather STP stickers. Granatelli ran two Novi specials at the 1964 Indianapolis 500. Jim Hurtubise and Bobby Unser were the drivers. There was a film made of the race centering on the Novis. While Studebaker abandoned auto manufacturing in 1966 to become a closed investment company, STP sales continued to climb to the point where it was spun off Studebaker-Worthington Corporation’s balance sheet and into a publicly traded company in 1969.
For a long time STP was the sponsor of stock-car drivers Richard Petty and John Andretti on Petty Enterprises’ famous #43, as well as having been a sponsor of Indy racecar driver Mario Andretti, John’s uncle. That partnership ended shortly after its acquisition by Clorox. STP and the Petty family hold the second-longest relationship in automobile racing history (1972–2000). (Kenny Bernstein and son Brandon were sponsored by Budweiser for two years longer (1979–2009) for the longest in auto racing; Bernie Little’s Miss Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane had the longest sponsorship in motorsports (1963-2004)).
In 1976, STP faced a consumer protection order that required it to have scientific backing for certain statements and prohibited making false claims. In 1978, it paid a $500,000 civil penalty over claims. That year, it was acquired by Esmark. Esmark was purchased by Beatrice Foods in 1984, who sold STP to Union Carbide the next year. In 1986, Union Carbide’s auto products, which included Prestone and Simoniz, were subject to a leveraged buyout. The resulting company, First Brands, was purchased by Clorox in 1998.
In 1995, it paid $888,000 to settle Federal Trade Commission charges of false advertising.
In the fall of 2006, STP fuel additives began being used in Marathon gasolines, likely to compete with Chevron’s Techron additive.
In 2010, Clorox sold ArmorAll and STP to Avista Capital Partners. It named the business Armored AutoGroup.
In August 2012, STP announced that it will be the title sponsor of the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series in 2013.
On February 21, 2013, STP announced a return to NASCAR sponsorship in a multi-year deal for the STP Gas Booster 500 starting 4/7/2013 at Martinsville Speedway along with a return as co-primary sponsor of the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 for the 2013 STP Gas Booster 500.