In October 1954, three businessmen with a mere $3,000 in start-up capital introduced the first STP® product in St. Joseph, MO. Scientifically Treated Petroleum, better known as STP®, began with one product — STP® Oil Treatment. It helped automobile motor oil resist thinning at high temperatures and pressures.
Charles Dwight (Doc) Liggett, Jim Hill and Robert DeHart began packaging STP® Oil Treatment in a backyard garage at night, and sold it from the trunks of their cars during their business and pleasure trips.
The company’s initial growth and profitability, attributed to strong word of mouth and the brand’s LINK to auto racing, enabled STP to introduce its first Gas Treatment.
The STP® brand was purchased by the Studebaker-Packard Corporation.
Andy Granatelli was appointed CEO and began to increase the brand’s marketing efforts through auto and boat racing. Eventually, STP® sponsored its own Indy Car racing team, featuring Mario Andretti, the winner of the 1969 Indianapolis 500.
STP® product distribution began to grow, and soon STP® products were available in more than 200,000 gasoline stations across the U.S.
By the end of the year, sales had climbed to more than $43 million.
STP became a public corporation, and shares went on the American Stock Exchange under the symbol “STP”.
STP sponsored its own Indy Car racing team, featuring Mario Andretti.
STP made headlines throughout the world by beginning its association with future stock car legend Richard Petty, a partnership that continues to this day.
STP reported sales of more than $54 million and a net income of more than $1 million. Products were marketed throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and nearly 100 countries around the world.
The STP® introduced new, improved grades of motor oil, as well as sleek-looking, easy-to-pour Gas Treatment containers. Later that year, the STP Corporation was acquired by Chicago-based Esmark, Inc.
The STP® brand vigorously explored diversification possibilities, and put additional emphasis on its research and development programs. Leo J. LeClair was named President and Chief Executive Officer, and directed the company’s move to a new world headquarters in Boca Raton, FL.
Beatrice Companies, Inc. purchased Esmark, Inc.
Union Carbide Corporation bought The STP® brand.
The Home and Automotive Division of Union Carbide became First Brands Inc. via a management-leveraged buyout.
The STP® brand had built a presence in almost every country in the world through a mixture of sales and international subsidiaries.
In January 1999, The Clorox Company completed its acquisition of First Brands Corporation.
Clorox sold Armor All® and STP® brands to Avista Capital Partners, which named the business Armored AutoGroup. Its headquarters is located in Danbury, CT.
Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc., a global and diversified consumer products company with market-leading brands, announced it has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire Armored AutoGroup Parent Inc. (“Armored AutoGroup”) from Avista Capital Partners.
© 2016 The Armor All/STP Products Company, a Spectrum Brands company