Wednesday, April 15, 2009

From Zero to 86

Who can do that? Andy Granatelli, that's who! Universally known as "Mr. Indy" for his long-term involvement with STP, there are interesting things about his success story.

During the Depression (the real one, not this one) he tuned cars for 10 cents -- he was 11 years old! He and his brothers Vince and Joe started the Hurricane Racing Association, a sort of racing circus that included an ambulance which on cue, tossed a dummy out onto the track.

In 1963, he bought Chemical Compounds, changed the name to STP, publicized the hell out of it and 10 years later he had more than 2,000 people working for it -- up considerably from his first seven employees.

In 1969, he and STP won their first Indy 500 with Mario Andretti driving. Granatelli himself set more than 400 land speed records for Studebaker (!) including 241.7 mph - on pump gas, no less - when he was 62.

His next venture was Andy Garantelli's Tuneup Masters - 150 locations in six states. He sold it in the late '80s for a reported $60 million.

If is right about his birth date (3-18-1923) he celebrated his 86th birthday last month. Zero (money) to 86 (years old - not bad, eh?)

Here's his latest e in its entirety:

To whom it may concern:
I continually get inquiries on what are the best restaurants in the Santa Barbara area, so I thought I would make up a list and pass it out to my friends. For the record, I have no ownership whatsoever in any restaurant.

1. In-N-Out Burger - best fast food, hamburgers by a mile
2. Bella Vista (Biltmore) - world-class, expensive
3. Los Arroyos - Best authentic Meican food
4. Arigato Sush - Best sushi in town
5. Ca'Dario - Best Italian peasant style, inexpensive
6. Cafe Luck - Best food and bar in town, bar none
7. Downey's - world-class, expensive
8. La Super-Rica - Out of this world, Mexican-style food
9. Olio e Limone - Best Italian, Sicilian-style, expensive
10. Ruth Chris - Great steaks and chops
11. The Barbeque Co. - Best mouth-watering bbq
12. Sly's - Best steaks and chops, frst class
13. Ballard Inn & Restaurant - Top drawer
14. Hitching Post - Incredible food
15. Brother's Restaurant (Mattie's Tavern) - What is not to like?
16. Trattoria Grappolo - Best Italian food in the Santa Ynez Valley
17. Willows - World class, expensive
18. Root 246 - A new taste sensation
19. Tutti's - You will love it

(signed) Sempre e amore, Andy Granatelli

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