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Oakland Motor Car Sensible Six Sedan, from 1917 magazine ad
Oakland Model 212 All American Landaulette Sedan 1929

The Oakland was a brand of automobile manufactured between 1907–1909 by the Oakland Motor Car Company of Pontiac, Michigan, (formerly a carriage-maker called Pontiac Buggy)[1] and between 1909 and 1931 by the Oakland Motors Division of General Motors Corporation. Oakland's principal founder was Edward M. Murphy, who sold half the company to GM in January 1909; when Murphy died in the summer of 1909, GM acquired the remaining rights to Oakland.

Early history[edit]

As originally conceived and introduced, the first Oakland used a vertical two-cylinder engine that rotated counterclockwise. This design by Alanson Partridge Brush (inventor of the Brush Runabout) lasted one year and was replaced by a more standard 4-cylinder engine and sales increased to approximately 5,000 automobiles per year.

Within General Motors, Oakland was slotted above price leader Chevrolet and below the more premium Oldsmobile and Buick brand cars. In 1916, the company introduced a V8 engine,[2] and Oakland initially flourished. By early 1920, however, production and quality control problems began to plague the division. In 1921, under new General Manager Fred Hannum, a consistent production schedule was underway and the quality of the cars improved. One marketing tactic was the employment of a quick-drying bright blue automotive lacquer by Duco (a DuPont brand product), leading to the slogan "True Blue Oakland".

General Motors "Companion Make" Program[edit]

General Motors pioneered the idea that consumers would aspire to buy up an automotive product ladder if a company met certain price points. As General Motors entered the 1920s, the product ladder started with the price-leading Chevrolet marque, and then progressed upward in price, power and appointments to Oakland, Oldsmobile, Buick and ultimately to the luxury Cadillac marque.

By the mid-1920s, a sizable price gap existed between Chevrolet and Oakland, and the difference between an Oldsmobile and a Buick was wider. There was also a product gap between Buick and Cadillac. To address this, General Motors authorized the introduction of four companion marques priced and designed to fill the gaps. Cadillac would introduce the LaSalle to fill the gap between Cadillac and Buick. Buick would introduce the Marquette to handle the upper end of the gap between Buick and Oldsmobile. Oldsmobile would introduce the Viking, which took care of the lower end of the same gap. This is often referred to as General Motors Companion Make Program.

Oakland's part in this plan was the 1926 Pontiac, a shorter wheelbase "light six" priced to sell at a 4 cylinder car's price point, but still above Chevrolet. Pontiac was the first of the companion marques introduced, and in its first year outsold the larger, heavier Oakland. By 1929, GM sold 163,000 more Pontiacs than Oaklands. The discontinuation of Oakland was announced in 1931 and Pontiac would be the only companion make to survive beyond 1940, or to survive its "parent" make.


  1. ^ http://www.my1955.com/history.htm
  2. ^ Clymer, Floyd. Treasury of Early American Automobiles, 1877-1925 (New York: Bonanza Books, 1950), p.166.
  • Kimes, Beverly R., Editor.; Clark, Henry A. (1996) [1985]. The Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1945. Iola, Wisconsin: Kraus Publications. ISBN 0-87341-428-4. OCLC 34905743. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oakland_(automobile) — Please support Wikipedia.
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14 news items


Tue, 25 Feb 2014 09:04:45 -0800

The Oakland Motor Car Company manufactured the Oakland brand vehicle between 1907 and 1909 in Pontiac, Michigan. The founder of Oakland was Edward M. Murphy who sold half of the company to GM in January 1909. During the summer of 1909, ...
Chicago Daily Herald
Mon, 29 Sep 2014 04:03:45 -0700

The Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum's origin lies with a single lifelong Pontiac enthusiast and his unsuspecting detour while on a cross-country road trip. Tim Dye first fell in love with the storied Pontiac brand as a teenager, purchasing a 1968 GTO ...
Bloomington Pantagraph
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 04:03:45 -0700

20-21, Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum, downtown square and Chautauqua Park, Pontiac; museum tours, Route 66 cruise, ice cream social, presentations, all-Pontiac car show, more; www.hoigto.com. Railroad Days; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 20-21 ...


Sun, 13 Apr 2014 07:22:27 -0700

General Motors Company (GM) is an American automobile manufacturer located in Detroit Michigan. They also control multinational manufacturers around the globe. They design, produce, market and distribute vehicles and parts, as well as selling financial ...
Bloomington Pantagraph
Sun, 17 Nov 2013 04:05:13 -0800

The Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and Museum is a big attraction, as are the Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum, Livingston County War Museum and the International Walldog Mural and Sign Art Museum. Other Illinois communities also are ...
Bloomington Pantagraph
Thu, 05 May 2011 16:19:38 -0700

Tim Dye, owner of the Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum and Resource Center, moves a 1931 Oakland Sport Coupe at the museum in Pontiac, Thursday, May 5, 2011. The Oakland is a precursor to the Pontiac brand and will be one of the star exhibits at ...
Pontiac Daily Leader
Tue, 21 May 2013 11:14:03 -0700

“We're excited to be bringing back the event and we're partnering with the Pre-War Festival, sponsored by the Pontiac Oakland Automobile Museum,” said Lori Fairfield, executive director of P.R.O.U.D.. Some of the events taking place include the farmers ...
Bloomington Pantagraph
Thu, 02 Jun 2011 05:15:13 -0700

Decatur Open Car Show, A classic car biggie to the south, from 6 to 11 p.m. July 9 at the Decatur-Macon County Fairgrounds on the city's northwest frontier. • Oakland Automobile Museum Grand Opening: The unveiling of Pontiac's new auto-centric showcase ...

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