1920 Oakland Touring, 34C
Owner: Bernie and Janice Taulborg Collection
Original cost: $1,165.00
Number made: 35,356
Engine, etc.: 6 cyl., 41 bhp; L-head; 3-speed; 115 in. wheelbase (Notice “NO SKID” tread on tires.)
Oakland Motor Company, Pontiac, Mich., 1907 – 1931
In 1907 the Edward P. Murphy Oakland Motor Company was formed and based in Pontiac, Michigan. Their first vehicles were powered by vertical 2-cylinder engines. The company switched to 4-cylinder engines the next year and over 5,000 vehicles were produced.
Murphy sold half of Oakland to General Motors in 1909. He died a few months later and General Motors acquired the rights to the rest of the company.
In 1916 a powerful V8 offering 71 horsepower was made available. The engine helped Oakland have very strong sales with 25,675 cars produced that year. By 1917 Oakland production rose even further to 33,171 putting the company in 8th place in car production in the U. S.
The new Model 32 6-cylinder was introduced in 1916 and received a boost in horse power with OHV’s in 1917. The OHV Six would become Oakland’s only model until the close of the 1923 season. The V8 was discontinued in 1918.
Oakland automobiles sales continued strong into the early 1920’s when things changed. The company was plagued with quality control problems and their vehicles started to accumulate a reputation for being unreliable. Fred Hannum, GM general manager, instituted a quality control program to improve matters. It worked well and sales increased.
The company used 4-wheel brakes, centralized controls and automatic spark advance in 1924. As a marketing tactic, it pioneered a new nitro-cellulose lacquer paint in a shade of blue and promoted it as the “True Blue Oakland Six”.
In 1931 General Motors created the Pontiac Motor Division to fill the price gap between the Oakland and the more expensive Oldsmobile. The Pontiac nameplate became so popular that sales declined for Oakland and Pontiac replaced the Oakland.
Source: Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1805 -1942. Beverly Rae Kimes, et al. 3rd ed. Krause Publications, 1996.
http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z16193/Oakland-Six-Series.aspx (1926 model; includes Oakland history)