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The Oakland Automobile 1909-1919 & The Oakland Motor Car Co.

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The Oakland Motor Car Co.
Pontiac, MI

Starting in early 1909 The Oakland Motor Car Co. was operated by General Motors. William C. Durant purchased Oakland (1907-1909) just before the previous owner, Edward M. Murphy died.

Durant then positioned Oakland price wise between General Motors low priced Chevrolet and the middle priced Buick.

The Oakland Model K was sold by General Motors during the 1909 production year. The 40 horsepower Touring Car sold well but the Oakland was redesigned in 1910.

1909 Oakland Forty Model K
1909 Oakland Forty Model K

Shown below is one of three Oakland Forty models produced in 1910. The three passenger Sociable Roadster was priced at $1,450.00. Add a top, windshield and speedometer for $100.00. A five passenger Touring Car also sold for $1,450.00 in 1910. The third Oakland Forty model was called a Colonial three passenger Coupe and it's price amounted to $1,900.00. These automobiles were equipped with a water cooled four cylinder engine rated at 27.2 horsepower. Features included a selective sliding gear transmission, 112 wheelbase, 34 x 4 inch wheels and tires, jump spark ignition and shaft drive. The interiors were simple yet elegantly trimmed with nickel plated instruments, gear selector and hand brakes. Exteriors were painted warship gray with black stripes and running gear.

1910 Oakland Roadster
1910 Oakland Forty
Sociable Roadster
1910 Oakland Touring Car
1910 Oakland Thirty
Touring Car
Click on image above to see full size!

Oakland also produced a smaller four cylinder engine rated at 25.6 horsepower in 1910. These were equipped on the smaller 106 inch wheelbase Oakland Thirty five passenger Touring Car. This Oakland sold for $1,200.00 and most of the same features as the more popular Oakland Forty.

1911 Oakland
1911 Oakland
1912 Oakland
1912 Oakland
Click on image above to see full size!

The number of Oakland automobile models increased to six in 1911 and was beginning to live up this advertising slogan - "Has The Power For Any Road and Any Emergency". New 1911 30 horsepower Oakland models included a four passenger Toy Tonneau, five passenger Touring Car and a two passenger Runabout. New 1911 40 horsepower Oakland models included two different five passenger Touring Cars and a two passenger Roadster. The 1912 Oakland advertisement above featured the sporty Oakland Forty Sociable Roadster.

1915 Oakland Touring Car
1915 Oakland Touring Car

Oakland entered the teens relying totally on its fast four cylinder automobiles. However it soon became evident in that a six was needed to keep up with competition. The two four were retained and a big flathead six (6-60) was developed in 1913. These $2,000.00 six cylinder automobiles were sturdy and powerful. But one high point of this period was an economical "Light Six" introduced in 1916. The fours and the 6-60 sixes stayed until 1916 when continued lackluster sales combined with some changes in General Motors management dictated radical changes at the Oakland Division.

1916 Oakland
1916 Oakland
1918 Oakland
1918 Oakland
Click on image above to see full size!

Changes included four, six and eight cylinder engines in a variety of body styles. The Model 38 four cylinder engines were equipped in five passenger Touring Cars, two passenger Roadsters and a five passenger speedster. The Model 32 "Light Six" six cylinder engines were equipped in $795.00 five passenger Touring Cars and a two passenger Roadsters. The Model 50 eight cylinder engines were equipped in large $1,585.00 seven passenger Touring Cars. These 4, 6 and 8 cylinder engines were made by Northway and fit other GM lines.

The Oakland four cylinders vanished in 1917 and sales of the "Light Six" jumped to 30,000 automobiles. The V-8 introduced in 1916 was retained in 1917 but droped in 1918. Continued strong sales of the OHV "Light Six" prompted Oakland to retain it alone after 1918 with some improvement and changes up to 1923. A wide range of body styles were offered in 1918 and 1919 including some of the first closed bodies in the light car field. A sixth rank in sales was the best The Oakland Motor Car Co. could do by 1919 and it was downhill from there.

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