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The Oakland Automobile 1907-1909 & The Oakland Motor Car Co.

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The Oakland Motor Car Co.
Pontiac, MI

The Oakland Motor Car Co. of Pontiac, MI was started in 1907 by Edward M. Murphy owner of The Pontiac Buggy Company, the largest carriage maker in Pontiac, Michigan.

Facing declining sales and rising labor costs, Murphy decided to build American Automobiles from his Pontiac buggy factory. Murphy chose the Oakland name, which he had used for his wagons and reincorporated in August 1907 with associate Alanson P. Brush who was to become one of the most influential automobile engineers of the early 1900s.

Alanson P. Brush had just resigned from Cadillac when it came under control of Henry Leland. Leland turned down his innovative design for a vertical counter rotating two cylinder engine. An engine he then used on the 1907 and 1908 Oakland. Murphy and Brush formed a brief partnership which ended when Brush started The Brush Motor Car Co. to produce the Brush Runabout with Frank Brisco.

1908 Oakland Touring Car
1908 Oakland Touring Car

Under Murphy and Brush the Oakland was produced as a Roadster and Touring Car that sold for about $1,300.00. The Bush 152 cubic inch two cylinder engine was equipped with a planetary three speed transmission. Brush left Edward Murphy with a somewhat unsuccessful automobile. So in 1909 Murphy decided to change the Brush designed two cylinder in favor of a more conventional 40 horsepower four cylinder engine.

1909 Oakland Forty
1909 Oakland Forty

According to the 1909 Oakland advertisement above - "The Oakland Is The Answer To The Man Who Says - Show Me". This Oakland automobile was priced at $1,600.00 and was equipped with a four cylinder engine rated at 40 horsepower. The cylinder were cast in pairs and the engine preformed very well.

1909 Oakland Forty Model K
1909 Oakland Forty Model K

The 1909 Oakland had a 112 inch wheel base, weighed 2,000 pounds, 34 inch x 4 inch wheels and tires, seated five passengers and was considered luxurious and easy riding. However, underfinanced, Oakland only had enough cash to produce only 278 cars in 1908 and 1,035 in 1909.

In 1908 and 1909 General Motors CEO, William C. Durant traveled frequently from Flint to Pontiac to visit Edward M. Murphy. Durant wanted The Oakland Motor Car Co. to join General Motors because of its winning ways in hill climbing contest of the day. In early 1909 Durant convinced a reluctant Murphy to sell one half of The Oakland Motor Car Co. to him. Edward M. Murphy died a few day later at the age of 44. Durant then purchased the remaining one half of The Oakland Motor Car Co. He then then positioned Oakland between the low priced Chevrolet and the middle priced Buick.

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