Oakland Classic Cars for Sale

The Oakland Motor Car Company was a US mid-range automobile manufacturer founded in 1907 and operated as a division of the General Motors Company from 1909-1931.

The Birth of Oakland

The Michigan-based Oakland Motor Car Company was founded in 1907 by Edward M Murphy, when he recognised that his Pontiac Buggy Company, purveyor of horse-drawn buggies, was undergoing a slump while motor car sales were increasing. Murphy named the company Oakland after the county Pontiac is located in; an across-town competitor was already manufacturing motors under the Pontiac name. They predominantly manufactured medium-priced automobiles and made over 250 vehicles in their first year of production. Their first automobile comprised an unusual counterclockwise rotating vertical two-cylinder engine equipped with planetary three-speed transmission, designed by Alanson P Brush. Five models were manufactured of increasing engine size (Models A-E).

Oakland - Acquisition by General Motors

Murphy subsequently decided to replace the two-cylinder engine with a more conventional 40 horsepower four-cylinder engine (the 1909 Model K) but needed finance for this venture. He sold 50% interest in his company to William Durant, an old acquaintance who had created his General Motors Company the year before. The Oakland company was officially purchased by General Motors in 1909 and made national headlines in the following decade when one of its models won a national hill-climbing championship. Sadly, just one year after the merger, Murphy passed away and General Motors acquired the remainder of the rights to Oakland. Murphy's Model K car was a resounding success, selling over 1000 cars in 1909.

Oakland - The Golden Years

Within General Motors, the Oakland brand was positioned above the current price leader Chevrolet but below premium brands Cadillac, Bruick and Oldsmobile. Production remained in Michigan and steadily increased from over 8500 cars/year (1913) to 35,000 cars in 1917, after the introduction of the Model 34 which had a powerful V8 engine. The peak year of production was in 1919, when 52,000 Oakland cars were manufactured.

Oakland - The Beginning of The End

The Oakland brand was plagued by quality control problems during the 1920s depression. A new general manager was appointed in 1921 and clever marketing techniques applied to the Oakland brand, such as application of a quick drying and eye-catching bright blue satin finish lacquer. This sped up the manufacturing process and was also affiliated with the catchy slogan 'True Blue Oakland'. However, production continued to decline to under 12,000 cars per year while other brands increased in popularity. The Oakland brand was discontinued at the onset of the Great Depression in 1931.

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