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1915 Oakland

10/25/2019
Tad Burness
The first Oakland automobile was built in 1907, and two years later, Oakland joined Billy Durant's up-and-coming General Motors Corporation, which was to become the world's largest auto manufacturer once Henry Ford's Model T had run its course.
 
Early Oaklands were relatively small four-cylinder cars, but in 1913 a big six joined the line, as the four continued. New of the mid-teen years was Oakland's stylish V-shaped radiator, usually the mark of only a few of the costliest automobiles. The six-cylinder Model 49 seven-passenger touring car is shown here, with its pair of folding jumpseats mounted amidships to accommodate extra riders (usually children). It was the pride of Pontiac, MI, the city of its manufacture.
 
 
Oakland remained one of GM's mid-range choices for many years, but in 1926 Oakland hatched a lower-priced companion car, the Pontiac, which became an immediate success, outselling the Oakland by a long shot and quickly becoming the dominant partner. After 1931, Pontiac replaced the Oakland altogether.
 
Oakland's best and longest-lasting model was its 1929 All-American Six (followed in 1930 and 1931 by an unsuccessful V-8).
 
As a youth intensely interested in old cars, I nursed a strong desire to own a 1929 Oakland coupe, perhaps because there were still a few of them around, and also because I'd been raised in the city of Oakland, CA (which was called the "All-American City").
 
I finally managed to buy one for $90, and kept it three years. It ran well, but my interest cooled when the entire right-hand door suddenly fell off the car on a busy corner in San Jose, shattering the wind-wing and the window in the door with a terrific crash. Amused bystanders laughed at the miserable old relic (and at miserable me) as I shamefully dragged the dilapidated door off the street to the tune of metal grating on asphalt.
 
With the door temporarily wired to the side of the car with the right-hand exit blocked, I later sold the Oakland to a collector for $100. (This is one of the very few old cars I hadn't sold for a considerable loss!)

 
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