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Oakland

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No quiz; just an interesting little article. I knew of the Oakland, but had never heard the term "compaion" makes before.

article here

Vintage Pontiac Excitement: Remarkable 1929 Oakland Found

Filed Under: Etc., General Motors, Pontiac, History October 13th, 2007 2:00 PM </B></B>

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Although it’s not uncommon to place historical vehicles underground, not all automotive time capsules lie underfoot. Telstar Logistics‘ Todd Lappin discovered one example during a visit to a local service station. Tucked in back was an all-original 1929 Oakland All-American Six, which, despite faded paint and some crusty underpinnings, is remarkably solid and complete.

Founded in Pontiac, Michigan in 1907 by Edward P. Murphy, the Oakland Motor Car Company began producing vehicles in the same year. It didn’t take long to attract the attention of William Durant and his General Motors conglomerate; the company was partially-owned by GM in early 1909 and outright when Murphy died at the end of the year.

(Click through to learn more about this interesting Oakland.)

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Oakland would continue manufacturing vehicles as a division of GM for years to come, but its demise was spurred by an odd marketing practice started in 1926. Looking to offer cars that introduced consumers to each brand but at a lower price point, the General pushed to develop what it termed “Companion Makes.” As a result, Cadillac readied the LaSalle, Oldsmobile launched the Viking, and Buick birthed the Marquette. Oakland, however, produced the Pontiac, named after its city of manufacture. Although it shared many parts with the Oakland range, the Pontiac was a small six-cylinder car that carried the price tag of a four.

The brand was unique in that it was the only companion make that outperformed its paternal brand. Three years after its launch, Pontiac outsold Oakland by a margin of approximately 163,000 cars. By 1931, Pontiac replaced the Oakland Division outright and by 1940, was the only companion brand in existence.

This particular Oakland wasn’t driven long past that date, as the original owner parked it in 1949 and let it sit for nearly 60 years. After a considerable amount of digging, the Six was found buried behind dozens of boxes and auctioned off. The current caretaker, according to Lappin, plans a restoration that will keep the car “as original as possible.”

We think leaving the appearance alone while enhancing the mechanicals may be the best treatment possible. Sure, it won’t look like the million-dollar concours restorations that grace Pebble Beach, but even in its current state, this Oakland is not only unique but a verifiable window into the past.

What say you - should this Pontiac precursor be treated to a full-point restoration or should it be left alone?

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I say refurbish only to make all systems functional and roadworthy. It has a beautiful patina.
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I say refurbish only to make all systems functional and roadworthy. It has a beautiful patina.

I Agree. There was an old 1928 Chevrolet Six in a back alley about a block from my house for so long, just as complete as this Oakland, sat outside, partially covered by a tarp, but just being through there last month... it was gone. I wonder what became of it.

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Left alone!!!! Mechanical udate/safety inspection + no cosmetic work = awsome survivor driver.

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Left alone!!!! Mechanical udate/safety inspection + no cosmetic work = awsome survivor driver.

Well... It was against someone's garage. I talked to the owner one time I walked by it (he was walking his dog)... He became a politician when I asked what he was gonna do with it.

Twas alot like this one... except 4 doors, but it had these same wheelcovers.

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Edited by vonVeezelsnider
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The closest I've ever come to accomplishing my dream of owning a pre-war car

was a 1931 Pontiac that was for sale in upstate NY. It lived from new to the late

1980s in Argentina as a taxicab. It had awsome patina I wanted that car BAD!!!

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I knew of the Oakland, but had never heard the term "compaion" makes before.

I've written about this before, but I'll try to refresh it.

Prior to World War II, most car brands built one basic car. There may have been trim levels, but for the most part, they made one type of vehicle. If they needed to extend their reach, they would add another brand.

Ford purchased Lincoln and added Mercury. Chrysler purchased Dodge and added DeSoto and Plymouth (not to mention Imperial). GM was created on this idea and other manufacturers did much the same by introducing brands such as Essex, Star, Auburn-Cord-Dusenberg, Terraplane, and many more.

After World War II, some brands started introducing companion models instead of brands. And if you look back to information published at the time, you'll see that the manufacturers and publications had a difficult time convincing themselves that they were just new models under one brand name. The Corvette and Thunderbird stood alone in their brands for quite a while. Plymouth introduced the Valiant and labeled dealers as Plymouth-Valiant dealers for a time. By the 1960s, most manufacturers seemed to fully understand the idea of selling various models under one brand name umbrella.

When GM executives in the 1990s explained that "Bonneville" and "Grand Prix" were "brands," it confused many people. But while they can be considered to be brands in the sense that Crest and Gleem are toothpaste brands under the Procter & Gamble name, they seem to fall more in line with the pre-WWII definition of car brands. The "brand" name was used as the senior model even up into the early 1980s with the Caprice, Impala, Biscayne, and Bel Air being "Chevrolets" while the other products were the Chevelle, Malibu, Nova, Camaro, and Corvette. In this use, today's trim levels (SE, GT, etc) would be considered the "models" of yesterday.

I, being a modern automotive person, prefer the current scheme where one manufacturer can have multiple brands and each brand can have multiple models with various trim levels. So spinning off a "companion" model would be like Pontiac introducing the G5 or G8 and would not require new signage for a modern "Oakland" brand. But we all remember when Chevrolet introduced it's companion Geo, right?

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Absolutely leave the interior and exterior alone; the car is priceless the way it sits because it's only original once. Pull the motor, clean it, spend the extra money to rebuild it the right way with hardened valve seats to accomodate today's &#036;h&#33;ty modern pump gas, put it all back together, but don't paint or detail anything. Redo whatever it needs mechanically (brakes, seals that have dried out and disintegrated, etc.), put a new set of tires on it, and leave it alone. Keep it in a garage and drive it on nice days only. It's a shoe-in for an award in preservation class wherever it goes. :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

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