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mustang84

Oakland, Viking, Marquette, and LaSalle

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I never knew GM had so many brands between approx. 1929 and 1931. I have known about LaSalle and Oakland for a while, but I had never heard of Marquette or Viking and the reasons they came into existence.

So as I understand it:

Chevrolet (basic four cylinders, I6, some V8s)

Pontiac-Oakland (Oakland the parent company, Pontiac introduced as the entry level brand for the division to fill the spread between Chevrolet and Oakland. Pontiac had a "light six" and shorter wheelbase, while Oakland had a six cylinder?, V8, and longer wheelbase)

Oldsmobile-Viking (Viking slightly upmarket from Olds, both equipped with V8s...Viking was the shortest lived of all the brands)

Marquette-Buick (Marquette slightly below Buick in price, equipped with six cylinders)

LaSalle-Cadillac (LaSalle bridges gap between Buick and Cadillac, smaller than the Cadillac but equipped with the same V8 so they were sporty and agile. LaSalle far outlives the other companion brands (minus Pontiac), lasting until 1940)

I guess I don't understand why Marquette came with six cylinders, while Olds, Viking, LaSalle, Cadillac, and even Chevy had V8s? It's interesting that these brands were introduced and killed off so quickly...probably due to the Depression. Also, interestingly enough, Pontiac outlived its parent brand.

How different were these companion brands from the typical Olds/Buick/Caddy, etc? It seems that they shared engines and platforms with the parent, but perhaps body and interior were slightly different to warrant the price stratification? Did the parent brands get the newer technology first, and then it later filtered down to the companion brands, thus keeping the price point lower (or in Viking's case, it got the new tech first?).

This is some fascinating stuff.

Edited by mustang84
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A snapshot of GM in 1930

The Chevrolet

1930chevroletseriesadun.jpg

The Pontiac

1930pontiac63081.jpg

The Oakland

greyoakland.jpg

The Oldsmobile

30olds6cylclub2drrscper.jpg

The Viking

bluesedan.jpg

The Marquette

marquette.jpg

The Buick

193047tomhansenbcg.jpg

The LaSalle

1930lasalleseries345roa.jpg

The Cadillac

1930cadillacv16phaeton.jpg

I have to say, if I were alive in 1930, the LaSalle brand would have been my choice. Near-Cadillac luxury combined with agility and sportiness.

Edited by mustang84
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OK- slow it down there, pardner. Some misconceptions need straightening out :

>>"Chevrolet (basic four cylinders, I6, some V8s)"<<

Chevy had 1 V8 in '17-18. Too expensive, it was seldom bought & soon discontinued. Other than that it was all the 171 CI I-4. The 'Stovebolt Six' came out for '29 (and in the process killed off the 4), and was based on the Pontiac 6 (of '26). The next V8 was '55.

>>"Pontiac had a "light six" and shorter wheelbase, while Oakland had a six cylinder?, V8, and longer wheelbase)"<<

Pontiac started off with an I-6, gained an I-8 in '33- both continuing until Pontiac's V8 appeared for '55. But Pontiac also had an early V8, the 251 CI V8 of '32. This was gained from Oakland after Oakland's demise.

Oakland had an I-6 and gained a 250 CI V8 for '30, finishing the marque's run with all V-8 power thru '32, when the brand was discontinued.

>>"Oldsmobile-Viking (Viking slightly upmarket from Olds, both equipped with V8s..."<<

Olds had a side-valve V8 in '16, but it wasn't until '32 that it regained an 8, this one a 240 CI I-8. Olds 2nd V8 was the 303 CI of '49.

Viking was 'upmarket' from Olds and featured a 259 CI V-8. This engine died with Viking.

>>"Marquette-Buick (Marquette slightly below Buick in price, equipped with six cylinders)..."<<

Right, and Buick was all I-8s.

>>"LaSalle-Cadillac (LaSalle bridges gap between Buick and Cadillac, smaller than the Cadillac but equipped with the same V8 so they were sporty and agile."<<

LaSalle used a 340 CI V8 in '30, a 353 CI V8 for '31-33. After that, it changed over to an I-8 until '37, when the V8 returned.

The Depression forced LaSalle to utilize Cadillac's 353 V8 & the Cadillac V8 chassis, but the marque's I-8 for '34 was actually sourced from Olds and it's price was slashed. The return to V-8s was again sourced from Cadillac. However, weights between the same chassis/V8s were nearly identical- so I don't know about 'more sporty & agile'.

But let's not forget that the V8, a Cadillac staple since '14, was the bottom offering, capped by both the V-12 & the V-16 thru out the '30s.

>>"I guess I don't understand why Marquette came with six cylinders, while Olds, Viking, LaSalle, Cadillac, and even Chevy had V8s?"<<

This is answered above. But power, equipment, size & engineering are equal parts, along with price, of a car's makeup & appeal, not just cylinder count.

>>"How different were these companion brands from the typical Olds/Buick/Caddy, etc? It seems that they shared engines and platforms with the parent, but perhaps body and interior were slightly different to warrant the price stratification?"<<

Other than GM consolidating Chevrolet & Pontiac manufacturing in '33, and Buick-Olds-Pontiac marketing the same year, and the fact that Pontiac was developed in part to help Chevrolet out in volume -sharing some bodies & other components-, it is crucial to remember GM was little more than a holding corporation, a finiancial overseer of fully-independant companies. The Divisions often sold materials & manufacturing to other Divisions of their own accord without Corp input or limit - a completely foreign concept today. Were these marque mostly different? Of course; they came from different origins, control, & ideals. Think Ford of a few years ago: Ford, volvo, aston-martin, etc.

>>"Did the parent brands get the newer technology first, and then it later filtered down to the companion brands, thus keeping the price point lower (or in Viking's case, it got the new tech first?)."<<

As stated- the original Divisions were autonomous- and sharing was not automatic even to the respective companion makes. Pontiac was started in a corner of the Oakland factory, but got their very own the next year. But it was still nothinhg like the GM of the last 50 years WRT the trickle-down tech approach.

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I never knew GM had so many brands between approx. 1929 and 1931. I have known about LaSalle and Oakland for a while, but I had never heard of Marquette or Viking and the reasons they came into existence.

GM actually had a lot more brands before 1920 or so. Durant bought every car brand he could... it wasn't until he got booted and new corporate leaders trimmed the ranks with a machete that it got to the half a dozen '20s brands.

Yeah, the creation of these brands were bad timing... the late '20s before the crash, people thought it was going to be boomtimes forever. (Kinda like the past decade). The Depression killed a lot of companies, including at least 3 of GM's brands.

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Posts like this mean we need to keep Balthazar on this site no matter what.

I can't wait for the wiki to get up and running so he can document his (what seems like limitless) classic car knowledge.

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Oh... is there to be a C&G wiki ?? ;) >:/

-- -- -- -- --

Between '08 & '10, Durant brought about 25 companies: 11 manufacturers, 2 electrical lamp Cos, and the remainder being parts & accessories Cos.

Some early marques (not necc. bought before '10) were Sheridan, Elmore, Scripps-Booth, Samson, an earlier Marquette, Randolph & CarterCar. I'm not sure a definitive list of all of GM's ownings has ever been compiled. I maintain a list, but it is not complete either.

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Posts like this mean we need to keep Balthazar on this site no matter what.

I'll PM you my PayPal account, so you can send B-59 resto donations.

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