America is a car culture. It was raised on the road, whether on family road trips to see relatives or through commerce that shuttled from city to city on trucks. The Car of the Week takes a look at one of those vehicles as a way to not only look back at automotive changes but the history that created them.
Published in the Tacoma Weekly
The 1913 Oakland Model 35 Roadster was the cherry topper of the automotive world 100 years ago. Its list price of $1,000 put this two-seater well out of reach for the average American. It was water cooled and powered by a 19-horsepower motor.
Oakland was a brand of cars first manufactured between 1907 and 1909 by the Oakland Motor Car Company of Pontiac, Mich. The company was bought by General Motors when Oakland’s founder died. The car line remained on the market until 1931. Oakland cars were priced between the working-class standard of the company, Chevrolet, and below the more premium Oldsmobile and Buick brand cars.
Oakland advertising offered the following purpose:
“To build at a fair air price an automobile so SPRIGHTLY as to uphold its owner’s pride; so COMPETENT as to arouse his genuine respect; so RELIABLE as to win his deepest confidence; so ECONOMICAL as to serve his highest interest – this has been the purpose, is now the accomplishment, and will continue to be the endeavor to which Oakland devotes the whole of its energies, its resources, its skills.....”
The Great Depression hurt sales of Oakland cars to the point that GM ended the line in 1931, but that was more of a name change became many of its signature features were folded into Pontiac designs.