WHAT CAR IS THAT?has been a regular item in the VMC Bulletin for several years. Historical photos are either loaned by members from their own family photos albums, or are sourced from the VMC's archives or various Australian libraries and museums with digitised photo collections. Bulletin readers are asked to try to identify the car in the photo and the following month's issue acknowledges the winning identifier and includes some historical notes about the car or cars.
Can you identify:
It was an Oakland. The photo is from a collection taken between 1910 and 1950 by Lindsay G. Cumming who owned a photograph studio, bike shop and a Ford dealership in Alexandra, Victoria.
Oakland Motor Car Company of Pontiac, Michigan was founded in 1907 by one of Henry Ford’s financiers William Murphy in partnership with Alanson P. Brush, inventor of the single-cylinder Cadillac, the Brush Runabout and later engineering consultant to Marmon and American La France. The first year of Oakland production was 1908 and by 1909 Willy Durant’s General Motors had completely acquired the Oakland Company. Within GM lineup the Oakland was placed above Chevrolet and below the more premium Oldsmobiles, Buicks and Cadillacs.
The car in the snow appears to be a Model 34, between 1917 -1922 these 6 cylinder Oakland cars changed very little. Advertised as the ‘Sensible Six, the lightest six cylinder car on the market’ sales in Australia were solid, the cars having a reputation for economy, and an occasional motor sport success. That service and parts were readily available from the nationwide General Motors Australia group also helped sales.
However the release by Oakland of the Pontiac in 1927, a quality 6 to sell at the price of a 4, quickly ate into the Oakland sales and by 1930 the offspring had truly eclipsed the parent. Even though Oakland’s striking 1930 and 1931 V-8 models excited good press it was not enough and GM decreed that the Oakland Company cease in 1931 and become the Pontiac Motor Company.