Oaklands on Parade
Part of Recent POCI Event
John Gunnell - August 07, 2014 03:04 PM
Ron Carpenter’s 1928 Oakland coupe.John Gunnell
Two flappers and their early Pontiac.John Gunnell
Steve Cook’s 1930 Oakland 101 Custom Sedan.John Gunnell
The little-known Oakland was one of the building blocks of the formation of General Motors in 1908 and Oakland cars were produced from that year until 1931. The company changed its name to Pontiac, which was originally a hot-selling Oakland “companion car” introduced in 1926.
Although Oaklands are rare today, the brand was responsible for several automotive milestones including the 1924 introduction of fast-drying nitro cellulose lacquer paint on its 1924 Oakland “True Blue” Six and a V-8 engine introduced in 1931 that was carried over in a one-year-only top-of-the-line 1932 Pontiac flathead V-8 model. Also, the Pontiac—a car aimed at the affordable closed car niche—became the only GM companion car to outlive its parent make.
Although the Pontiac Oakland Club International (www.poci.org) has recognized the Oakland since its 1972 formation, there have never been more than 200 or so cars on the club’s roster. About 120 people wound up on the 2014 Oakland Breakfast Tour that was part of the Pontiac Oakland Club International (www.poci.org) convention earlier this year. A lot of the credit for this goes to Steve Cook, the president of the club’s All-American Oakland Chapter and to Byron “Joe” Stout III, a Wichita resident and former Pontiac-AMC dealer who has collected both brands of cars for many years. Ironically, Stout’s own Oakland “Sensible Six” touring car was on display in the host hotel’s lobby, so he drove his Model T Ford (with “Oakland wanna be” signs on it) in the tour.
Several other Oaklands from the 1920s and 1930s did make the tour to a country club breakfast and the Lawrence Smith car collection. The tourists included a number of club members from Missouri who had a great time and put on a great show wearing costumes from the “flapper” era. Marge Sawruk—the wife of the late Jon Sawruk, who was Pontiac Motor Div.’s Official Historian—was an honored guest on the 2014 Oakland Breakfast Tour.
The All-American Oakland Chapter (www.aaoc-poci.org) was POCI’s first “specialty” division formed to give collectors more focused information about their niche model. Today, the club has many specialty chapters, but the Oakland owners were first and their continued enthusiasm was reflected in the large turnout of people on the tour. About 20 vintage Oaklands and Pontiacs participated and every one of them was completely filled with as many passengers as possible! The only spot open was the rumble seat of one Oakland coupe that was filled with travel paraphernalia and could not fit a passenger!