In 1907 the Edward P. Murphy Oakland Motor Company was formed and based in Pontiac Michigan. Their first vehicles were powered by the Alanson Brush designed vertical two-cylinder engines. A year later, the company switched to 4-cylinder engines.
Over 5,000 vehicles were produced during their second year of automobile production. Their stylish vehicles and competitive pricing helped in the stimulation of sales. In January 1909, Murphy sold half of the company to General Motors. A few months later, Murphy died and GM acquired the remaining rights to the company. General motors positioned Oakland to fall below the cost of Oldsmobile and Buick but above Chevrolet. This worked well for the Oakland automobiles and sales continued to be strong. During the early 1920's, things changed. The company was plagued with quality control problems and their vehicles began to accumulate a reputation for being unreliable. Fred Hannum, the General Manager, created a quality control program to help improve with the company's woes. This worked well and sales began to increase.
General Motors had designed its marques to fill certain price points. The Chevrolet Company offered entry-level vehicles for competitive prices. Oakland was next in line when comparing price, power, and prestige of the vehicles they produced, followed by Oldsmobile and then Buick. The Cadillac was at the top of the product ladder and often outfitted with powerful engines, elaborate amenities, and high prices. Price gaps had been created throughout the years between the GM Company's marques. This was true for Chevrolet and Oakland. In 1926 Oakland introduced the Pontiac car to fill the gap. The cost effective six-cylinder Pontiac vehicles became very popular, while sales continued to decline for the Oakland Company. In 1931, General Motors formed the Pontiac Motor Division, replacing Oakland.By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2008
Established in 1907, the Oakland Motor Car Company was the descendant of the Pontiac Buggy Company, located in the Michigan community of the same name. By the time this 1910 model left the factory, Oakland had been part of William Durant's fledging General Motors Corporation for about a year. Although it was ambitiously priced at $1700 - more than twice the cost of a new Ford Model T - the Model K was regarded as a good value. The Oakland's success was a bright spot in Durant's tumultuous empire, but not bright enough. With GM seriously overextended, in 1910 the board of directors called for Durant to step aside. Like other GM divisions, Oakland spawned a subsidiary brand, in 1926, named Pontiac. Unlike the others, the subsidiary survived the parent, and in 1931 the Oakland brand was discontinued. The Model K was a big touring car, weighing in at 2250 pounds, propelled by a four-cylinder engine generating 40 horsepower.
This Model K was in poor condition when the project was undertaken in December of 2011 by its newly retired owner. His Model K Oakland touring car wasn't exactly a total basket case when he acquired it in nearby Rock Island, but it was far from trailer ready or was it complete. The new owner loaded up the disassembled car, and then borrowed a friend's Model K to use as a template for fabrication of missing components.