In 1907 the Oakland Motor Car Company came into existing, with their facilities located in Pontiac, Michigan. They operated as an independent company for a number of years before merging with General Motors Corporation by William C. Durant. By the 1920s, GM made the decision to streamline its productions throughout its divisions in an effort to reduce costs, increase reliability, and standardize the designs. The Oakland automobiles were positioned to produce mid-level cars, located between the entry-level Chevrolets and the Buicks.
At the 1926 New York Auto Show General Motors' Oakland Division introduced the Pontiac, named after a Native American Chief. It was a well designed and built six-cylinder car with competitive pricing, selling for the cost of a four-cylinder. The combination proved successful and the Pontiac become Oakland's highest selling automobile of all time. By 1932 the Pontiac had become so popular that the Oakland Motor Car Company's name was change to the Pontiac Motor Company.
The Great Depression slowed sales temporarily but the company soon rebounded, partly due to their new straight-eight engine. The bodies were designed by Franklin Q. Hershey who was a former employee of the Murphy Auto Body Company. His resume included such prestigious names as Peerless. By 1935, the Pontiac Motor Company was selling over four times the number of vehicles they had soled in 1933.
The 1935 Pontiacs were positioned to sell near the entry-level price. Under the hood was a new six-cylinder engine that was potent, smooth, and reliable. The design was elegant but stylish with its 'waterfall grille' and all-steel 'turret top'. For 1936, the vehicles remained mostly unchanged. The economy model was the Master Six and was deprived of the 'knee action' front suspension that could be found on the more expensive models such as the Deluxe Six and Deluxe eight.
For 1936 Pontiac produced 176,270 vehicles and was ranked sixth in total US automobile sales.By Daniel Vaughan | May 2006