April 16, 2008

Today in Automotive History

The first Oakland car was sold to a private owner. Oakland Car Company was the creation of Edward Murphy, the founder of the Pontiac Buggy Company. Murphy was one of the most respected designers in the carriage industry.

He decided to enter the car industry, and he invited Alanson Brush, the designer of the Brush Runabout to join him. Brush had been a chief engineer at Cadillac. His contract with Cadillac included a no-competition clause that had just ended when he met Murphy.

Anxious to get back into the design race, Brush built a car for Murphy that was ready in 1908. Oakland ran independently for less than a year before it was purchased by William C. Durant and absorbed into Durant's holding company, General Motors (GM).

Durant's purchase of Oakland is often regarded as mysterious, considering the company had enjoyed little success and had produced less than a 1,000 cars at the time Durant purchased it. Often accused of "intuitive" business practices, Durant claimed that his purchase of Oakland, while exhausting his cash flow, provided GM with a more impressive portfolio on which to base their stock interest. Nevertheless, his decision to purchase Oakland, later called Pontiac, forced Durant out of control of GM.

Hattip: History Channel

Posted by Quality Weenie at April 16, 2008 12:26 PM | TrackBack