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Oakland sedan, 1929

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Oakland sedan, 1929
Smithsonian Institution, Photo by Jeff Tinsley


This object appears in the following sections:

Smithsonian Automobile Collection — Car collection, 1920-1929

The People's Highway: Route 66, 1930s–1940s
The People's Highway: Route 66, 1930s–1940s — The People's Highway

Pontiac radiator emblem

Oakland sedan
Catalog #: 1993.0483.01, Accession #: 1993.0483
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection

The 1929 Oakland All-American Six sedan was a moderately priced, mass-produced luxury car. Its fine body work, luxury accessories, and styling accents distinguished it from lower-priced sedans. These features reflected middle-class motorists' desire for greater sophistication and General Motors' focus on the sales appeal of artistically designed, comfortable, closed-body cars. This car belonged to George W. Hibbs, who worked in his uncle's stock brokerage, W.B. Hibbs and Company, in Washington, D.C. The car was last driven in 1950; it was stored in a home garage until 1993, when it was added to the Smithsonian collection as a bequest of Audrey H. Thomas, Hibbs's granddaughter.

Physical Description

This Oakland All-American Six four-door sedan is in original condition but shows much wear. It has a steel body by Fisher with wood-and-fabric top. Green with green upholstery. Interior has mohair upholstery, window shades, adjustable driver's seat, and roll-up Vision-Ventilation windshield that admits air to the lower or upper part of the interior. The Oakland emblem appears on the radiator, rear view mirror, hubcaps, and bumpers. It has a six-cylinder engine with self-starter and wooden-spoke wheels. 14' 7" L x 6' 2" W x 6' 2" H

Date Made:
Dist of Columbia
Used in Washington, D.C.
Bequest of Audrey H. Thomas

In the 1920s, General Motors introduced a marketing strategy that featured many makes and models with graduated prices and levels of quality. This strategy enticed motorists to “step up” to the next level of price and luxury when their means allowed. Oakland was placed between Oldsmobile and Buick in price, quality, and body details. GM discontinued the Oakland line in 1931, during the Depression, because of declining sales and the popularity of other GM cars, including one of Oakland’s own products, the Pontiac.

Related People, Places, and Events
Made by Oakland Motor Car Company

Fisher Body Division, General Motors Corporation

Place of Manufacture
Pontiac, Michigan

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