The auto industry of the late twenties didn't introduce new models in the manner that the majority of us are accustomed to. Oakland introduced the 1926 Pontiac to the motoring public on January 9th 1926. In August of '26 Oakland announced a 4 door Landau Sedan was available for $895 f.o.b. Pontiac, Michigan. This is the point where I left off coverage of the inaugural Pontiac models in the April, 2007 issue of ETCetera.
I will now attempt to guide you through the maze that constitutes Pontiac models after August, 1926. One indisputable fact exists with regard to '26 and '27 Pontiacs; they were all designated 6-27 models by the Oakland Motor Car Co. Depending upon your reference source; the 4 door Landau Sedan released in August, followed by the release in November of the Deluxe Coupe and Deluxe Landau Sedan could be considered either late '26 models or new '27s. Since my previous coverage stopped with the August release of the Landau Sedan, I'm going to take the liberty of covering all models from August, 1926 until October 1927 as the '27 models. The 6-27 series was in production from December 28th, 1925 until October 31st, 1927 and accounted for approximately 204,553 vehicles according to published sources.
The Pontiac automobiles were a runaway success; in October, 1926 Oakland released the Pontiac Deluxe Delivery enclosed panel truck priced at $770. A smart looking truck based on the passenger car; it was offered in Balsam Blue with a wide belt line stripe in Burning Bush Orange and featured heavy duty springs and special balloon tires. It was fitted with the Vision-Ventilation windshield, individual seats, cowl parking lamps, a large visor and dressed up with nickel plated door handles and pin stripes.
November saw the release of the Deluxe Coupe and Deluxe Landau Sedan; the upper bodies were Robin Hood Blue, while the lower body and fenders were a lighter shade called Peter Pan Blue. The standard Pontiac models had black enameled fenders and lower body aprons. The bumpers were nickel plated and the tilt beam headlights operated from a foot switch. Another noticeable visual change was the flat, open-end sun visor mounted on brackets, as opposed to the early version with wrap-around enclosed ends.
A screen-side delivery truck was made available in January, 1927; it sold for $760 and featured roll-down leather curtains to provide protection from inclement weather. The following month, the "New and Finer Pontiac Six" models were released; these were the actual '27 models and were produced from January through July, production ending with unit number 144,999-27. The most notable visual changes for these models were the smooth, fully crowned fenders and the flat, open-end sun visor first seen on the deluxe models. Prices for the standard coupe and two door sedans were reduced to $775. A Stewart-bodied Sport Roadster was announced, also priced at $775; it was Lucerne Blue with Faerie Red striping and gray shark grain leather upholstery. The double texture gray top was completely removable and the rear deck housed a spacious rumble seat. The model line-up also saw the addition of Sport Cabriolet to replace the Deluxe Coupe. In April, a cowl and chassis was made available to mount custom commercial bodies; it listed for $585 f.o.b. the factory. Technical changes were minimal, the clutch was improved for smoother, more positive operation and cooling system capacity was increased slightly.
As advertised in the Saturday Evening Post dated April 30th 1927 the model line and prices were as follows: the sedan, coupe, and Sport Roadster were all priced at $775; the Sport Cabriolet was $835; the 4 dr. Landau Sedan retailed for $895; the Deluxe Landau Sedan was $975. The trucks were $585 for the Deluxe Delivery Chassis; $760 for the Deluxe Screen Delivery; and $770 for the Deluxe Panel Delivery.
The final edition of the 6-27 models began with number 145,000-27 introduced in July of 1927 and sold as 1928 models. They were nearly identical to the previous models although the fuel tank capacity was reduced from 12 to 11 gallons and some new colors were made available. Prices were further reduced as evidenced from another Saturday Evening Post advertisement dated October 8th 1927. The coupe, two door sedan, and the Sport Roadster were further reduced to $745. The Sport Cabriolet listed at $795 and the standard Landau Sedan for $845. The Deluxe Landau Sedan remained the most expensive Pontiac at the reduced price of $925 for the final production run. The trucks had been handed over to GMC during the summer; they remained identical to the Pontiac versions except for the GMC emblem and grille.
The 6-27 model line was the best selling new model ever introduced up to that time; a two page advertisement dated January 15th 1927 proclaimed the fact that within the first six months, the new Pontiac had out-paced the previous new model introduction record and by years' end, had exceeded it by more than double. The previous record was set by the introduction of the new Chrysler. In addition it was stated that $15 million dollars was being invested in new manufacturing facilities to keep up with the demand for new Pontiac and Oakland automobiles. The new plant for production of the Pontiac was to have a capacity of 1,000 cars per day!
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Thanks to Arnold Landvoigt and Terence McMillan for providing much of the information and advertisements for this article.