1908-09 Oakland Model 20B owned by Jordan Glaser
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
The mid-priced Oakland, produced from 1908 to 1931, is steeped in American automotive history. After its first model year, the brand was purchased by William Crapo Durant and wrapped into his fledgling enterprise, known as General Motors. By 1926, GM had assigned Oakland a “companion car” – Pontiac – to fill the price gap with the lower-cost Chevrolet. Pontiac would absorb Oakland five years later and go on to produce a wide range of interesting and iconic vehicles until its own demise in 2010. “This is one of the two oldest Oaklands known,” Glaser says of his car. “The other one is on permanent display at the Indianapolis Speedway Museum. The engine is only two cylinders – 20 horsepower – and was designed by Alanson Brush, the ex-chief engineer of Cadillac.” As with some rare old cars, there are differing professional opinions as to the exact year Glaser’s Oakland was built.
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT
Since early 2015
WHERE HE FOUND IT
It was advertised on the web site of the Oakland Owners Club International by the club’s historian in Virginia.
“The car is fully original and competes in the preservation class,” says Glaser. “I would never restore this car. The goal is just to drive it and show it. We plan to tour the car on one- and two-cylinder brass (era) tours next year. It is a touring car, so it will seat four passengers.” Glaser’s ride won top honors among brass-era cars at this year’s Americana Concours d’Elegance show in Manhasset, New York.
TIPS FOR OWNERS
“The goal is to keep the old cars on the road, show them and drive the heck out of them,” he advises. “Once people see the cars and grow to understand their uniqueness, their value rises.”
Glaser says his car is worth “twice as much as I paid.” While no prices could be found for his model, other Oaklands of the era have sold at auction for up to $150,000.
THE BOTTOM LINE
“The Oakland is fun to drive, but seems to like to go to the left more than the right,” he says. “We plan to sort this steering issue out soon, but at this point, we tend to take a circular route to and from our destinations. The issue is not how fast it will go – 25 miles per hour – but whether it will stop. It’s like driving on ice.”