William Knudsen – Irving Reuter, Klinger,
“Pontiac! They Build Excitement, The Story of an American Automobile Company, 1926-1992”
by Thomas E. Bonsall.
- 1926- The Pontiac car was a smash hit at the January New York Auto show. The Pontiac car was designated the Pontiac Series 6-27 and two models were initially offered, a 2-3 passenger coupe, and a two door sedan known as a Coach. Both models were priced at $825. By August a four door landau sedan was offered for $895. By the end of the year, 76,742 Pontiac Series 6-27 automobiles were manufactured/sold. This set a record for first year sales of a new nameplate. Pontiac Series 6-27 automobiles were also manufactured in Canada and Australia in 1926. Sales soon exceeded the cramped capacity of the old Oakland manufacturing facility. In June contracts were signed for a new assembly plant in Pontiac, Michigan. The project was so ambitious that it was the largest single construction project undertaken in the United States in 1926.
- 1927- The new Pontiac Automobile plant, nicknamed the “daylight plant”, because of the amount of glass used in its construction, was completed in the early months of 1927 at a cost of $15 million. A total of 127,983 Pontiac Series 6-27 automobiles were produced in 1927. In December when the model was discontinuted a toal of 204,625 Pontiac Series 6-27 automobiles had been built.
- 1928- Pontiac Model Series 6-28 was introduced replacing the Series 6-27. Oakland Motors Division manufactured 224,784 Pontiac Model Series 6-28. Demand for the Series 6-28 exceeded capactiy and a third assembly plant was built between the existing two plants. Also a foundry was added at a cost of $5 million. The Series 6-28 featured a “cross flow” radiator that was an important Pontiac first which eventually became an industry standard.
- 1929- Pontiac Model Series 6-29 Big Six having 200 CID and 60 HP replaced the Series 6-28. Harley Earl director of the recently created GM Art and Color studio designed the body. The 500,000 th Pontiac was built in June. However, on October 29, the stock market on the New York Stock Exhange crashed. Sales fell and the yearly Pontiac car production fell to 200,503 cars; the first decline in sales since the Pontiac nameplate was established.
- 1930- This was a tumultuous year for Oakland and Pontiac. Pontiac Model 6-30B replaced the Series 6-29. However, with the onset of the Great Depression, Pontiac car sales fell 68% to 62,888 cars. Even when prices for the cars were cut 20% below the 1926 prices (with an improved vehicle) sales still declined. General Manger of Oakland Motors Division Alfred Glancy left General Motors and Pontiac sales manager William Tracy also resigned. Irving J. Reuter, former General Manger of Oldsmobile became Oakland Motors Division General Manager.
- 1931- The Pontiac Series 401 automobile was introduced. Oakland Motors Division did not come out with a new Oakland car model. Instead both Oakland and Pontiac cars now shared the same Fisher Body. By the end of the decade GM would standardize car bodies across all divisions into the “A” “B” and “C” body sizes. The Pontiac Series 401 sales of 84, 078 was an increase over the previous year Pontiac Series 6-30B (only Auburn and Plymouth in the entire auto industry reported increased sales over 1930). However, the Oakland nameplate sold only 9,000 cars.
- 1932- When Oakland Motor Division announced their automobile lineup for the year, it did not include the Oakland nameplate. The 1931 Oakland eight cylinder Series 301 car was re-branded the Series 302 Pontiac V8. The 1931 Series 401 Pontiac now became the 1932 Series 402 Pontiac six cylinder. Other than the name changes, the 1932 Pontiac cars were physically identical to the 1931 Oaklands and Pontiacs. Sales of Pontiac cars this year was 45,340.
- 1932- In March, General Motors underwent a major reorganization. The Oakland Motor Division name was eliminated. All manufacturing of Pontiac cars came under the Chevrolet Division headed by General Manager William S. Knudsen. Further, the reorganization put responsibility of sales and marketing of Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac into a new division named Buick-Olds-Pontiac Sales Company to be led by Irving J. Reuter, previous General Manger of Oakland Motor Division. Reuter was also assigned the responsibilities for manufacturing operations at Buick and Oldsmobile.
- 1933- In October 1933, The B-O-P Sales Company was disbanded. Harry J. Klingler was named as the new General Manager of the Pontiac Motor Division. He would retain this position until 1951. William S. Knudsen remained as General Manager of Chevrolet, and Harlow Curtis was named the new General Manager of Buick. Pontiac Motor Division manufactured/sold 90,198 automobiles, nearly doubling the sales of the previous year.