The Guyton Collection | Lot 374
1915 Oakland Model 37 Speedster
$72,800 USD | Sold
| St. Louis, Missouri
4 May 2019
- An early Detroit sports car; one of just two known survivors
- Acquired from the collection of John B. McMullen
- Beautifully preserved concours restoration by Brian Joseph
- Featured in Dennis Adler’s Speed & Luxury: The Great Cars
THE OAKLAND SPEEDSTER: A THING ALIVE
Oakland was one of the founding marques of General Motors in 1908, and later gave birth to the “junior” Pontiac, which succeeded it entirely in 1932. Most of its models were well-engineered, solid, but not particularly sporting, with the major exception of its speedster model of the mid-Teens. It was based upon the same architecture as other Oaklands of the time, with a 40-hp, 192.4-cu. in. four-cylinder engine and three-speed transmission, but the light bodywork sang of the speedway. The factory copywriters bragged of its lightness of line and weight, noting its “High speed Oakland-Northway motor – responsive, silent, smooth-running, giving a quick and easy ‘pickup’ that makes it seem like a thing ALIVE . . . ”
Only two surviving Oakland speedsters are known, the 1915 Model 37 in the Guyton Collection, and a 1916 Model 38 of virtually identical specifications in the renowned Simeone Foundation Automobile Museum.
The Guyton Oakland was acquired from the renowned collection of John B. McMullen in 2007. It had been acquired by Mr. McMullen from an owner in Canada in 1993, and restored by Brian Joseph’s renowned Classic & Exotic Service of Troy, Michigan. In a recent conversation, Mr. Joseph noted that the Oakland was an excellent basis for restoration; most of the original sheet metal was able to be preserved, aside from the deck behind the seats. The extensive level to attention included reproducing the correct hardware for the spare tire carrier and the top, and having a correct radiator core manufactured to the proper specifications.
Following completion of the restoration, the Oakland was judged Best of Show at the 1994 Pontiac Oakland Club International Convention in Springfield, Illinois, among many other awards earned across the country. It was also photographed by Dennis Adler at Meadow Brook Hall in Michigan and featured in his book, Speed and Luxury: The Great Cars.
Today the Oakland is well preserved, with its beautiful dove grey and black color scheme in excellent condition, beautiful nickel trim, and rich red leather upholstery showing only light patina, and an attractive black canvas top elaborately fitted between the bucket seats. The headlamps and taillight are electric, and an electric starter is fitted. The car is accompanied by a history file, including various correspondence from over the years, as well as magazine articles and original copies of the instruction book and price list for the model.
It is also royally beautiful, down to the tiniest details, and sure to continue turning heads at show fields all over the country, just as it has for many years. As Mr. Guyton wrote in his notes on the Oakland, “It is great fun to drive – top up or down!”