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.
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. Another selling point of GM sedans and coupes was its Fisher Body Division, which brought a heritage of carriage and closed body skills and artistry to mass-produced automobiles.
In the 1920s, General Motors introduced a marketing strategy that featured a spectrum of 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.
Image from sales brochure in division object files.
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