Story and photos by John Gunnell
The Pontiac Six arrived in 1926 and sales took off so quickly that a new factory with 35 acres of floor space was erected exclusively for the Pontiac Division of Oakland Motor Car Co. It was the largest single factory building constructed in 1926 and it was completed in the amazing time of seven months. It was equipped with the latest technology for building automobiles.
The total area of the plant was over 1,440,000 sq. ft. It was comprised of three main areas Motor Manufacturing, Assembly and Car Storage Buildings. The Motor Manufacturing plant was 535 feet square. The Assembly Building was 180 ft. wide and 1260 ft. long. The Car Storage Building was 432 ft. wide by 762 ft. long. There were more than 10 miles of railroad track inside the buildings.
Inside the plant was an outstanding example of the highest type of modern industrial efficiency around anywhere in 1926. Every machine and conveyor was thoughtfully placed to maximize the manpower and to utilize precision engineering and manufacturing processes.
Every part used in the manufacture of the 1927 Pontiac Six, from the smallest bolt to the largest piece of steel, was inspected at every operation point and as they passed through the various manufacturing processes, they were tested against rigid precision limits that were the best in the industry among manufacturers in the Pontiac price class. The entire factory was designed to achieve precision engineering and manufacturing on a volume basis.
No wonder the NEW-FINER Series 6-27 Pontiacs continued to draw rave reviews form industry observers back then. These replaced the first series 1927 models, which were actually a continuation of 1926 models sold in the fall of 1926. The 6-27s were true 1927 models and were manufactured from February 1927 until June of that year. On these cars the serial number was stamped on a brass plate on rear frame cross-member. Starting number was 84197-27 which was continued from the 1926-1/2 series. The ending: number was 144999. The engine number was on the block over the water pump. All cars were built in Pontiac, Mich.
Smooth, full-crown front fenders were introduced on these cars. Flat sun visors with exposed sides were used on all models. A sport roadster with a Stewart body was a new body style. The Deluxe coupe was replaced by a sport cabriolet (closed coupe) with a rumble seat. Technical improvement in the 6-27 lineup included an Improved clutch, an enlarged cooling system capacity and foot operated tilt-beam headlights as standard. Features.
Eight body types were made in the model year. The five-passenger Landau sedan (Job 7450) listed for $895 and weighed 2,455 lbs. The two-passenger coupe (Job 7430) listed for$825 and weighed 2,275 lbs. The five-passenger coach (Job 7440) listed for $825 and weighed 2,335 lbs. The two-passenger Deluxe coupe (Job 7430D) listed for $895 and weighed 2,420 lbs. The five-passenger Deluxe Landau sedan (Job 7450D) listed for $975 and weighed 2,510 lbs. The four-passenger sport roadster listed for $775 and weighed 2,160 lbs. The five-passenger two-door sedan listed for $775 and weighed 2,375 lbs. The four-passenger sport cabriolet (Job 7460) listed for $835 and weighed 2,345 lbs.
During 1927, Pontiac also carried over its Deluxe Delivery panel truck that was introduced in Oct. 1926. This was a pretty rig with Balsam Blue paint and Orange striping. An advertisement in the Saturday Evening Post claimed the $770 Pontiac Deluxe Delivery had passenger car comfort, a low rear body for easy access to cargo and tight closing doors that were practically dust proof. A screen side version of the Deluxe Delivery priced at $760 was introduced at the New York Auto Show in January 1927. Then, in October 1927, Pontiac released a slip-in delivery box that could be used to convert a roadster or coupe to a pickup.
About 3,600 Deluxe Delivery trucks were manufactured and survivors today are rare. In 1928, the Pontiac Deluxe Delivery became a GMC truck called the T-11. There were no major difference between the two models except for changing from a Pontiac Indian hood mascot and badge to a plain radiator cap and a GMC badge. The Pontiac engine was used in light-duty GMCs for several years. The T-11 was offered through 1929 and replaced by the Pontiac-powered T-15A in 1930.
All Pontiac cars and trucks continued to use the “split head” six of 1926. It was an inline, L-head motor with cast iron block construction A 3-1/4 x 3-3/4 inch bore and stroke gave it a piston displacement of 186.5 cid. It had a 4.8:1 compression ratio and developed 40 hp at 2400 rpm. It used solid valve lifters, three main bearings and a Carter one-barrel carburetor.
Other features of Pontiac cars and trucks included at 110-inch wheelbase. The cars had an overall length of 151-1/4 in. They had a 56-in. tread front and rear and 29 x 4.75 tires. The transmission was a manual with three speeds forward and one reverse with a floor mounted shifter. Pontiacs used a ventilated single dry disc clutch, shaft drive and a semi-floating rear axle with an overall ratio of 4.18:1. Mechanical brakes were the only option and 20-in. wood-spoke wheels were fitted.
Automakers did not offer a lot of options or dealer accessories in 1927. A front bumper was standard on Deluxe trim cars and optional on other models. The same was true of rear fender guards. Single side-mounted tires were available for Sport models only. A heater was also optional. About 88,300 cars were produced in the 6-27 series.
The car featured in the accompanying photos is an award-winning 1927 Pontiac five-passenger Landau sedan owned by Dwight Ford of Hollister, Mo. It was a points judged (PJ) Gold Repeat Champion at the 2014 Pontiac-Oakland Club International (www.poci.org) Convention in Wichita, Kan.
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