I first became interested in Oaklands sitting on my grandfathers lap as a little boy. He only bought Oaklands till they went out of business. The dealership was across the street from his house and still stands today although now it is apartments.
My father reinforced my love of old cars as a chauffer for Bethlehem Steel Corporation. Not only did I get to ride in limousines but I got to take trips in some of the execs older cars such as Cadillacs, Packards, etc..
My first car at age sixteen was a 1954 Ford Woody wagon. Suffice it to say it’s the reason I am not a fan of Fords to this day. Even Dad realized it was a money pit. I then inherited the love of my automotive life; a beautiful 1957 Buick Roadmaster Convertible. I had that car till I graduated and would still own it had I not been sold a bill of goods by the local state inspection station. Long story short, my grandparents bought me a 1966 Dodge Coronet Convertible with a Hemi for my graduation present. Actually, that car is the main reason I have old cars. I got stopped doing 145mph. by the state police at 3a.m..The state took my license for three months, Dad took it for six more, and the Hemi got gone. Sometimes I try to imagine what life would be like if I owned the previous three cars listed today. (yes , even the Ford)
I then bought my first old car, a 1936 Packard 110. It was in bad shape. I sold it and bought a 1926 Cadillac in even worse shape. I then stumbled across a 1929 Oakland 4dr. sedan. It was a basket case, BUT, it was an Oakland. I spent four years restoring that car. About that time I met Charlie Magdasy.
Charlie became my mentor and close friend. Charlie had been an Oakland mechanic from age fifteen to age twenty in that same dealership across from my grandparents house. He taught me all he knew about Oaklands. I was hooked. Within three years I had bought four 1929 parts cars and any parts I could find.
In later years when Charlie’s health got worse, I rebuilt the engine on his 1929 roadster which is now owned by another good friend and is pictured at the top of the home page.
Through the 1970’s and 80’s and 90’s and up until just recently, it was still just a hobby. I bought a car here and there and bought parts where I could find them. My Dad and Charlie passed on , marriages came and went, my job at Bethlehem Steel became just a memory.( by the way, I was the babbitt man for all of Bethlehem Steel’s rolling mills) By 1993 Gail and I got together. She loved the old cars too and I knew it could not get any better for an old car guy.
We now own a 1948 Buick Roadmaster 4dr., two 1923 Oakland coupes, a 1931 Oakland sedan andour beloved 1930 Oakland Roadster. We also have eight other Oaklands(none of which run and I won’t livelong enough to restore) and a barn full of Oakland parts.
My son Steve makes all the wood we sell. He had no formal training other than his natural ability and wood shop his senior year in high school. He improved so much that two local car restoration shops want to hire him as a sub-contractor to do their wood.
I don’t know everything about Oaklands especially brass era Oaklands. But I specialize in what I do know, which are 1916 to 1931 Oaklands. I have done engines for General Motors Heritage collection. I have done over thirty V8’s, at last count twenty 1929 sixes, eleven 1924 thru 1927 sixes, and thirteen 1916 through 1923 sixes. And that does not include the repairs made to other cars. At last count seven of my engine rebuilds were in cars that went on to win AACA awards.
All of the above made me uniquely qualified to be the “worlds only full time Oakland mechanic”
P.S. Good friend Andy Wise is now working on Oaklands full time also.