Viking: Oldsmobile's Higher Priced Companion

Written by Mike Brazeau





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Like the other divisions of General Motors, Oldsmobile came out with a companion car in the latter part of the 1920s. The Viking was created to help fill the gaps between the different makes in GM’s price structure. Four Door Sedans, Close Coupled Sedans (or Broughams) and Convertible Coupes were available. They had a Fisher Body, which was unique to Viking and not interchangeable with other Oldsmobile models.

Unlike the other divisions, the new Viking was higher priced than the Oldsmobile, instead of being a lower priced companion. Oakland already had the Pontiac, Buick was ready to introduce the Marquette in a couple of months and Cadillac had the LaSalle. At the April 1929 introductory price of $1,595.00, it was marketed to fill the gap in-between the Oldsmobile and the Buick. The Viking had a new 81 h.p. monoblock V-8 engine with horizontal valves. Oldsmobile had successfully marketed V-8 powered cars from 1916 through 1923. The Viking V-8 produced a triangle shaped combustion chamber that was a good design but only 5,260 units were sold in 1929 and then the Great Depression took its toll. It didn’t help any that before the year was over the price rose to $1,695.00. Only 2,743 were sold in 1930 with some 353 units marketed and registered as 1931 models, produced with leftover 1930 model parts.

In a strong market a lot of automobiles would have survived, but the early 1930s were hard times and car sales was way down. It was a crowded market and a lot of companies failed, so at GM something had to go. It was a short life for the Viking, but not quite as short as the Marquette had been. The LaSalle had more success, being built from 1927-1940 but the Pontiac had the greatest success of all companion cars, outselling the Oakland and then replacing it by 1932.

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