The Opperman Story
The Legacy, The Family, The Business
“Serving the Trucking Industry with Quality Used Equipment, Repairs, and Parts Since 1964”
In 1964, David Opperman Sr. incorporated his business with his son, David Jr. The events that occurred before and after that time make up the engine and body of the new and used truck and trailer sales and service business known as Opperman & Son.
Oscar John Opperman was born in 1884 in London. Oscar was the 13th of 14 children born to Carl Johann David Opperman and his wife Lizzie Tunstill Opperman. Carl Opperman produced electric cars under the title of Carl Opperman Electric Carriage Co. Ltd. in Clerkenwell, London. His firm made its own batteries to power a variety of vehicles, most having open body styles, and produced a number of electric taxis. During the early age of electric buses, cars, and taxis, the Opperman siblings and cousins worked together as the road transportation industry boomed in London, thus beginning a long history of the Opperman family working together in the transportation industry.
Oscar Opperman made the voyage to the United States in 1908, settling in Chicago with his sweetheart, Frances Sinclair. Oscar Opperman worked as a shop foreman and a “riding mechanic” during his early years, entering the inaugural race at the Indianapolis Speedway in 1909. In 1910, the couple gave birth to David Sinclair Opperman. The couple moved to Long Island where Oscar owned and operated his own service station before moving out west, eventually ending up in Gilroy, California. In the late ‘20’s. Oscar opened the Pacheco Pass Garage, a gas station and mechanic shop, which was renowned for towing wreckage along with body and mechanic repair of salvaged vehicles, where he employed his sons Ralph and David Sr. Oscar later moved to San Jose and opened a machine shop. His last business venture was with his two sons, David and Ralph, in the logging and lumber industry north of San Francisco in the Cazadero area, before his life ended in a tragic single vehicle accident in 1941.
David Opperman Sr. grew up in a world full of cars, motors, wrecks, and salvage as the American automobile industry began to fully develop. He joined the work force early by hiring on with his father at the Pacheco Pass Garage. He married his wife, Elizabeth Titcom (lovingly known as Betty) and had their first son David Jr in 1932. During this time, David Sr. received recognition for selling fifty or more Chevrolet vehicles during 1935 in San Jose. David Sr. moved his family of three children; David Jr., Betsy, and Stephen; to the remote Sea View area on the Northern California coast. After the passing of his father Carl, David Jr. and his brother Ralph continued to run their thriving timber and lumber business. David Jr. moved his family to Healdsburg, California to provide better education opportunities for his three children. He realized there was more money to be made by converting old logging trucks into water trucks. David Sr., along with the help of his oldest son David Jr., started renting out their converted logging rigs as the demand for heavy equipment and road construction increased. There were three different Healdsburg locations before moving to the current location at 280 Kinley Drive. David Sr. incorporated Opperman & Son in 1964 and served as the President of the business until 1990, working alongside his sons, grandsons, and a growing number of employees.
Opperman & Son grew exponentially after settling into their new location. It started out by converting and renting water trucks, leasing cats, and operating heavy duty equipment while slowly getting out of the logging industry. The business expanded quickly after opening the shop in the new metal building with nearly eight acres to fill. The company began buying and repairing used trucks to keep up with the demand for an ever growing inventory to meet the sales opportunities. Opperman & Son operated on their good word during this time, making business deals with only a handshake.
David Jr. took the position of President in 1991 following his father’s death. He has the Opperman work ethic, working easily with machinery and making the most of out of each business opportunity that came his way. He continued to build the company the company until 1999 when he retired from full time involvement. He continues to be a part of the company with his wisdom and passion for the used truck sales and service industry. These days, he enjoys the adventures of traveling.
Stephen Opperman has always had an interest in cars. He came back on board with his dad’s business driving a water truck during the construction of Interstate 5. He has filled many positions in the family business, but he shines in the sales and purchasing of equipment due to his engaging and outgoing personality. Steve served as the President from 2000 to 2008. Currently, he holds the Vice President position and splits his time between Northern and Southern California.
Today, the company is run day to day by David Jr.’s three sons; David III Opperman, Brian Opperman, and Marc Opperman. David III manages the Service Department, Brian manages the Part Department, and Marc manages the Sales Department while also serving as the President since 2008.
Opperman & Son’s extensive facilities make it possible for Opperman & Son to handle your complete trucking needs with the quality new and used truck and trailer sales; new and used parts department; and a complete repair shop, welding shop, and body shop department. Our “R”-stamp DOT tank repair/inspection facility has allowed us to specialize in fuel tank and trailer repair at our Healdsburg location.
Opperman & Son celebrated their 50th year in business in 2014. The company is now on its fourth generation of family involvement, with Marc’s daughter Whitney Opperman joining the business in 2013 in the New Equipment Sales Department. The company opened a second Sales location in Fontana, California in 2012. Opperman & Son became a dealer for the Wabash Diversified Products line in 2014, representing Beall, Brenner, Walker, Bulk, and Progress Tank. The business continues to grow and thrive, with emphasis on honesty, quality, and customer satisfaction. Opperman & Son honors their rich history in the transportation business, knowing that the business would not continue to succeed without the dedication and hard work of their employees and loyalty of their customers.
Thank you for choosing Opperman & Son!
-The Opperman Family