The GMC legacy is alive and well at Findlay Chevy GMC in Bullhead City, Arizona. GMC trucks have come a long way since their inception over a century ago. They have earned the trust and loyalty of generations of customers. And these durable trucks have often been at the forefront of automotive advancement in engineering and style.That’s why GMC trucks are more than just trucks – they are professional grade.
But how did GMC trucks became one of the most popular and reliable brands in the market? Buckle up and get ready for a ride through the history of GMC trucks, from their humble beginnings to their modern innovations.
GMC trucks have a long and rich history that dates back to 1901, when two brothers, Max and Morris Grabowsky, started the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company in Pontiac, Michigan. Their goal was ambitious and visionary. They wanted to replace the draft horse by building rugged and dependable gasoline engine powered delivery trucks for commercial businesses
The brothers enjoyed moderate success. Trucks using a two-cylinder engine of their design that could produce 15 hp quickly gained a repuation for dependability. From the production of a mere 75 trucks in the first 18 months, the company quickly became a leader in the manufacture of commercial vehicles. And that caught the attention of William C. Durant, the swashbuckling investor and entrepreneur that transfomed the dream of Benjamin Briscoe into a manufacturing giant, General Motors.
Durant invested heavily in Rapid Motor stock, and in 1909, he bought the company and merged it with another truck manufcturer that he had acquired, Reliance Motor Company. In 1912, he introduced the name “GMC Trucks” at the New York Auto Show, and patented it eight months later. Interestingly, initially GMC trucks were available in gasoline or electric powered models.
Building on the Grabowsky reputation, GMC trucks were quickly associated with dependability and durability. In 1916, a GMC truck, with 1,000 pounds of cargo, crossed the country from Seattle to New York City in 30 days, setting a record at the time. To put this in perspective, in the travel journal entry for July 16, 1915, Edsel Ford noted leaving Williams, Arizona that morning, and arriving at the Brunswick Hotel in Kingman, Arizona at midnight. He also noted that the 156 mile drive was a “good days run.”
In 1926, the year that Route 66 was certified, a two-ton GMC truck was driven from New York to San Francisco in five days and 30 minutes, another impressive feat. And during World War I and World War II, GMC supplied thousands of trucks to the U.S. military, and earned a Distinguished Service Award for their contribution.
GMC also kept up with the changing tastes and needs of consumers. In 1927, they added chrome-plated trim, radiator-mounted headlights, and a more streamlined look to their trucks. In the 1930s, they expanded their pickup styles with more paint colors, swooping fenders, diesel engines, and a more comfortable cabin interior. In tthe 1950s, GMC trucks offered an array of innovations as options including four-wheel drive, automatic transmission, and power steering
Today, GMC trucks are known for their premium quality and performance. They offer SUVs, pickup trucks, vans, and light-duty trucks that combine power, comfort, and style. Some of their most popular models include the Sierra, the Canyon, the Yukon, and the Acadia. They also have a luxury trim called Denali that adds more features and sophistication to their vehicles. And they are not afraid to revisit old technologies, such as electric vehicles, and give them a cutting edge upgrade.
Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America