DETROIT – GMC is one of the longest-running brands in the General Motors portfolio, the second-largest of the four GM brands in U.S. sales, and a standard bearer for engineering in pickup trucks, SUVs, and crossover vehicles. Here are 10 little-known facts about GMC:
- The GMC name turns 100 years old in 2012. In 1912, Rapid Motor Vehicle Company was merged with two others – Reliance and Randolph – to become GMC.
- On August 1, 1909, a Rapid F-406-B – a GMC predecessor – was the first truck to reach the 14,110-foot summit of Pikes Peak.
- If GMC was a standalone manufacturer, it would be the tenth-largest automaker in the United States in terms of total vehicle sales from January to November of 2011.
- GMC built some of the world’s earliest electric vehicles from 1912-1917. These trucks had single-digit model names, each denoting load capacity, from one-half-ton to 12 tons.
- GMC’s luxury-focused Denali trim level currently outsells the entire product lines of some premium automakers, including Land Rover, Jaguar, and Porsche.
- GMC was tasked with engineering and production of the 1936 Parade of Progress vans and the 1941 Futurliners, which toured the country carrying mobile road shows.
- Today, GMC and the Denali trim level are among the fastest-growing nameplates in the U.S. with respective sales increases of 22 percent and 91 percent year over year.
- During World War II, GMC manufactured approximately 584,000 military vehicles, including the CCKW-353 “Deuce-and-a-Half” and the amphibious “Duck.”
- The GMC Sierra – the brand’s top selling model – outsold the Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan combined, with 40,000 sales to spare, through the first 11 months of 2011.
- From 1973-1978, GMC produced motorhomes in 23- and 26-foot lengths. They appeared in Bill Murray’s 1981 movie, Stripes and the 1996 blockbuster, Twister.
Following the success of the 1936 Parade of Progress, General Motors commissioned 12 Futurliners to be built by GMC in 1939. These imposing 33-foot long, 11-foot high, 33,000 pound streamliners demanded attention in each town they visited, including San Bernadino, California, seen here.
GMC played a vital role in World War II, building over a dozen different types of military vehicles. The 1942 CCKW353 6×6 personnel carrier, known by soldiers as the Jimmy Deuce and a Half was the most prevalent, with over 560,000 examples built over the course of the war.
The GMC CCKW353 6×6 military trucks were assembled for duty in World War II on the main GMC assembly line in Pontiac, Michigan.
From 1973 to 1978, GMC got involved in the booming motor home market with two different models measuring 23 and 26 feet in length. A 1973 model is shown here with the optional roof-mounted air conditioner.
GMC made some of the world’s first electric vehicles, including this 1913 model. These trucks had many uses, including furniture delivery.
GMC’s early electric trucks, including the 1914 model 2B and model 4A shown here, were relied upon by Detroit’s News and Tribune newspapers.
In 1936, GMC was tasked with the engineering and construction of a fleet of buses for the General Motors Parade of Progress road show. One of the eight total buses is pictured here in a storage garage.
This 1909 Rapid Model F six-passenger, shown here celebrating its feat, was the first truck to ever reach the summit of Pikes Peak outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado