GMC Celebrates its 100th Anniversary in 2012

GMC logo

GMC is one of the longest-running brands in GM's portfolio and is the second-largest of the four GM brands in total U.S. sales. In addition, GMC sees itself as the leader in functional technological advancements in engineering for all GM pickups, SUVs and crossovers. Here are 10 little-known facts about GMC: 

GMC motorhome

10. GMC produced motorhomes for just five years (from 1973 to 1978) in 23- and 26-foot lengths with innovative rooftop air conditioning. The classic motorhomes appeared in Bill Murray’s 1981 movie "Stripes" and the 1996 blockbuster "Twister." 

GMC Sierra 2011
9. The GMC Sierra 1500 – 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.

GMC Sierra Denali

8. Today, GMC and Denali trim levels are among the fastest-growing nameplates in the U.S., with respective sales increases of 22 percent and 91 percent year over year. The Denali trim package expanded in 2011 to both their small and large crossovers and to the 1-ton (dual and single rear wheel) HD pickup trucks. 


GMC 1913_Historical

7. GMC built some of the world’s earliest electric vehicles from 1912 to 1917. These trucks had single-digit model names, each denoting load capacity, from half-ton to 12 tons.

GMC 1909_Historical

6. On Aug. 1, 1909, a Rapid F-406-B — a GMC predecessor — was the first truck to reach the 14,110-foot summit of Pikes Peak (noted as 15,000 feet at the time of the photo). Although we don't have the exact finishing time, we're told it was done in a single day on a much rougher road. 

5. If GMC were a stand-alone manufacturer, it would be the 10th-largest automaker in the United States in terms of total vehicle sales from January to November 2011.

4. GMC’s luxury-focused Denali trim level currently outsells the entire product lines of several premium automakers, including Land Rover, Jaguar and Porsche.

GMC 1940_Historical

3. 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. Each Red Elephant (that was their nicknames) had a different exhibit to highlight futuristic technologies. Among the predictions were microwave ovens, sterophonic sound and walking on beams of light. (Two out three ain't bad.) 

GMC 1942_Historical

2. During World War II, GMC built about 584,000 military vehicles, including the CCKW-353 “Deuce-and-a-Half” and the amphibious “Duck.” GMC played a vital role in WWII, building more than a dozen types of vehicles for the military. 

GMC Grabowsky

1. The GMC name (as owned by General Motors) turns 100 years old next year. In 1912, Rapid Motor Vehicle Co. was merged with two others — Reliance and Randolph — to become GMC. Historians at Automobile Magazine report that GMC was first named after the Grabowsky Motor Vehicle Co. (early vehicle pictured above) until it was sold just before the Rapid's climb up Pikes Peak. 


And today GMC's are nothing but clones of their Chevy siblings.

Happy birthday. I'll take the Chevy though. The early 1900's had some cool trucks but really, for the better part of GM's history GMC has been nothing but a Chevy powered, Chevy truck with a different grille. This current body Sierra is better looking than the Silverado though, I'll give them that as it's their birthday and all.

Love them or Hate them, 100 years says a lot about a company and it's loyal followers

Old history is cool. I'm more of a Chevrolet guy though.. Give me a Denali trim package in a new Silverado and I'm sold.

I get such a kick out of these.
GMC had electric trucks that hauled 12 ton...
ONE HUNDRED years ago when trucks were wooden boxes.

Whatever happened to that idea?
Are we just going to let the other countries beat us to that too?

Automobile Magizine doesn't know their history very well. There never was such a thing as 'Grabowsky Motor Vehicle Co.' What morons.. William Durant gave GMC it's name as a short for General Motors Company. Either way I can't stand that brand. Such utter redundancy for decades made it a joke. Now GM tries to revive it giving it high dollar interiors and such all the while holding back Chevrolet from kicking Ford's butt halfway around the world. GMC should have gone the way of the dodo years ago.

100 years of the 4th best selling truck in the market.
GM loses again

GMC sucks. Just a Girly Mans Chevy for chicks to drive. I'll take a Ford instead. Real trucks don't have twins.

GM ruined Chevy trucks with that knock off brand for years. Now they've ruined Chevy trucks even more with this Denali crap and higher end looks all while giving the middle finger to Chevrolet. For that I left GM completely truck and car both. I only drive Ford's now. Happy Birthday GMC, you cost GM yet another former Chevy customer who left for Ford instead.

cograts gay men's car :p (have to do some good natured jokes sometimes) honestly almost all body styles especially current ones I think the gmc clone looks a lot nicer than the Chevy

They either need to ax GMC or make them useful.
For example they could bring back quadra-steer and put in a twin turbo V6 Sierra 1500 and leave the Silverado with the naturally aspirated v8's and hybrid without quadra-steer, thus making the GMC 'Professional Grade' again.

Otherwise whats the point with putting a GMC badge a every other Silverado?

I love the luxury in the Denali. If Chevrolet had that option I would have bought one instead of my Platinum F-150. Chevrolet is really held back by GMC I think. They'd sell triple the Denali trims if it were in the Chevrolet Silverado. I'm just not much of a GMC guy but certainly respect the history for history's sake.

@ TruckManPete - There's a Reason GMC is GM's Metrosexual Chevy. Do Not put anything called 'Denali' in a Chevrolet. Chevy needs something more rugged and tough like King Ranch! Either way, I'm not buying a new Chevy until they step up and smoke Ford. I refuse to buy a second best truck. And if GMC is what's holding back Chevy trucks, I hope this is it's last birthday. Go join Pontiac, Olds and the rest of Old GM's crap brands.

I can't believe we as American taxpayers bailed out a company and left 2 truck lines in tact. What a waste of my money. What company needs 2 fricken truck lines?? Absolutely sickening and sad. GMC should have got the axe. Most of GM's trucks sold are Chevy's anyhow. Why not just give them the Denali trim (or something equivalent) to compete head to head against Ford and get rid of this stupid brand. GM would ultimately sell more trucks if Chevrolet's were better as a result. I'm surprised this isn't all over the news.

My father always bought GMC's since we had a good and very small local dealer. Like maybe 2 or 3 trucks on the lot at the most. Once back in the late 70's or early 80's he had that special Indy Hauler. Man I loved that truck. Of course I was a teenager.

Anybody remember the Gentlemen Jim? Or the best GMC ever Jim Rockfords dad GMC, now that was cool.

So all you haters just think of something that brings back good memories of your youth and your father. Then write us back with something good.

PS I would rather buy from Obama Motors then Toko Motors

That is a great milestone.

But I would venture to guess that GMC will go the way of Oldsmobile and Pontiac in the next 20 years... .

FORD since 1903!! The best never rest!! FORD WINS AGAIN and chevy/government motors lose AGAIN. Let it be said and so it is written!!!!!!!!

Congratualtions on 100 years of the GMC brand in 2012.
It is always interesting to see the history of vehicles.
My brother had a '79 Chevy 1/2 ton 4x2 long box. It was his first truck. 250 straight 6, 3 speed auto and I think 3.05 gears. He wanted a sporty truck with a V8 but since my dad was chipping in some of the cash he had final say. It was ultra reliable. Just routine maintenance. The only thing unusual was some repairs to the box due to teenage horseplay and a rigid snow bank, and a porcupine ate all of the brake lines once. He had that truck 10 years.

I literally hate GMC for what they did to ruin Chevrolet. Never will I support that brand. I'm to the point I don't even want to support GM anymore because of it. The blame ultimately lies with them. My next truck will be a Ford or even a Dodge Ram. GM deserves all of the negative comments they get over this mess. I supported Chevrolet Trucks for over 30 years and all I've got is a big 'screw you' out of it from GM. Well GM, same to ya. I don't want your junk GMC. You ruined Chevy Trucks, you ruined my loyalty.

haha some pissed off jealous ford monkey boys comments GO GMC! GO CHEVY! both 100 years old and still going strong. my uncle has two gmc army trucks 6 wheel drive from the 1950s big gmc strait 6 motors and allison tranny *gm owned allson for a while* use them to haul wood and drag anything we need still run like brand new to this day

I can agree that GMC is a twin of Chevy trucks and I don't see the value in it, but GM did eliminate Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer, and now SAAB is disappearing under its new owners. I don't think GMC has brought Chevy down I just don't think it is necessary except maybe since it is sold at the same dealers as Buick it gives Buick a truck. I would not base my buying decision on GMC being a duplicate of Chevy. I base my buying decisions on product, price, and other things. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions but these Ford guys ridiculing GM are just as bad as the Chevy guys with their obnoxious Ford comments. I guess we as a society have deteriorated so much that we cannot have a civil discussion without getting into name calling and bashing each other. This is why Washington is such a mess. We can express our ideas in a civilized manner. Do you really think you are going to change someone's opinion of a product by bashing it? With all the derrogatory remarks that the Ford haters, Chevy haters, and Toyota haters make it allienates others and makes them not want to bother to read this website. Didn't your mother teach you how to act?

PS I am getting sick of hearing these Government Bailout comments. Be careful what you wish for you might be driving Chinese trucks in the future. Didn't you hear on the news that the Chinese are using their intelligence to steal technology from Ford, Boeing, GE, the Government, and other US corporations. You will not have to worry about any more bailouts because the Chinese will use this technology that they have stolen and our government will probably let them get by with this. So keep hating GM some more and maybe they will go out of business and Ford and Toyota can compete with the Chinese.

Jeff, I agree with your comments. The uncivilized comments--aka bashing--do nothing but deteriorate this website.

Do they only let 12 year olds post here? Seems like it from 90% of the comments. No thanks there's other sites with better people and communities to share and exchange ideas. CYA

I had a 1988 GMC 1/2 ton. It was ok at the time.

they do need to break away from Chevy and do their own thing to grow.

Been driving Fords ever since.

As a kid who went camping a lot I just loved those RV's growing up. I thought they were super cool and even futuristic looking.

Since we're reminiscing about GMCs, here are a couple of pics of my old GMC... .

Punking some fancy AWD turbo cars:

Drift action:

Guys on here like to talk about how hot their sport trucks are--mine was basically a circle track car that was pretty potent whether it be a road course or in a straight line... .

Who here realizes that RandyH and KenH are the same metrosexual moron? Almost identical storyline, same hatred, and same jealousy. Give it up moron, your rants are old and boring. We get it, you hate GM anything. Sounds like you were fired from GM or something. Whatever your beef is, your comments are stupid. GM trucks kick ass and take names. Care to read the last 2 HD shootuts? Yeah, GM won them both, and Ford just keeps trying to copy the innoviations GM comes up with. Carry on....

Those Futureliners are creepy looking and that's what I like about vehicle designs of that era and into the 50's-60's! Designs seem so bland now compared to what thy used to do. Tail fins are hideous but I can't stop looking at them!! lol

My dad had a 69' GMC in light blue with a straight-6 and some cool wheels. I loved that truck but I was maybe 6 when he got rid of it so my memories of it are vague now.

I also don't know why the GM's twins exist but GMC outsells Chevy in Canada. Having said that, I think it's time to punt GMC and make one good Silverado with a wider range of trims and endless configuration options as Ford has done. If the truck I good enough and has enough appeal there won't be a problem getting GMC sales into Silverado sales.

I'm anxiously waiting to see hat the new GM trucks will offer. Too bad they've been so right lipped but it's not far off now.

@Dav-Thanks for the pictures of your Cabellaro. It would be nice if GM brough back those El Camino twins. Granted the market would be limited but since they almost imported a Pontiac G-6 that was a Holden and the Camaro is based on the Holden platform this could be profitable. Sharing platforms can also mean that they could share the same assembly plant which would make this more feasible.

Another thing off topic but of interest, I would like Mark to follow an new news about Ford working on the hybrid technology for the F-150s that does not require a battery. If Ford can do this then this would definitely be a game changer. Another off topic thing of interest to me I would like to see one of the manufacturers offer direct gear drive on their trucks instead of a timing chain or a timing belt. Less power is lost and it is more efficient. Add direct injection and on the 4 cylinders add turbo charging. I know this costs extra but it would make for some great engines.

I have seen one of the yellow motorhomes driving around here in Boise recently. It is hideous but I just know that at the time it was probably about the peak of travleing luxury. Neat to see one still being used.

#7 is not quite accurate:
'GMC built some of the world’s earliest electric vehicles from 1912 to 1917'

GMC was hardly the first, manufacturers, such as Studebaker (ca. 1896), implemented this technology much earlier.

GMC was actually near the end of this trend, made obsolete with the introduction of the electric starter (in 1912 by Cadillac).

GMC's first internal combustion engine vehicles (powered by Continental) were marketed in 1916, when their electrics were phased-out.

GMC, however, is the longest surviving electric vehicle brand - made possible by abondoning the technology due to battery limitations - sound famaliar?

Good god, this site attracts the dumbest commenters on the interweb. I feel stupider for having this on my screen. Deleting from

So if GM filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and emerged as a new company how can we say GMC is 100 years old - didn't it die too with a new GMC emerging that's only 2 years old? Same with Chevy and its anniversary celebrations recently. They shouldn't have it both ways - celebrate this long glorious history when it suits them but use the "old GM" excuse when it again helps them but leaves others in the lurch.

@Mhowarth many US RVers wish GMC was still building Motorhomes.

@Factchecker the English have always used electric vehicles for Milk delivery Vans.

I think GMC would be more relevant if they were still producing these.

GM should eliminate Chevrolet trucks (I know there are many of you who hate that idea) and only offer GMC trucks. This way there is a true "truck division". Have cars sold under the names of Buick, Cadillac, and Chevrolet, and trucks sold under GM. Also no GMC "cars" (Acadia, etc.). Let those be under the "car" nameplates. For a long time, when you combine Chevy and GMC truck sales totals, they are ahead of Ford. Also, I am a Ford guy and hope they stay ahead of Chevy for many years to come, since Ford does build a superior product.

@Michigan Boob - this is a misleading headline. GMC as a brand or "badge" is 100 years old. My understanding is that GMC as a corporation is a 100 years old this year (2011) if you do not factor the bankruptcy.
If you are true to the rules of bankruptcy "Old GMC" died at 97 years old in 2008.
New GMC is only 3 years old, but with a "badge" or nameplate that is still 100 years old.

@ Wayne, I completely disagree. GM should eliminate GMC trucks. Chevrolet sells roughly70% of all GM trucks anyhow. They'd sell more if they had luxury trims and better looks. Chevy competes with Ford on all fronts but on this one more people choose the Ford. Mostly because they look better and have high end interiors to choose from. If Chevy wants to stay in the game, they need to go Head to Head as their commercial suggests against Ford. GMC IMO holds them back significantly. I'd be willing to bet GMC won't last another decade because of this. That and going into the future I see a decline in overall pick up truck sales. There's just no need for 2 lines.

Your a Ford guy and yet Ford is considered a 'True' truck division yet sell cars and everything else. People cross shop Chevrolet with Ford straight up all the time and have for decades. Chevy should likewise be considered a 'True' truck division. I still suggest a Chevy Industrial division as mentioned many times on GMI. Fold all GMC product into Buick increasing their brand portfolio then give Chevy the green light to Truly compete against Ford. Right now I'd agree, they're not cutting it and I'd suggest that hurts their car sales as well. People tend to stick with 1 brand for their truck and cars.

Back in the late 70s,there was talk of eliminating GMC and Chevrolet trucks,and going with corporate "General Motors Truck" as a brand.Thus they could brag about their sales figure as a whole brand,not dividing it up with 2 brands (to which Ford has only one).Why it never happened is beyond me.
I knew an old plumber who bought a new 1985 Chevy K10 stepside pickup (350/auto,Custom trim).It came with GMC horn pad and GMC tailgate.He refused the dealer to replace them,as he said it was a great conversation piece.I call that an identity crisis!

From another post but relevant to this because I fully agree:@ RonL - Man your post is spot on. I'm waiting to see how the conservative media handles GMC whenever it happens. And once the truck/suv disliking left grasps the feds left 2 truck lines in tact they'll flip out too. Sierra and Savana are 2 Girls names I'd rather forget.

I'm not driving any truck that doesn't have a Blue Oval, a Bowtie or a Ram on the front. GMC devalues and ruins Chevrolet trucks and suv's at the same time. Chevy can't compete against the premium upscale quallity of Ford and Dodge because GM purposely dumbs Chevrolet down. This causes long term damage to Chevrolet. Which in turn causes permanent damage to our investment. GM will then faulter and it will have all been a big waste of taxpayer money for nothing in the end. Buick needs to go back to China and GMC needs to be buried for good in GM's 'Redundant Brand Graveyard'.

Eh, I agree with ya Jim but I think gmc will be gone shortly anyway. The future economy and crowded market really makes it pointless for gmc to exist. If it was pointless before it's Really pointless now. Either way I'm more of a Chevrolet guy and I'm not happy about any of it either. Chevy used to be the truck to go to when you wanted the best. Now it's Ford. GM attempts to take on Ford with gmc these days and it just aint happenin. I'm not buying one and I know tons of truck guys who aren't either. I'd rather just switch my vehicles all over to Fords if I can't have premium Chevrolet's like Ford gives ya now. Trucks and cars alike. I like to stick with 1 nameplate for my vehicles just like I use 1 brand for my tools. I suppose they could dump gmc's at costco and walmart until they're sold up but keep Chevrolet out of it. The prestigous Bowtie is above that cheap nonsense.

Real Men drive Chevy's.

GMC wouldn't have even made it past the 1950's without Chevy trucks and the SBC engines that powered them. I can't stand that brand. I'd rather drive a Ford.

@RandyH so what is this???
even ford F150 has twins lol

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