When we think about automotive history, we generally think about consumer cars such as the model-T or the Chevrolet Corvette. However, throughout the years, another revolution was evolving into a vast new market. This market would fulfill the needs of those who needed utility from their vehicles, for those working in the industrial field. The company that would fulfill these needs is known today as GMC. Here is a list of some of the most influential trucks that GMC introduced into the market in its 100-plus years of history.
1909 Rapid Model-F406B
In 1904, a new automobile plant was manufactured in Pontiac Michigan that would specifically produce commercial vehicles. The newly incorporated company would be called the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company and would produce roughly 200 vehicles a year. Rapid would specialize in commercial vehicles that could haul cargo, carry multiple people, and have exceptional power. In 1909 the Rapid Model F406B would prove itself and it capabilities to the world. The Model F, while carrying 5 people would go on to climb 20 ½ miles up Pikes Peak in Colorado becoming the first commercial vehicle to ever do so. This got the attention of William C Durant, who would buy the company and start the General Motor Truck Company, also known as GMC.
1915 GMC Model 15 Three Quarter Ton Trucks
In 1916, the US military was in pursuit of Mexican outlaw “Pancho” Villa. The Villistas were responsible for the deaths of American citizens in New Mexico, as they raided Columbus New Mexico causing significant damage. Brigadier John Pershing would organize a force of troops including men, horses, and GMC trucks. This would be the first time the US military would ever consider and use an automobile of any kind for military purpose.
1922 GMC Model K-101T
The era of the first big rigs, GMC began introducing trucks in the early 1920’s that had the capabilities to haul 5 to 10 tons including their trailers. Trucks with this kind of power began the revolution of Big Rigging and shipping goods. GMC would go onto to produce trucks that could haul heavy loads and make it across the country from New York to San Francisco in less than 7 days.
GMC CCKW 353
In 1941, America would find itself in the front lines of the Allies in the Second World War millions of American soldiers would be sent out to Europe and Asia to support the cause. America was in need of a truck to provide transportation to the mass population of troops overseas. GMC would go on to produce the CCKW 353 (Jimmy/Deuce and a half). This Truck would prove to be extremely reliable in the field, as it utilized as few moving parts as possible, making it extremely easy to repair on the field. GMC would go on to produce over 800,000 of these trucks by 1945 and would find itself in multiple country inventories.
Heavy duty trucks have revolutionized the way things are done today. Next time you see a bus on the road, a big rig driving cross country, or even the massive cranes that build are gigantic skyscrapers, remember that GMC was at the forefront for heavy duty vehicles.
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