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Vintage truck models of GMC – the largest factory in the world devoted exclusively to the manufacture of motor trucks

David Goran

GMC, formally the GMC Division of General Motors LLC, is an American automobile division of the American manufacturer General Motors (GM) that primarily focuses on trucks and utility vehicles. GMC sells pickup and commercial trucks, buses, vans, military vehicles, and sport utility vehicles marketed in North America and the Middle East by General Motors.

General Motors was founded by William C. Durant on September 16, 1908, as a holding company for Buick. In 1909, GM purchased the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company, forming the basis of the General Motors Truck Company, from which the “GMC Truck” brand name was derived.

U.S. Army Overseas Drive Away; Woodward Ave. 1916.

U.S. Army Overseas Drive Away; Woodward Ave. 1916.

 

The Improved Chassis of 1906.

The Improved Chassis of 1906.

 

Rapid Motor Vehicle Co. 1-ton Rapid Truck. Model of 1905.

Rapid Motor Vehicle Co. 1-ton Rapid Truck. Model of 1905.

 

Rapid 4 cylinder truck with a driver and two passengers.

Rapid 4 cylinder truck with a driver and two passengers.

 

Pontiac truck loading sand.

Pontiac truck loading sand.

 

No. 6 Operated by electric power reliable. Economical and reliable. [At the G.M.C. site]

No. 6 Operated by electric power reliable. Economical and reliable. [At the G.M.C. site]

Model V First light duty truck developed by General Motors Truck Co., Pontiac, Mich.

Model V First light duty truck developed by General Motors Truck Co., Pontiac, Mich.

 

Model T-16 B-K-46 Men loading furniture in Keeshin Motor Express Co. Inc. truck.

Model T-16 B-K-46 Men loading furniture in Keeshin Motor Express Co. Inc. truck.

 

Model T16 B K 39 Men loading fruits.

Model T16 B K 39 Men loading fruits.

 

Model T-14 – D-14 Man delivering flowers from Schafers Flowers.

Model T-14 – D-14 Man delivering flowers from Schafers Flowers.

 

Model T 46 B C 42 loading building materials at a construction site.

Model T 46 B C 42 loading building materials at a construction site.

 

Model T 23 on a bridge with a man towing the car.

Model T 23 on a bridge with a man towing the car.

 

Model T 18 C – L 49 used for shipping construction materials.

Model T 18 C – L 49 used for shipping construction materials.

 

Model T 18 B – L 18 used for shipping glass for Cadillac Glass Co.

Model T 18 B – L 18 used for shipping glass for Cadillac Glass Co.

 

Model T 18 #C G 26 At a Lumber Yard. R.E. Behnke Lumber Co.

Model T 18 #C G 26 At a Lumber Yard. R.E. Behnke Lumber Co.

 

Model T 16B – G 1A at a loading area.

Model T 16B – G 1A at a loading area.

 

Model T 16A – G12 Men working from the truck for A.C. Meyers Welding Service.

Model T 16A – G12 Men working from the truck for A.C. Meyers Welding Service.

 

Model T 16 G 40 used by Union Electric , Light and Power Co.

Model T 16 G 40 used by Union Electric , Light and Power Co.

 

Model T 16 BA – F 28 In front of Mantei Sheet Metal Works.

Model T 16 BA – F 28 In front of Mantei Sheet Metal Works.

 

Model T 16 B used for shipping potatoes for Zell Potato Co.

Model T 16 B used for shipping potatoes for Zell Potato Co.

 

Model T 16 B – D 16 Men loading groceries from P. Herold & Sons inc. warehouse.

Model T 16 B – D 16 Men loading groceries from P. Herold & Sons inc. warehouse.

 

Model T 16 B – A 7 Man loading carbonated water tanks.

Model T 16 B – A 7 Man loading carbonated water tanks.

 

Model T 16 B – A 7 Man loading beer bottles.

Model T 16 B – A 7 Man loading beer bottles.

 

Model T 16 A G 46 used for shipping wood.

Model T 16 A G 46 used for shipping wood.

 

Model T 16 – L 8 in front of Stuart Oxygen Co. loading gas cylinders.

Model T 16 – L 8 in front of Stuart Oxygen Co. loading gas cylinders.

Rapid was established on December 22, 1901, by Max Grabowsky. The company developed some of the earliest commercial trucks ever designed, and utilized one-cylinder engines. The Reliance Motor Car Company (another independent manufacturer) was also purchased that same year by GM. Rapid and Reliance were merged in 1911, and in 1912, the marque “GMC Truck” first appeared on vehicles exhibited at the New York International Auto Show. Some 22,000 trucks were produced that year though GMC’s contribution to that total was a mere 372 units. GMC had some currency within GM referring to the corporate parent in general. Later “GMC” would become distinct as a division brand within the corporation, branding trucks and coaches; in contrast, the abbreviation for the overall corporation eventually ended up as “GM”.

Model T 16 – C-6 General Motors Truck, at a gravel pit.

Model T 16 – C-6 General Motors Truck, at a gravel pit.

 

Model T 16 – A 7 Men are loading distilled water.

Model T 16 – A 7 Men are loading distilled water.

 

Model T 14 B Pick up 15 Men loading furniture for Argentine Furniture.

Model T 14 B Pick up 15 Men loading furniture for Argentine Furniture.

 

Model T 14 B – F 37 in front of The People’s Dept. Stores.

Model T 14 B – F 37 in front of The People’s Dept. Stores.

 

Model T 14 B – F 21 Men are loading hardware.

Model T 14 B – F 21 Men are loading hardware.

 

Model T 14 B – D 16 used by Welton Market for shipping groceries.

Model T 14 B – D 16 used by Welton Market for shipping groceries.

 

Model KU 5 ton. Motor under-hood, model developed in Owosso, Mich., in 1913.

Model KU 5 ton. Motor under-hood, model developed in Owosso, Mich., in 1913.

 

Model K 52, replaced by Model T40, 1925.

Model K 52, replaced by Model T40, 1925.

 

Model H Reliance.

Model H Reliance.

 

Model F 18 H G 36 used for shipping paper for Graham Paper Co.

Model F 18 H G 36 used for shipping paper for Graham Paper Co.

 

Model F 16 C – G 15 used for shipping furniture for Brooks Parlor Furniture Co.

Model F 16 C – G 15 used for shipping furniture for Brooks Parlor Furniture Co.

 

Model F 11A.

Model F 11A.

 

Model C-28 at Terry – Gilbride Coal Co. quarry.

Model C-28 at Terry – Gilbride Coal Co. quarry.

 

Model 26 Bevel drive; replacing Model 25, chain drive 1915. [At the loading site of Hall Lumber Company]

Model 26 Bevel drive; replacing Model 25, chain drive 1915. [At the loading site of Hall Lumber Company]

Model 25 One ton chain drive – 1915. [Fire truck carrying uniformed fire fighters]

Model 25 One ton chain drive – 1915. [Fire truck carrying uniformed fire fighters]

Model 21 G.M.C. Change from chain to bevel drive. [Dolly Varden Chocolates]

Model 21 G.M.C. Change from chain to bevel drive. [Dolly Varden Chocolates]

Model 16 A.A. Ambulance; standard with U.S. Army 1916-17.

Model 16 A.A. Ambulance; standard with U.S. Army 1916-17.

 

Model 15 Bevel gear type. Developed 1915. [In front of Beach & Cloonan Drug store]

Model 15 Bevel gear type. Developed 1915. [In front of Beach & Cloonan Drug store]

GMC Model KU 5-ton. Developed in OWO 550 at Reliance Plant, 1913. In front of Roehl Bros. Storage.

GMC Model KU 5-ton. Developed in OWO 550 at Reliance Plant, 1913. In front of Roehl Bros. Storage.

 

GM truck used for mixing concrete

GM truck used for mixing concrete

 

GM truck used by men in a quarry

GM truck used by men in a quarry

 

GM Truck loading sand

GM Truck loading sand

 

GM truck filled with soil for landscaping

GM truck filled with soil for landscaping

 

General Motors Truck used for loading sand and gravel by Foley & Beardslee

General Motors Truck used for loading sand and gravel by Foley & Beardslee

 

G.M.C. electric truck, 1914

G.M.C. electric truck, 1914

GMC maintained three manufacturing locations in Pontiac, Michigan, Oakland, California, and Saint Louis, Missouri.

In 1916, a GMC Truck crossed the country from Seattle to New York City in thirty days, and in 1926, a 2-ton GMC truck was driven from New York to San Francisco in five days and 30 minutes. During the Second World War, GMC Truck produced 600,000 trucks for use by the United States Armed Forces.

GMC currently manufactures SUVs, pickup trucks, vans, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty trucks. In the past, GMC also produced fire trucks, ambulances, heavy-duty trucks, military vehicles, motorhomes, and transit buses.

 

Photos: New York Public Library