GMC Celebrates its 100th Anniversary in 2012


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: 


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." 

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.


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. 


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.

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.

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.) 

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. 

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. 


Latest expert reviews