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In 1902 when Max Grabowsky sold his first truck to the American Garment Cleaning Company of Detroit. Later that year, the Grabowsky Motor Vehicle Company was reorganized as Rapid Motor Vehicle Company. By 1904, Rapid would turn out 75 trucks from a factory in Pontiac, Mich.

During 1908, General Motors founder William C. Durant began buying up Rapid's stock and the company soon found itself being represented by GM's sales force. GM was growing quickly and brought Rapid fully under the corporate umbrella in 1909 - the year that a Rapid truck made headlines by climbing to the top of Pike's Peak. The GMC logo - which stands for General Motors Truck Company - was first seen on trucks in 1912.

GMC's 3/4-ton Model 16 became the U.S. Army's standard AA truck during 1917. It served proudly, mostly as a World War I battlefield ambulance. GMC also contributed searchlight trucks, cargo trucks and troop carriers to the war effort.

During the 1930s, GMC made everything from 1/2-ton pickups to 10-ton trucks to trailer chassis. One important new model was the Suburban Carryall, which combined car-like convenience with the utility of a truck. Two-toned trucks with Art Deco "stream-style and dual-tone color design" were a big hit in 1937, especially new cab-over-engine models.

With the outbreak of World War II, Yellow Truck & Coach started making six-wheel-drive military trucks. Between 1941 and 1945, about 529,100 of these 2-1/2-ton "Jimmys" were built in different lengths, configurations and body styles including cargo trucks, dump trucks, tankers, bomb transporters and fire engines. An amphibious version called the DUKW - and nicknamed the "Duck" - was developed in 43 days. It proved to be so good that over 21,000 copies were built and earned fame in combat. In September 1943, GM bought out the assets of Yellow Truck & Coach and renamed it GMC Truck & Coach Division.

GMC celebrated 75 years of design, engineering and production innovation during its Diamond Anniversary in 1977. An advertisement noted that GMC employees were known as the "truck people within General Motors." It said that the 1977 line offered, "models from 1/2-ton to 3-1/2-tons and trucks for people, trucks for freight, trucks for fun."

GMC continued to refine its products in the 1990s with aerodynamic styling enhancements, more efficient engineering and high-performance trucks like the 1991 Syclone. New model names were a trend, with the C/K pickup becoming the Sierra, the S-15 becoming the Sonoma, the Jimmy becoming the Yukon and the Rally/Vandura van becoming the Savana. New Envoy and Yukon Denali models appeared. In a historic 1996 move, the GMC and Pontiac divisions were merged. Two years later, division headquarters were relocated to General Motors' headquarters at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. In 1999, Lynn C. Myers became general manager.

 

 

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