Most of the public has trouble differentiating between the several car brands that 2012 has to offer. They fail to acknowledge any differences beyond the famous logos and flashy grille designs. However, for enthusiasts of the GMC brand, they have come to respect the company's high quality and attention to detail; characteristics that have developed for over a century. With GMC's first nameplate appearing in the New York Auto Show of 1912, the automaker proudly celebrates its 100th anniversary. Here is a quick review of GMC's evolution over the years.

GMC's Early History

GMC began as an amalgamation of several different truck brands. In fact, a popular myth explains that the "G" in GMC stands for Grabowski, the surnames of brothers who created one of these brands. Unfortunately, the company insists that the letters simply stand for the General Motors Corporation.
The company began by specializing in commercial trucks.

















The Transition into Light-duty Pickups

GMC decided to sell smaller trucks as a side-product to their commercial buyers. Their first light-duty pickup was officially produced in 1936. It was an all-steel half-ton machine known as the T-14 and it retailed for $566. Despite the company's transition into the consumer market, GMC continued to market the brand's reputation for strength and durability. In fact, they had a stunt performer named Erwin Baker drive a two-ton GMC from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. Baker accomplished the 3,700 mile trek in under 6 days, never stopping for a break.

War Time

GMC continued to diversify the body styles up until the Second World War. Beginning in 1942, GMC produced more than 528,000 CCKW trucks for use in combat. These powerful 6-wheel-drive machines were affectionately named the "Jimmy" by American soldiers. GMC also built amphibious vehicles that successfully deployed soldiers onto the beaches of Normandy.

GMC Competes with Chevy

Prior to the 1950s and '60s, Chevy had a stranglehold on the consumer automobile market. However, GMC decided to make the changeover from work trucks to lifestyle vehicles. They created a completely re-styled line that consisted of the famed GMC Suburban Pickup. This vehicle closely modeled Chevrolet's Cameo Carrier and made the competition between the brands evident. From 1967 and onward, both Chevrolet and GMC actually had their automobiles being constructed on the same assembly line.
The Modern GMC
Within the past decade, GMC has attempted to lose its image as an upscale version of Chevrolet. It is trying to relive its rough-and-tumble reputation of the past. These attempts have proven to be effective, as GMC's sales have skyrocketed in the last couple years. Sales increased by 31 percent in 2010, while 2011 saw a 16 percent rise.

The Celebration

GMC is commemorating its 100th anniversary by offering a special Heritage-Edition package on select models. The package will be available on the GMC Yukon, GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab and the Yukon XL. It will feature special wheels, chrome trim and unique badges. The package has a starting price of $1,820 which varies depending on the selected vehicle.
It is evident that GMC has significantly evolved over the past century. They have successfully transitioned from a producer of commercial trucks to a household name recognized around the world. There is little doubt that GMC will continue to attain success in their upcoming years.
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GMC S-15
GMC Celebrates 100 Years
by Britteny Bethencourt
These trucks were meant for hard labor and were built for farmers, contractors and freight haulers. As a result, they quickly gained a reputation for practicality, dependability and longevity. It's not surprising that comfort and aesthetics were often sacrificed in the process. Donald E. Meyer, a GMC historian, explains that, "Up until the late 1950s and into the '60s those were mostly work trucks. They were used rough and put away wet."