Today’s GMC Denali, the famous luxury SUV, outsells the Cadillac. The popular truck-turned-status-symbol is beating most luxury competitors.
But, even the name is part of GMC truck history. On August 1, 1909, the future giant’s Rapid F-406 B was the first truck to climb Pike’s Peak in Colorado.
And Denali is the highest mountain in the U.S., located in Alaska. GMC’s pride in both manufacturing and pure power are more than a century old. No matter if it’s today’s best-selling trimmed out cash cow or the “the Jimmy” of yore.
GMC truck history exudes coolness. And, they come by it in the most honest of ways.
Here are seven cool things about GMC truck history you probably don’t know:
It All Started With Delivery Trucks
Two young brothers began with separate companies to form GMC in the very early 1900’s. And, they began it all with a two-cylinder delivery truck.
As they grew, their trucks became record-breaking machines. The delivery drivers made the trek from Seattle to New York in five days.
Even by today’s standards, it seems remarkable!
GMC Truck History Includes Boats
Chances are good you’ve seen the most infamous duck ever. The amphibious DUKW353 swam and drove across more than a few continents during WWll.
This master of engineering is a 31-foot hull assembly around a truck frame assembly. Complete with bilge pumps, rudder, and outboard engine, GMC made them for the U.S. and allies.
The floating trucks were perfect for battle as well as bringing supplies to ships. GMC won awards from the military for this design perfection. And, they are still around today!
Visitors can enjoy day tours in many large cities from their mighty hulls.
Motorhomes-The Tour Years
The radical new design of the 70’s was the motorhome. And, GMC gave America a dandy. The first on the market was the TVS-4, or travel vehicle streamlined.
The 26-foot front drive machine took no less than a dozen designers. The team was also behind GMC’s history of its bus makes. And, the interior was replete with avocado green shag carpet.
At that time, road trips were a vacation preference and owners could bring home along with them. Though they were in production for a short time, they hold a great place in our hearts.
One of them had a starring role in Anchorman 2. And, Ozzy Osbourne features a version in his reality travel show. His fond memory of touring days is the reasoning.
It Ain’t Heavy-It’s a Chevy
If you venture back in time, you will see that GMC and Chevrolet pickups are identical during some years. GMC even came out with the “Sprint” in the 70’s which is quite like Chevy’s then-popular El Camino.
Though it did not match Chevy’s sales, GMC’s dedication to truck customers has. GMC began diverging from their competitor’s designs in the 90’s. Today, their trendy designs like the Yukon and Denali series makes converts.
Those die-hard Chevy customers are now along for the ride.
The Jimmy in the Desert
In 2017, the Denali made its one-millionth sale. Each year it seems, the celebrity GMC SUV has another milestone in sales.
But, the most significant increase in sales is not in the U.S., but in the middle east. It seems the luxe black edition with a 10-speed transmission is perfect for the desert.
And, the optional 3rd-row seating ensures the whole family comes along. The language may be different there, but this region’s buyers refer to GMC models as “Jims”.
Since its start in 1999, the SUV has a growing base in the mountains of Canada and the deserts of Mexico, too.
The GMC Truck of the 90’s is Faster Than a ‘Vette
The Syclone/Typhoon pickup from 1991-1993 is the result of designers who love stomping it on the drag.
GMC took their compact truck of those years to racing level. The serious team took on the addition of a turbocharged V6 with a higher torque than the Corvette.
The cool upgrade got this little monster’s ponies to 60mph in 4.2 seconds. Though lacking in room for extra gear, it was a scream for those wanting to bring it on cruising night.
The TV Star Makes it to the Big Screen
For a full five years in the 1980’s, the star of the A-Team was Mister T’s timeless look. And, the cool-as-hell van the mercenaries drove as a base camp.
The GMC G-series had shag carpet, custom gun cabinets, and roomy captain’s buckets. And, the heavy duty machine took enough turns, dives, and gunshots to make it the true hero of the series.
The slick black, gunmetal gray and red costume was a hit with audiences, too. So much so that when the reboot A-Team movie came out in 2010, the van got a contract, too.
The superstar was also booking roles in Robot Chicken and The Return of the Planet of the Apes.
Carmaker History Repeats Itself Today
Car history offers up some cool retro body styles, colors, and at times, innovation. For example, the first electric car began a short drive before the Model T was gracing roadways.
Like today, they were much cleaner running than their gas power counterparts. But, they did not gain enough interest for good reason.
The electric power could not move the car faster than 15 mph. Bicycles of the era were faster.
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