March 17, 2021

GMC

General Motors Truck Co. (1911-1925)
General Motors Truck & Coach Div. (1925-present)
Pontiac, Michigan


This is a GMC truck radiator emblem (1934-1935)     mjs
Size: 62mm wide 43mm high   MM: None

In 1911, the Rapid and Reliance truck companies, which were already under the control of General Motors, were combined under a single sales organization, the General Motors Truck Company. Initially, Rapid and Reliance trucks continued to be built under their original names but they were re-branded as GMC in 1912.

The four-cylinder 3-1/2-ton and 5-ton Reliance trucks were continued in 1912 as the GMC Series H  and K. In addition a range of nine existing Relay chain-driven electric trucks from 1/2-ton to 6-ton capacity were re-branded as GMC electric trucks. All GMC truck manufacturing was moved to the Rapid factory in Pontiac, Michigan in 1913 and new GMC models were gradually added to the line, so that, by the end of 1916, there was a range of six new gasoline powered truck models from 3/4-ton to 5-ton capacity. The final electric powered model was produced in early 1917. 

During the First World War, GMC produced about 16,000 2-ton capacity trucks and 5,000 ambulances based on the GMC Model 15 and Model 16 chassis. Post-War production offered a wide range of vehicle sizes centered round the K range. From 1922, GMC vehicles were also built in Canada. GMC also produced buses, mainly through Yellow Coach, which merged with GMC in 1925, although truck-based buses continued to be called GMC. The T-Series range of GMC trucks introduced in 1927 were successful and, following a sales peak of over 20,000 units in 1929, GMC was strong enough to come through the Depression unscathed.

The GMC range grew over the years into a wide variety of models and sizes, including trucks, buses, tankers, pick-ups and other commercial vehicles. During the Second World War, GMC produced sixteen different trucks for the US military and built 560,000 2-1/2-ton "army workhorse" trucks and about 20,000 "Duck" amphibious craft. 

After the war, GMC production continued to grow through the 1960's. In 1969 a record 150,180 GMC trucks were produced. But 1969 was the last year that GMC manufactured vehicles as an individual make. After 1969 GMC vehicles essentially became badge-engineered Chevrolets and the range grew to include SUV's, vans, pick-up trucks, light duty trucks and sports utility vehicles. The GMC marque is still in use today (as of 2021).

Emblems

The first GMC trucks in 1912-1913 were former Rapid and Reliance models re-branded with the "GMC" logo using decals and stencils displayed in a variety of locations on the trucks, see some examples shown below:

GMC/Reliance truck with body side decal logo (1912) 
oldcaradvertising

Close-up showing GMC body side decal logo (1912)

GMC/Rapid electric truck with hood & side stenciled logos (1913) 
carrevsdaily

Close-up showing hood & side stenciled logs (1913)

From 1914 to 1926, GMC trucks carried a cast iron "GMC" script emblem mounted on the radiator tank top, see examples shown below:

GMC truck ad showing radiator emblem (1915) ebay

GMC Model K-52 truck with rad script emblem (c1925) 
thevintagenews

These same GMC script emblems were also mounted in various other locations, including the front chassis frame cross member on electric trucks (1914-1917), the rear chassis frame cross member (1914-1926) the lower front of the body sides (1914-c1919) and the hood sides (c1919-1926), see example shown below:

GMC Model K-41A with rad & hood side script emblems (1923) brc

These GMC script emblems were usually painted black until about 1919, after when the radiator and hood side script emblems were usually painted white.

An unpainted example of the cast iron GMC script emblem is shown below. This GMC script emblem is scarce.

This is a GMC script emblem (1914-1926)   mjs
Size: 197mm wide 74mm high

There is a smaller version of this GMC script emblem, which had a rear threaded stud fixing arrangement, see example below:

This is a GMC script emblem (dates uncertain)   mjs
Size: 100mm wide 38mm high     

From 1916 to 1919, the GMC Model 16 had a new radiator shell with the "GMC" logo script stamped into the top front of the radiator shell, see example shown below:

This is a GMC Model 16 with stamped logo (c1916) maquetland

The GMC Model 16 trucks introduced in 1920 carried an oval shaped radiator emblem. This is the blue and white enamel GMC Model 16 radiator emblem shown below. This GMC radiator emblem is rare.

This is a GMC radiator emblem (1920-1921)    mjs
Size: 87mm wide 53mm high   MM: Unknown

This GMC radiator emblem was changed after the introduction of the GMC Model K-16 in 1921. This is the blue and white enamel GMC Model K-16 radiator emblem shown below. This GMC radiator emblem is rare.

This is a GMC Model K-16 radiator emblem (1921-1924)   mjs
Size: 87mm wide 53mm high    MM: None

The GMC T-Series trucks introduced in 1927 carried a new round radiator emblem with an enamel finish, which appears to have lasted for only about a year, although I cannot confirm this short date range with certainty. This is the orange, blue and white enamel GMC radiator emblem shown below. This GMC radiator emblem is rare.

This is a GMC radiator emblem (1927-c1928)   mjs
Size: 70mm diameter   MM: Unknown

This GMC radiator emblem is also found finished in yellow, blue and white enamel, see example shown below. This GMC radiator emblem is also rare.

This is a GMC radiator emblem (1927-c1928)     dnc
Size: 70mm diameter   MM: Unknown

The yellow, blue and white enamel GMC radiator emblem shown below is a variation with reversed colors in the border. This GMC radiator emblem appears to be genuine and, if so, is very rare.

This is a GMC radiator emblem ( 1927-c1928)    mjs
Size: 70mm diameter  MM: Unknown

The following red, blue and white enamel color variation of this GMC radiator emblem appears to be a restoration in the wrong colors, possibly made to copy a painted version of this emblem in much the same colors, as will be shown later below. 

This is a GMC radiator emblem (c1927)    mjs
Size: 70mm diameter    MM: None

The round GMC radiator emblem shown above was also produced with a painted finish. In fact, the painted versions of this GMC radiator emblem were used for a much longer time period, with examples seen from 1927 to 1935, and are, therefore, more common.  The painted GMC radiator emblem shown below is scarce.

This is a GMC radiator emblem (1927-1935)    mjs
Size: 70mm diameter   MM: None

The following black painted GMC radiator emblem is a color variation, which was originally chrome plated. This GMC radiator emblem is rare.

This is a GMC radiator emblem (dates uncertain)   kmc
Size: 70mm diameter   MM: Unknown

The following red, blue and white painted GMC radiator emblem appears to be genuine and, if so, is rare.

This is a GMC radiator emblem (dates uncertain)   mjs
Size: 70mm diameter   MM: Unknown

The following is a Canadian GMC T-Series light truck radiator emblem depicting a Pontiac warrior's head, perhaps reflecting the use of Pontiac engines in these trucks. This Canadian GMC radiator emblem is scarce.

This is a Canadian GMC radiator emblem (1928-1933)  mjs
Size: 70mm diameter   MM: None

These Canadian GMC radiator emblems usually have a painted finish, see the yellow, black and white painted GMC radiator emblem example shown below. This Canadian GMC radiator emblem is scarce.

This is a Canadian GMC radiator emblem (1928-1933)  mjs
Size: 70mm diameter   MM: Unknown

The following blue and white painted variation of the Canadian GMC radiator emblem may be a reproduction. However, if it is original, this Canadian GMC radiator emblem would be rare.

This is a Canadian GMC radiator emblem (dates uncertain)  kmc
Size: 70mm diameter   MM: Unknown

The GMC T-Series trucks also displayed the "General Motors Truck" name on black painted hood side nameplates, which varied in detailed design over the years, see early example shown below:

GMC T-Series truck with hood side nameplate (1929) classiccars

Close-up showing hood side nameplate (1929)

There was a change in the radiator emblem for some light duty GMC trucks using a v-shaped radiator grille from 1934 to 1935. This is the bent oval shaped, orange, blue and white enamel GMC radiator emblem shown below. This GMC radiator emblem is rare.

This is a GMC radiator emblem (1934-1935)    mjs
Size: 62mm wide 43mm high    MM: None

This GMC radiator emblem is also found with a yellow enamel border, see example shown belowThis GMC radiator emblem is rare.

This is a GMC radiator emblem (1934-1935)   kmc
Size: 62mm wide 43mm high     MM: Unknown

GMC light trucks became more streamlined in 1936 with a new style of radiator and radiator grille emblem , see painted pressed metal example shown below:

GMC radiator grille & emblem (1936-1937) 
oldchevytrucks

The design of the hood side nameplates was also changed, see example shown below:

General Motors Truck hood side nameplate (1937)  eBay

The following is the painted pressed metal GMC truck grille emblem for 1938:

This is a GMC truck grille emblem (1938)  randysbombshop

The GMC truck hood side nameplate was changed again for 1938 but then remained unchanged until 1948, see example shown below:

This is a GMC hood side nameplate (1938-1947)  pinterest
Size: 760mm wide 70mm high

The GMC truck grille emblem was also changed for 1939 and 1940, see example shown below. This GMC grille emblem was continued for some heavy duty models from 1941 to 1949.

This is a GMC grille emblem (1939-1940)  classiccars 

The following is the GMC truck grille emblem used for other trucks from 1941 to 1947:

This is a GMC grille & emblem (1941-1947)    jill reger

This is a GMC grille emblem (1941-1947)   eBay

The following is a GMC grille emblem used from 1948 to 1954. This GMC grille emblem was originally chrome plated.

This is a GMC radiator grille emblem (1948-1954)   mjs
Size: 395mm wide 80mm high   

I am most grateful to Dennis Neilsen for his helpful advice regarding the dates of use of GMC truck emblems. Any error in my interpretation of this advice is entirely down to me.







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