GMC has been in business since 1911 — after General Motors gained Reliance Motor Car Company and Rapid Motor Vehicle Company. GM merged the two automakers to create the new General Motors Truck Company, also known as GMC.
GMC made a name for itself as the years went on, including one special achievement involving the U.S. military. Since World War I, GMC has proudly supported each branch of the armed forces. Here’s how they did it, according to GM Authority.
GMC trucks in World War I
Vehicles were slowly starting to replace horses when World War I occurred. Military.com reports that the Army adopted GMC’s Model 16 truck and used it extensively throughout the war. They dubbed it the 16AA signifying that it’s a class AA military truck.
This GMC truck served mostly as an ambulance unit, but the Army had many purposes for it. It sported a 132-inch wheelbase with 35×5 pneumatic tires. The 30-hp engine allowed it to reach a speed of 25 miles per hour.
Armed forces also utilized the GMC Model 23. This one-ton truck saw lots of use from the Signal Corps who used it for aviation support. Some trucks hauled troops when needed; other Model 23s became support vehicles for artillery operations. GMC built over 8,000 military trucks by the end of World War I.
GMC trucks in World War II
In 1941, GMC won a contract with the U.S. Army to build vehicles that met specific military requirements. As a result, the GMC CCKW 353, also known as the “Jimmy,” was put into action. This truck had four double-wheeled axles and plenty of ground clearance to maneuver uneven terrain.
Powering it up was a six-cylinder engine with 104 hp, which gave it a top road speed of 45 miles per hour. A custom grille-like feature in the front doubled as engine and headlight protection against small artillery fire.
Later on, GMC developed the revolutionary amphibious vehicle later nicknamed “the Duck.” This creation allowed troops carrying supplies from offshore ships to land without needing to switch to another mode of transportation. This boat on wheels could exit a ship and drive straight to land through the water.
This 6×6 wheeled truck had a three-bladed propeller in the rear, which could steer it through water, as well as steerable front wheels to direct it on land. Under the hood of this hulled vehicle was a six-cylinder engine with 94 hp. This enabled the truck to get a top road speed of 50 miles per hour.
Recent years with GMC
For the Persian Gulf War, GMC built many light and heavy-duty pickups for the war effort. They converted some to accommodate the military’s needs to haul troops and cargo on rough terrain. Others, like heavy-duty chassis cabs, were fitted with ambulance-like bodies to aid medics in action.
Nowadays, GMC still supports the military in a different fashion. They continue to show their thanks to those who served in the military in the past and those who are currently active-duty by offering discounts on their vehicles.
While the war effort isn’t something we see much nowadays, it’s good to know that if GMC’s trucks were able to aid the military, they’re more than enough to handle everyday tasks.