Presto, Here-We-Go! Animated Evolution of GMC from 1902 Rapid Truck to 2015 Sierra Denali HD + Brand Origin Explained

GMC really has some deep truck roots!

Even while Chevrolet hoovers up most of the sales volume these days — and has for many years — the GMC legacy actually predates Chevrolet.

Something that has never changed in the 102 years of this evolution span is the need by Americans for heavy-lifting trucks. The GMC line added two-ton weights, panel cabs and chassis cabs in 1915, and has never looked back.

But what did GMC really “stand” for when added to the General Motors portfolio as GMTC, selling Rapid and Reliance trucks from around 1909? Two clues are right there in the truck’s nameplates: rapid, and reliable.

These became core values, but it took nearly another decade five decades for GMC itself to be christened as a brand, versus just a division of General Motors.

“Brands” as we know them today were largely invented by William C. Durant. Until his ideas about diversified marketing and sales, single marques generally sold just one product under than badge or symbol.

Coca-Cola, for example, was by far the best-known national brand since the 1890s, but even it only sold various sizes of just the one product. Whereas now, Coca-Cola distributes everything from Sprite to Dasani in those big … (often) GMC trucks!

The brand also came to stand for something that was comfortable enough to basically live inside — on your 50 or 80-hour work week.

For a delivery driver or contractor of the time, this often meant nights away from home.

1931 GMC Sleeper Cab Truck

Stay tuned for the next article — touching on much more of GMC’s heavy truck history.



The previous utility trucks were so hot, noisy and difficult to drive by comparison that GMC earned itself the Professional Grade tag very truthfully. Only recently has this been a double threat to other truck brands, both appealing at the lower and cheaper sides of the range with good standard equipment — but also at the upper, upper reaches of the price ranges.

A ‘Denali or not to Denali’ article is coming up in a few days, but I love evolutions and I love to animate. Presto, here-we-go!


See all the Sierra HD Denali photos toward the bottom, plus interiors and a few other animations just for fun. Please enjoy this fast blast through time with GMC.


2014 GMC Sierra versus previous-gen truck

2014 GMC Sierra — Animated Spinners

2014 GMC Sierra — Photo Gallery



2014 GMC Sierra HD

Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.

He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.

Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)

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