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New Sierra marks 111 years of GMC pickup heritage

New Sierra marks 111 years of GMC pickup heritage

The all-new 2014 GMC Sierra fullsize pickup will be the latest in a bloodline that stretches back over a century. The first truck to wear a GMC badge debuted in 1912, while a predecessor from the Max Grabowsky’s Rapid Motor Vehicle Co. was the first commercial truck operated in the City of Detroit 10 years earlier.

Here’s a list of highlights by decade:

• 1900s: The first Rapid truck – little more than a seat, an engine cover and a frame – was delivered in 1902.

• 1910s: The GMC name takes its place on a truck grille for the first time in 1912 and the mix of trucks offered had either upright front ends or curved “French” fronts.

• 1920s: 1927 was a milestone for design features with more stylized fenders, headlights attached to the radiator, and the first chrome-plated radiator surround.

• 1930s: Streamlining in the ‘30s added sloped grilles, more paint color options and passenger cabs inspired by car design trends, which helped expand the truck market.

• 1940s: Following the war, GMCs of the late ‘40s featured fully integrated headlights for the first time, as well as wider, lower, and bolder grilles.

• 1950s: Cars again influenced truck design in the ‘50s, resulting in more safety, comfort and performance. 1955 highlights were hooded headlights and panoramic glass.

• 1960s: The first GMC pickup with a full-width hood debuted in 1960. Other design cues included “jet pod” grilles at the front and a pinched-waist body crease on each side.

• 1970s: Padded materials replaced many metal interior surfaces in the ‘70s. Heavy duty models offered a dual rear axle for the first time and the Crew Cab debuted.

• 1980s: In 1987, the Sierra name became standard for all full-size pickups with the introduction of a new, more aerodynamic generation of GMC trucks.

• 1990s: The ‘90s brought the first rear-hinged three-door Extended Cab model. In 1999, new generation of truck introduced the first use of frame hydroforming.

• 2000s: The new millennium brought the “D” decade: The first Duramax diesel engine for Sierra HD added capability and the first Denali pickup set a luxury standard for trucks.

• 2012: The new 2014 Sierra debuts on December 13.