General Motors was founded by William C. Durant on September 16, 1908, as a holding company for Buick. In 1909, GM purchased the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company of Pontiac, Michigan, forming the basis of the General Motors Truck Company, from which the "GMC Truck" brand name was derived. (Rapid was established on December 22, 1901, by Max Grabowsky. The company developed some of the earliest commercial trucks ever designed, and utilized one-cylinder engines.) The Reliance Motor Car Company (another independent manufacturer) was also purchased that same year by GM. Rapid and Reliance were merged in 1911, and in 1912 the marque "GMC Truck" first appeared on vehicles exhibited at the New York International Auto Show. Some 22,000 trucks were produced that year, though GMC's contribution to that total was a mere 372 units. GMC had some currency within GM referring to the corporate parent in general. Later "GMC" would become distinct as a division brand within the corporation, branding trucks and coaches; in contrast, the abbreviation for the overall corporation eventually ended up as "GM". GMC maintained three manufacturing locations in Pontiac, Michigan
Starting in 1920, GMC and Chevrolet trucks are virtually identical except for the grilles and nameplates, though their differences have varied over the years. From 1955 through 1959 small (less than 2 ton) GMC trucks with gasoline V8s were equipped with Pontiac, Buick, and Oldsmobile V8s (the Canadian trucks used Chevrolet engines). GMC had its own line of inline 6 cylinder engines, known as "Jimmy's" from 1939-1959, and their own V6 from 1960-1974 (also a V8, V12). Chevrolet trucks were marketed towards private ownership, while GMC was focused towards commercial uses.n, Oakland, California, and Saint Louis, Missouri.