A Brief History of Trucks

The intriguing history of trucks would be remiss if we left out Ford® and GMC® trucks. These companies have been consumer favorites further back than most of us can remember. Ford trucks began with Henry Ford's first truck model, which he built in 1900. By 1917, Ford introduced the Model T One-Ton truck chassis, the first specifically built for trucks. In 1925, the first factory assembled truck had its debut on the Ford market with a price tag just shy of $300 and featuring a cargo box for storage. Just three years later in 1928, the Ford truck had evolved to the Model A Open Cab pickup truck as well as the AA chassis. From there, the Model B Pickup and Model BB truck chassis evolved in the 1930s. The 1930s also saw the advent of the Ford Flathead V-8.

It was in the late 1940s that the history of Ford trucks had a pickup truck recognizable to models similar today. In 1948, the F-Series was launched as one of Ford Motor Company's post war vehicle line. The F-Series trucks ranged from the F-1 model, which had a half-ton capacity, to the F-8 with a three-ton capacity. In the 1950's, Ford launched the F-100 model which replaced the F-1 on the market, and in 1959 the first factory built F-250 four wheel drive model became a part of the history of Ford trucks.

The 1960s saw the evolution of Twin I-beam front suspensions and an improved ride on Ford trucks. In 1965, the F-Series pickup trucks started using the name Ranger in their marketing, and the F-250 Crew Cab was launched as the first four-door pickup in the history of Ford trucks. This was later replaced by the Super Cab F-Series, which encompasses Ford truck models from F-100 through F-350.

In 1975, the popular Ford F-150 was introduced and sales rose markedly. The F-150 was so popular it was redesigned in 1980 with a refined finished cab and additional driver comforts. 1983 saw the F-series 6.9 liter diesel V-8 launch, while in 1986, the Ford Ranger became a top model, named by Petersen's as the "4 X 4 of the Year." In 1988, the history of Ford trucks was changed with the F-150 having the option of being a 4 x 4 Super Cab.

History Of GMC Trucks

The history of GMC trucks begins in 1901 with Max Grabowsky. Max Grabowsky established a company he called the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company, which designed and developed some of the earliest commercial trucks. These trucks used one-cylinder engines. The company was purchased by General Motors nine years later, and formed the General Motors Truck Company, which later coined the term GMC Truck.

However, the history of GMC trucks also includes another company called the Reliance Motor Car Company. This company was also acquired and merged with the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company holdings in 1911 and it was from this newer larger company that the true GMC Truck emerged. The GMC Truck was first shown at the New York International Auto Show in 1912, with a run of fewer than four hundred units.

In the Second World War, GMC Truck produced 600,000 trucks for the United States Military. GM eventually purchased the controlling interest in another company called Yellow Coach, which manufactured busses in 1925. This acquisition created the renamed GM Truck and Coach Division.

A Brief History of Mack Trucks

In 1890, John M. "Jack" Mack took a job at the Falleson & Berry carriage and wagon firm in Brooklyn. Three years later, Jack and his brother Augustus F. Mack purchased that same company, where they were joined by the third brother, William C. Mack in 1894.

By the 1900s, the Mack brothers had phased out the carriages and put their combined creative focus to wagon construction and manufacture.

The First Mack Truck - Junior

Much of the brother's time was spent manufacturing wagons and repairing vehicles. However, in 1909, they introduced the Mack truck known as the Junior Model. The Junior Model was a lightweight 1-1/2 ton truck with a left hand steer and chain drive. This was closely followed by the Mack Senior truck with right hand steer and chain drive. Because of the success of these vehicles, in 1922 the company name was changed to Mack Trucks, Incorporated.

The reason for changing the name was multifold. However, the most important reason for the change was so the corporate name identified more closely with the company's product. In 1922, the Bulldog was also selected as the corporate symbol. The most famous Mack model throughout the years has remained the AC model.

Also in the early 1900s, the Mack brothers were involved in producing Fire Apparatus. This production included many cities, expanding the reach of the Mack Truck market. Included in this group were Allentown, Pennsylvania; Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois, and New York, New York. Hundreds of smaller departments around the nation also began using Mack trucks in their cities and towns.

During wartime, Mack Truck became involved with production for the military. In the 1940s, Mack produced trucks to support the needs of the Allied Forces. The late 1940s and early 1950s saw Mack Trucks producing marine engines. Known as "The Mariner," these engines were used in pilot and work boats, as well as in power yachts.

In the 1950s And 1960s, Mack Trucks were designed with clean, timeless styling that made them increasingly popular. By combining aluminum components with powerful engines, the Mack Truck became known as a long distance hauler for West Coast operators, and more than 35,000 Mack L models were on highways during this time.

Additional product advancements included an all aluminum cab for light weight. The ability to haul larger payloads made the Mack truck ever popular for West Coast haulers. The advent of the H series "Cherry Pickers," so named for their high cabs, had short bumper to back of cab dimensions that allowed accommodation of trailers within legal limits for maximum storage and hauling capacity. Advancements in the direct-injection diesel engine created Mack as the standard for leadership in diesel performance and fuel efficiency in the industry. In 1969, Mack introduced and patented the cab air suspension to increase cab durability.

The Maxidyne engine released in 1967 provided a wider range of engine speeds, which could reach more maximum horsepower than any other diesel engine of the day. In 1971, Mack was distinguished as the first heavy-duty diesel engine manufacturer to create its own compression brake system, called the Dynatard, which gave engines top performance.

Mack continues to be North America's largest producer of heavy-duty diesel trucks and components as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Renault Group. Name changes and transitions with acquisitions of companies is something Mack Trucks has in common with the history of GMC trucks. Throughout this period of development, Mack Trucks continues to develop sleek, aerodynamic styling using leading edge technologies. Drivers associate the Mack Truck with power, handling, and comfort, while fleet owners appreciate the low operating costs, serviceability of the trucks, and their overall efficiency.

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