Thursday, August 1, 2013


During the 1930's GMC trucks went through a major transformation. 1935 and 1936 were pivotal years in GMC's history. These years marked the beginning of a modern approach to truck design. Trucks produces prior this time had more of a boxier style, and were riding on wagon-style spoke wheels. The 1936 GMC ½ ton pickup was at the forefront of this change, and paved the way for all future GMC trucks after; even to today with GMC's release of the 2014 GMC Sierra. (The 2014 GMC Sierra is based on GMC's 2013 1/2 ton large pickup segment, and GMC's newest full-sized pickup.)  

"A renaissance was sparked in 1936 with the manufacturing of GMC's first half-ton truck. Headlamp mountings were removed from the fenders so lamps could flank the grille to create a sleeker effect. Hoods were tapered alligator-style and, importantly, roofs were rounded. Grilles became even more ornate in following years, flaunting classic '30s Art Deco pizzazz."
- source 

1936 GMC 1/2 ton truck

GMC's ½ ton pickup came from the factory with an Oldsmobile 213 C.I. six cylinder engine, a 126 inch wheelbase, a side mounted spare tire, and used new stamped steel artillery wheels. General Motors was coming out of the wire wheel era by 1936. Pressed steel wheels, developed by Joseph Sankey, replaced wire wheels. The new stamped steel wheels were easier to produce, and were less susceptible to side damage on rough terrain or in an accident. 

If you have been in the market for a new truck lately, and done your research, more likely than not, you will still hear the term “half-ton” pickup. The real meaning of "half-ton" pickup, can be deceiving, however. 

A ton is 2000 pounds (907.19 kg), making a half-ton 1000 pounds (453.5 kg). The "half-ton" description doesn't not refer to the weight of the truck; it refers to a truck's payload capacity. But you would be wrong if you think a 1936 GMC ½ ton pickup can carry the same about as a 2014 GMC Sierra (1936 lbs w/ 4WD.) 

Back in 1912, the numbers meant what they said. A 1/2-ton truck's hauling prowess maxed out at a 1/2 ton. This is not true for “half-ton” and “1-ton" trucks today. For example, a "1-ton" Sierra 3500HD can haul up to 7,215 pounds; almost four times then the name suggests. 

So why does GMC still use the “half-ton” and “1-ton” terminology? General Motors Heritage Center Manager Greg Wallace explains, “While payload capacities have grown since, those three names stuck.” Basically, old habits die hard, and GMC has yet to change this small part of the company's history, despite the terms misleading definition.

source - autoblog

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