GMC is an up close view of the front grillwork found on a 1940’s era GMC pick up truck. I found this old truck slowly rusting away in the backyard of a shopping center in Taos, New Mexico. How many cold and vicious New Mexico winters this classic grillwork and hood have endured is unknown.
I can safely assume that this forgotten legend of the past hails from either 1940-1941 or 1947-1948. Made of sheet metal, this grill became popular starting with the 1940 models. However, on Jan 1st of 1942 the federal government issued a proclamation suspending all commercial and civilian trucks. The GM and Chevrolet plants switched over to producing the famous 2½ ton and amphibious military vehicles for WWII.
While production of trucks did resume in early 1946 after the war, a lack of raw materials including chrome caused a brief change in design. By 1947, those materials finally became available and the GM plants reverted to pre-war designs like you see here.
However, 1948 models featured several upgrades, including improved heating for defrosting windows and more comfortable cabs and seats. However, in 1948 models the script design GMC logo on the front grill changed to a block one. Also, the parking lights moved to top of the headlamps. This particular truck did feature a set of parking lights mounted in this way.
The one anomaly that has given my research trouble though, is the vents on the side of the hood. GMC trucks from this time period featured a plate with “General Motors Truck” on the sides. This truck does not have that feature. Instead it has the same engine cowling vents found on most Chevrolet trucks from those same years. But this is obviously not a Chevrolet.
So, what makes this truck unique? Well, it’s a flatbed pickup truck from the 1940’s. It has the sheet metal grillwork and venting of a Chevrolet but the logo of a GMC. It also has the parking lights of a 1948 model but the logo of the 1940-1947 ones. While GMC and Chevrolet trucks featured the same parts and were interchangeable. The mystery continues.
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MEYER, DONALD E. “THE FIRST CENTURY OF GMC TRUCK HISTORY.” 100_YR_GMC_HISTORY_MAR09.pdf. WWW.gmheritagecenter.com, 09 Mar. 2009. Web. 17 Sept. 2014. <https://www.gmheritagecenter.com/docs/gm-heritage-archive/historical-brochures/GMC/100_YR_GMC_HISTORY_MAR09.pdf>.