15 Surprising Facts About GMC You Probably Didn't Know

Written by Jim Belt in Trucks

While GMC may not be as well-known as its sister brand Chevrolet, this truck-focused division of General Motors has a long and storied history filled with many intriguing facts. Here are 15 surprising things about GMC you likely didn't know:

1. Bulldog Mascot is Pedigreed

GMC's iconic "Bulldog" mascot logo featuring a muscular bulldog face dates back to 1912 representing the brand's "professional grade" toughness.

2. The Mythical "Syclone" Pickup

One of GMC's most legendary and obscure models ever built was the Syclone high-performance sport truck in the early 1990s with a 280hp turbo V6.

3. First to Offer Cylinder Deactivation

Patented by GM, GMC was the first truck maker to offer cylinder deactivation technology that shuts off some engine cylinders under light loads.

4. Future Tesla Fighter is Coming

GMC announced plans to introduce an all-electric pickup to take on Cybertruck, Rivian and other EV trucks likely by 2025 built on GM's Ultium battery platform.

5. Loaded With Heated & Cooled Everything

Modern top GMC trucks like the Sierra Denali come equipped with heated and cooled capabilities for the seats, steering wheel, and even the truck bed itself.

6. The Pontiac-Based Denali Origins

The very first GMC Denali trim level for luxury amenities actually debuted in 1998 based on the Pontiac Grand Prix before later expanding to trucks.

7. Led the Professional Grade Branding

GMC was the first brand under GM to coin the term "Professional Grade" as a marketing tagline to highlight its trucks' durability starting in the late 1990s.

8. Produced the "Toro" for Subaru

From 1972-1989, GMC actually contracted to produce the BRAT/Toro light truck sold in America by Subaru based on GM's own compact Chevy LUV truck design.

9. The Granite Name's Rocky Origins

The unique "Granite" trim level name first used on HD Sierra pickups in the early 2000s was inspired by the tough quarried stone.

10. A Motorhome Called "Aristocrat"

For many years starting in the 1970s, GMC offered deluxe Class A motorhomes branded as the "GMC Aristocrat" featuring plush living quarters.

11. First Brand with a Unibody Pickup

In 1963, GMC became the first manufacturer to introduce a unibody pickup truck with its unique Studebaker-based model aimed at the light-duty market.

12. Military Origins of the Jimmy

The origins of the iconic GMC Jimmy SUV can be traced back to the M-38 Jeep military vehicle GMC produced for the U.S. Army during World War II.

13. One of the First to Use a V8 Engine

GMC was one of the first vehicle manufacturers to offer vehicles with a V8 engine, introducing its innovative Buick-sourced 288 cubic inch V8 in 1916.

14. It Started as A Commercial Truck Company

When founded, the Grabowsky Motor Vehicle Company (later GMC) focused solely on producing commercial trucks and chassis, not passenger vehicles. Its first product was a basic flatbed truck model.

15. The Initials Don't Mean What You Think

Contrary to popular belief, GMC does not actually stand for "General Motors Company". The brand originated in 1912 as the Grabowsky Motor Vehicle Company before being acquired by GM in 1909.

From its humble commercial truck origins to pioneering innovations like V8s and unibodies to future electric ambitions, GMC has a rich history filled with unexpected facts that make this brand a hidden gem of the automotive world.