With styling influenced by the art-deco design movement of the 1930s, the 1937 GMC pickup combined elegance with functionality.
The GMC marque dates to 1912, when General Motors merged two of its recent acquisitions, the Rapid and Reliance truck manufacturers, to form GMC Truck. (In an interesting side note, Rapid had been founded in 1902 by one Max Grabowsky, so the letters also echo "Grabowsky Motor Co.")
Among GMC's accomplishments under General Motors were the first synchromesh transmission in heavy-duty trucks, four-wheel brakes, dual-range transmission, two-speed rear axles, recirculating ballbearing steering, full-pressure lubrication, hydraulic valve lifters, and air suspension.
Generally, GMC built a broader line of trucks than Chevrolet, which leaned toward light- and medium-duty models. GMC did build a nice array of pickups, however, and they tended to cost more and be better equipped than equivalent Chevrolets.
The 1937 GMC pickup was beautifully styled in the art-deco manner and was the first GMC that could truly be called streamlined. The barrel-shaped grille was composed of horizontal bars with a vertical-bar central section, and the grille theme was repeated along the hood sides.
A one-piece windshield and a handsomely dipped front bumper completed the effect. This design remained in production with few changes through 1939.
The 1937 GMC pickup used a 230-cid six-cylinder, with 3.44-inch bore and 4.13-inch stroke. The 1/2-ton chassis weighed 2,195 pounds, and retailed for $410; the body cost extra. Production of both 1/2- and 3/4-ton versions of the 1937 GMC pickup totaled around 43,000, considerably below the number of 1937 pickups built by Chevrolet.
Collectible Pluses of the 1937 GMC Pickup
- Distinctive period styling
- Smooth running and reliable for a prewar truck
- Glamor of GM's prestige truck marque
- Not expensive
Collectible Minuses of the 1937 GMC Pickup
- Hard to find
- Body and engine parts difficult to locate
- Limited appreciation potential
- Much less collector interest than corresponding Chevrolet pickups