A white and brown 1973 Chevy Suburban is shown parked near a school after visiting a used GMC dealer.

A GMC History Lesson

GMC has played a pivotal role in the automotive industry. Throughout its 100+ years on the scene, the automaker has released some of the most influential vehicles that have ever graced the roadways. This brand has shaped the way we travel, introducing vehicles that have added convenience, versatility, and more to our daily drive, as well as our work tasks, adventures, and city commutes. The next time you’re passing by a used GMC dealer, you may want to stop and think about the mark GMC has left on American roadways and beyond.

Today, we’re taking a drive down memory lane, learning about GMC’s rich history. Which of their models was in production the longest? Which is the oldest still in production? I certainly wondered, and you, too, may be mesmerized by the GMC history lesson you’re about to receive…

A tan and brown 1991 Chevy Suburban is shown towing a trailer.

GMC’s Roots

You may not realize this, but GMC initially stood for Grabowsky Motor Company, which was founded by Max Grabowski in the early 20th century. Later changing the name to Rapid Motor Vehicle Company, Grabowsky and industry mogul William C. Durant began a partnership that would put the GMC name on the map. Although the GMC branding was initially seen on a series of trucks, over the years the GMC name would evolve into one of power, style, and innovation. From military trucks to carryall vehicles, dream trucks to SUVs, the GMC arsenal expanded to showcase some of the most inspiring models of all time.

In the 1990s, GMC unveiled one of the most impactful luxury lines in the industry, the alluring Denali, which would catapult GMC to huge success among those searching for a luxury experience behind the wheel. Later on, the rugged AT4 line joined the inventory, offering drivers the chance to explore some of nature’s most daunting backdrops with unbridled ferocity. GMC has been at the helm of the industry for over a century, recognized for its high-end vehicles, jaw-dropping power, and a level of innovation that can’t be replicated. Although all of GMC’s vehicles have been known to impact the everyday American driver, a few stand out from the rest—so, without further adieu, let’s meet two of the most famous vehicles that have had the privilege of wearing the GMC badge of honor.

A green 2015 GMC Savana is shown parked on cement.

Which Discontinued GMC Vehicle Was in Production the Longest?

It may look oddly similar to what you can see on today’s roadways in the form of the GMC Savana and the Chevy Express. These work vans are highly sought-after options by today’s businesses, delivering goods and services to the masses and offering plenty of ways to customize them to suit individual needs on the road. Before these two popular models hit the streets, however, there was one van that paved the way, and that van was the GMC Vandura.

GMC Vandura, 1964-1996 (32 Years)

Durable, capable, and functional, the GMC Vandura was quickly embraced by the masses, serving several duties on the streets. Various configurations allowed it to showcase its versatility, and from ambulances to camper vans, the Vandura wore many hats during its time in the sun. Three generations could be enjoyed during its tenure, with its first and second generations known by many as GMC Handi-Vans. The third generation of the Vandura, however, was by far the most popular and longest-running generation of this particular nameplate, launched in 1971 with the official Vandura name tied to it.

Multiple ways to customize these vans made them very popular with drivers; from half-ton to one-ton models, finding the Vandura for any challenge was effortless. Powered by a number of V6, V8, and diesel engine options, the Vandura was capable of handling tough tasks when needed, making it one of the most versatile vans of its era. In addition to being highly configurable, the Vandura arsenal was also known to be reliable and easy to maintain, which was another reason for its immense popularity, especially among businesses; knowing that their fleet of vans wouldn’t let them down meant everything for businesses, and it’s still a priority to this day.

Perhaps the Vandura’s biggest claim to fame was its presence as the vehicle of choice for The A-Team. This popular TV show ran from 1983-1987 and showcased a Vandura cargo model accentuated by the famous black/gray color combination with the iconic red stripe running down its side. Although the Vandura name is no longer seen in the industry, its legacy lives on in the Savana and Express inventories, which continue to offer drivers the dependability and capabilities they need to travel with confidence.

A 1960 Chevy Suburban is shown parked off-road in a black and white photo.

Which GMC Vehicle Still in Production Has Been Around the Longest?

Making its debut in 1935, this famous GMC model—which can now be found in Chevy’s lineup—isn’t just the longest-running nameplate in GMC history, but it’s the longest-running nameplate in all of auto-dom. Not only that, but it’s the only vehicle to have its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for its tenured presence on the silver screen. We’re talking about the Suburban, and when it comes to making history, this SUV has some serious bragging rights.

Chevrolet Suburban, 1935-Present (88+ Years)

Initially known as the GMC Suburban Carryall, this unique vehicle featured a station wagon body built on a half-ton truck platform. The result was a vehicle powerful and capable enough to haul goods and passengers with ease. A number of years passed before it began to resemble the SUV we’re familiar with currently; throughout this time, the Suburban only continued to captivate drivers. Being able to drive much like a car but haul like a truck opened up a world of possibilities when it came to completing more tasks on the road.

Not only has the Suburban been featured in famous films, including Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Dante’s Peak, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but it has also served as a trusted police and government vehicle. Today, the Suburban is more alive than ever, providing its drivers with some of the most advanced features the industry has to offer. From hands-free driving capabilities to a slew of high-performing V8 and diesel engines, a cavernous interior cabin experience, and a durability that can’t be rivaled, the Suburban is one of the greatest vehicles of all time.

The Suburban can not only haul more people and equipment than many others on the market, but it offers a comfortable ride via its available air suspension, which cushions the bumps of the road. Plus, with over 144 cu.ft. of cargo space available, the Suburban can load up like a pro. It’s been around for so long that virtually any year you see is one of the best in its lineup, and it continues to hold its own, not just in Chevrolet’s inventory but among its rivals as well.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the GMC inventory is that, even though the Vandura name has vanished from the lineup, the premise of this model has not been forgotten. Additionally, the Suburban continues to live on with new models being produced each year, holding its own at the front of the line as the nation’s oldest, most respected vehicle. When it comes to GMC’s history, its legacy runs deep, and the proof lies in all of those vehicles—past and present—that have shaped modern-day travel as we know it.