Rapid Motor Vehicle Company

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Rapid Motor Vehicle Company
Automobile Manufacturing
FateAcquired by General Motors and was predecessor to GMC Truck
FounderMax and Morris Grabowsky
Area served
United States
Automotive parts

The Rapid Motor Vehicle Company was founded in 1902 in Pontiac, Michigan, by brothers Max Grabowsky and Morris Grabowsky. They went on to build one-ton trucks and were the beginning of GMC Truck division after they were acquired by General Motors in 1909.[1]


In 1905, Albert North and Harry Hamilton from the Pontiac Spring & Wagon Works (PS&WW) built the first Pontiac automobile and also acquired control of the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company from the Grabowsky brothers. Both became key forces in the operations of the company.[1] Under their direction, the establishment produced many different styles of passenger cars for commercial purposes. This included 12 passenger Rapid Pullman Passenger Cars, 12 passenger Sight Seeing Cars, 12 passenger Hotel Bus and other vehicles to suit special requirements.[2]

In 1905 Rapid built a new assembly plant at 25 Rapid Street abutting the Grand Trunk Western Railroad tracks on the south side of Pontiac, Michigan.[3] The Rapid Street Plant 1 was the nucleus of what would become the Pontiac West Assembly complex.

Rapid built a 10-passenger carry-all by 1906 which was priced at US$2,200(in current inflation $ 61347). Every car was guaranteed for one year. The company also built a model that carried 13 passengers as well as a "full line" of passenger cars and trucks. The company advertised in a national trade magazine and noted; "Here is a car that is needed at every club, hotel or country place."[4]

Rapid was the "first truck to conquer Pikes Peak" in a 1909 road race.[1]

General Motors Era[edit]

General Motors Company was founded by William C. Durant in 1908. Durant began acquiring the stock of Rapid Motor Vehicle Company in 1908 and in 1909 had a controlling interest. Rapid Motor Vehicle Company became a subsidiary of General Motors in 1909. In 1911 the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company ceased to exist when General Motors Truck Company was created and all of General Motors truck subsidiaries were absorbed in to the new business unit. In 1912 the Rapid brand name was discontinued in favor of GMC.[5]


Rapid Motor Vehicle Company of Pontiac, Michigan - 1906
19 passenger Pullman vehicle.


  1. ^ a b c "Rapid Motor Vehicle Company". Scripophily, 2011.
  2. ^ "American Automobiles - Rapid". Farber and Associates, LLC - 2011. Retrieved August 27, 2011.
  3. ^ "Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Pontiac, Oakland County, Michigan". Library of Congress. Sanborn Map Company. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  4. ^ Rapid Motor Vehicle Company. Modern Motor Cars, March 1906, pg.113. 1905. Retrieved August 27, 2011.
  5. ^ "The First Century of GMC Truck History" (PDF). GM Heritage Center. Donald Meyer. Retrieved 17 September 2018.

Coordinates: 42°37′34″N 83°17′15″W / 42.626026°N 83.287559°W / 42.626026; -83.287559