Rapid Motor Vehicle Company

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Rapid Motor Vehicle Company
Automobile Manufacturing
Industry Automotive
Genre Runabouts
Fate Acquired by General Motors and was predecessor to GMC Truck
Founded 1902
Founder Max and Morris Grabowsky
Defunct 1909
Headquarters Pontiac, Michigan, United States
Area served
United States
Products Vehicles
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 Grabowski 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]

Rapid built a 10-passenger carry-all by 1906 which was priced at US$2,200(in current inflation $ 58642). 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."[3]

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

General Motors[edit]

General Motors Company, founded in 1908, was known as one of the largest car manufacturers in the world by 1909 when they acquired Rapid Motor Vehicle Company. The Rapid was considered the predecessor of the GMC Truck and the trade name "GMC Trucks" was first exhibited in 1912 at the New York Auto Show and was registered with the United States Patent Office eight months later.[1]

Company management[edit]

In 1905, president of the company was Albert Marx and secretary was Morris Grabowsky.[1] During 1906, C. N. Henry was sales manager for the firm.[3] By 1908, H. G. Hamilton was treasurer of the company which was located at 507 Rapid Street in Pontiac.[2]


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


  1. ^ a b c d e "Rapid Motor Vehicle Company". Scripophily, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "American Automobiles - Rapid". Farber and Associates, LLC - 2011. Retrieved August 27, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Rapid Motor Vehicle Company. Modern Motor Cars, March 1906, pg.113. Retrieved August 27, 2011. 

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