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Chevrolet GMC HC Series (1949-1958)

Chevrolet GMC HC Series Origin

Chevrolet picked up the pace and went ahead of Ford, Dodge, and Studebaker by introducing its Advanced Design series of pickup trucks in 1947. This new line came with drastic design changes from prewar models as the new trucks provided more cab space, a sleeker body style, and the ability to carry heavier loads.

The GMC HC-Series is a medium/heavy-duty variant of the Chevrolet Advance Design truck. The truck was primarily used as a big rig, but smaller models were also manufactured and made publicly available. When compared to its lighter equivalents, the truck’s hood and bumpers were smaller. The HC in the name means Heavy-duty Conventional, and the vehicle was manufactured from 1949 to 1958 before the GM HF series succeeded it.

Chevrolet GMC HC Series Overview

This truck had air brakes as a standard feature, and the vehicle weight, which is dependent on the version of the big rig, could be 27,000 lbs. (12,000 kg) or 55,000 lbs. (25,000 kg).  A cab-over-engine model based on the HC-Series was also manufactured under the HF-Series name. However, it was popularly dubbed by Cannonball after featuring it in a television show until it was replaced by the GMC F/D “Crackerbox” truck.

The 1953 model was powered by the thrift-master 216.5 cubic-inch in-line overhead valve engine. It had a bore and stroke measurement of 3.5 inches by 3.75 inches and a 6.6:1 compression ratio. At 3,400 rpm, it produced 84 net horsepower and had a maximum torque rating of 170 pound-feet between 1,000 and 2,000 rpm.

The ladder-type frame of the pickup truck featured channeled side rails and five cross members. A single-disc clutch was used in its three- or four-speed manual transmission system, and it had an I-beam front axle and a semi-floating rear axle with a 4.11:1 rear axle hypoid gear ratio. Also, hydraulic expanding-drum brakes were used.

The wheelbase of the vehicle was 116 inches. It measured 191.25 inches in length and 74.5 inches in width. It was equipped with 6-by-16-inch tires. The front tread had a width of 56.75 inches, while the rear tread came with a width of 61 inches.

Chevrolet’s 216.5-inch in-line six-cylinder engine was replaced in 1954 by the 235.5-cubic-inch straight-six. The new engine had a 7.5:1 compression ratio, a 3 9/16th-inch cylinder bore, and a 3 15/16th-inch stroke. A single-barrel Rochester carburetor supplied fuel to the engine. The new engine produced 112 horsepower and 200 foot-pounds of torque, outperforming the 1953 models in hauling. There were three transmission options: a three- or four-speed manual transmission or the Hydra-Matic automatic system.

Following the truck’s success in the United States, the very same “Advanced-Design” styling was applied on other vehicles manufactured abroad by General Motors’ branches such as Opel and Vauxhall. For instance, the restyled 1952 Opel Blitz looked similar, while Bedford Vehicles even went as far as importing a Chevrolet Advance Design truck to examine its design for their Bedford A-Type truck.

During the retro-craze throwback of the 2000s, the vehicle styling was used for the Chevrolet SSR and, afterward, the Chevrolet HHR crossover SUV. It was produced until 2012, effectively bringing an end to the legacy of the Chevrolet Advance Design trucks.

Chevrolet GMC HC Series Production

Though there’s not an exact figure to represent how many GMC HC-series were built because some divisions failed to report their production data, it is believed that almost 200,000 units were produced in its 9-year period of production.

Chevrolet GMC HC Series Price

This vehicle came at a starting price of $1087 when it was first produced. Today, it could go from as low as $15,000 to $80,000.

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