Highlight Vehicle for October: 1907 Rapid
The Rapid Truck Company was founded by brothers Morris and Max Grabowsky. They delivered their first commercial truck in 1902 in Detroit, but almost immediately moved to Pontiac where they opened a shop on what is now Rapid Street, just north of South Boulevard along Woodward. They had the right product at the right time, and by 1905 they were the highest volume commercial truck in the world. The press has references to them shipping trucks of all body types to far-flung customers – including Europe!
The PTM is elated to present this unique 1907 Rapid Pullman 12 passenger Sight-Seeing coach which is on indefinite loan to us. We believe this to be one of only 4 Rapids left in the world (you may have seen one of the others at The Henry Ford). We recently had the opportunity to showcase this truck at M1 Concourse – returning to the actual site of its build 112 years later! Commercial trucks of this era were not typically preserved – this particular one has a history of being initially purchased by a sanatorium in New Jersey, and later was a part of the Henry Austin Clark Long Island Automobile Museum collection, eventually being further restored in the sixties.
In 1905, Albert North and Harry Hamilton acquired control of Rapid from the Grabowskys. They later (1909) sold to Billy Durant and Rapid became the foundation of GMC Truck (along with the Reliance and Randolph brands). The Rapid brand was discontinued for 1912 – but it had left an indelible mark on truck history – perhaps best exemplified in being the first truck to climb Pikes Peak – – in 1909!