GMC Sierra HistoryGMC began using the name Sierra to designate upscale pickup truck trim levels in the 1970s, and in 1989 the name was given to all of the automaker's full size trucks.
GMC was the first automaker to tag its trucks with designations that are common today: 1500, 2500 and 3500, all terms that reflected hauling capabilities in pounds. Since that move in 1967, other manufacturers have joined in, naming their trucks in the same or similar ways -- Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 are two examples. Pickup truck owners have become accustomed to the naming system, and know that higher model designations reflect heavier duty pickups.
Use the designations for all brands of trucks as a general indicator of a capabilities, but keep in mind that true specs for today's full size trucks may exceed the numbers indicated by a name. For instance, a 2013 GMC Sierra 1500's payload capacity ranges from 1,550 - 1,940 pounds, depending on the truck's configuration.
Vintage General Motors TrucksPictures of Vintage GMC Trucks
GMC Truck History: 100 Years of Trucks
Classic Chevy Trucks: 1918 - 1959
Chevy Trucks: 1961 - Today