General Motors Milestones - The First 100 Years

The Automobile Magazine staff
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1937 GM's Allison division developed the first 1000-hp aircraft engine.

1939 Buick added turn signals.

1940 Oldsmobile introduced Hydra-Matic, the viable automatic transmission.

1942-45 After car and truck production ceased, GM manufactured aircraft, tanks, trucks, engines, and weapons worth $12-billion.

1946 Charles Wilson became president with Sloan retaining CEO title.

1947 Buick's Dynaflow was the first automatic transmission to use a torque converter.

1948 Cadillac models incorporated the first tail fins.

1949 Cadillac and Oldsmobile introduced high-compression overhead-valve V-8 engines.

1950 The first Motorama Dream Car exhibition opened in New York.

1951 The first automatic transmissions for trucks were offered by GMC.

1952 Power steering was introduced on Buick Roadmasters.

1953 Air conditioning became available in Buicks, Cadillacs, and Oldsmobiles.

1954 The 50-millionth GM vehicle was a gold Chevrolet Bel Air. Mesa, Arizona, proving grounds opened. The GMC Scenicruiser bus was introduced.

1955 Chevrolet introduced its small-block V-8.

1956 GM became the first corporation to report an annual net profit over $1-billion.

1957 Importation of Opels from Germany and Vauxhalls from England began.

1958 Major management shake-up moved Frederic Donner to chairman and CEO. John Gordon became president.

1959 All GM cars displayed radical styling in response to Chrysler's 1957 Forward Look.

1960 The Corvair compact was introduced by Chevrolet. GMC trucks offered the first US-built V-6 engines.

1961 The last Motorama visited New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The first emission controls were introduced on GM cars.

1962 GM' market share of US cars and light trucks peaked at 51-percent.

1963 The first AM/FM radios arrived on Cadillacs.

1964 Pontiac's GTO option for the Tempest LeMans kicked off the muscle car era.

1965 GM was the first corporation to earn more than $2-billion in one year.

1966 The Oldsmobile Toronado was the first modern American car with front-wheel drive. Pontiac introduced an overhead-cam six.

1967 One of the first safety devices, an energy-absorbing steering column developed by Saginaw Steering, was provided on all GM cars. GM's 100-millionth vehicle was built.

1968 The 50-story GM Building opened in New York City.

1969 Fisher Body introduced one of the first child safety seats called Love Seat.

1970 GM purchased a portion of Isuzu Motors.

1971 All GM cars were engineered to run on unleaded gasoline.

1972 The Chevrolet LUV truck manufactured by Isuzu was GM's first Japanese import.

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