July 12, 1916 – A GMC loaded with milk leaves Seattle on first transcontinental trucking delivery

William Warwick had to quickly learn to drive if he desired to be the first to drive a commercial truck across the country. After learning to grind through the gears and figure out the other mechanisms of a 1 1/2 ton GMC truck, he badged himself fit for the job. In Seattle, he loaded up his wife and daughter, and a half ton of evaporated milk, and set course for New York, leaving the west coast on this day in 1916.

The truck, outfit with Goodrich Tires, wasn’t a standard delivery rig, it was a marketing vehicle. GMC and Goodrich, along with Carnation Evaporated Milk, all invested the trek. They had hoped to complete a one way journey in just 30 days, but it ended up taking 70 to reach New York. After a brief stay, the return began. Along the way Warwick would even ascend Pike’s Peak, boosting the publicity for the truck, tires and milk companies.

From Seattle to New York the Warwick family traveled across the northern US. The return trip went south.

Reports show that the last few hundred miles may have been the hardest. Thick mud in Oregon made the roads nearly impassable. Apparently as part of the journey’s contractual conditions, Warwick could not accept assistance from anyone or receive a tow from another vehicle or horse. This made his time in Oregon exceptionally difficult. There, over the course of four days, he managed to gain a single mile. Ultimately, Warwick and his family unstuck themselves and made it back to Seattle. GMC continues to celebrate the 9,500 journey, having completed a 50th anniversary and 100th anniversary trip in its honor.

The best way to support This Day in Automotive History is to become a monthly subscriber on Facebook.

Subscriber benefits include:

  • Most importantly, you’re supporting great content about Automotive History
  • Early access to content on Facebook
  • Discounts on our store
  • Special live videos

If you learned something today, please buy me a beer!

No payment method connected. Contact seller.

Categories

This Day in Automotive History - the book!

This Day In Automotive History

By Brian Corey

This book tells fascinating tales, bringing individual days to life with short stories, photographs and illustrations.

This Day in Automotive History

This Day in Automotive History is a transportation history, car history and general automotive history website dedicated to providing informative and entertaining content.

We encourage you to share our page and connect with us on Facebook or sign up for our automotive history newsletter. If you’d like your car featured, reach out to us!

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER!

Connect with us on Facebook or sign up for our automotive history newsletter to keep in touch.

Love automotive history? Support this site!

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER!

Sign up for our automotive history newsletter to keep in touch.