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GMC Brigadier

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(1977-1987)

 

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GMC 9500 Conventional Brochure

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GMC 9500 Brigadier

(Please click the images for a larger image)

The basic Brigadier story is a long and comlicated one. The Brig first started life in 1966, when the huge H model Conventional turned into  the H 9500 and the J 9500. These were GMC's main heavy-duty conventionals, before the General came out.. They were available with and without butterfly hood access panels. H models had longer hoods than Js, and so a longer BBC than the Js.

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An early 1977 Brigadier

The Brigadier was introduced at about the same time as the General, which was about 1977. The Brig was basically an all-new hood on the J-9500 conventional. However, the H-9500 was replaced by the General as GMC's long conventional tractor. This meant you could get either a Brigadier, with a fiberglass tilt hood, or a 9500, with a butterfly hood in the old design, for fire service, cement mixer, etc. The 9500s were now commonly called the 9500 Brigadiers to differentiate them from past  9500s, and were replaced entirely by the General after a couple of years

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Brigadier Interior

The Brig's interior was very big, and roomy. Depending on trim levels, the Brig interior could be very basic and spartan, or very nice and luxurious, in a way. It provided a very good view, and all gauges and controls were easy to see and reach.

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1984 Brigadier with sloped hood and air foiler

In the early 1980s, the 9500 model was dropped. Instead, 2 Brigadier models were marketed: Brigadier 9500, and the lighter version, the Brigadier 8000. The differences between the two were power train, and GCWs (gross carrying weight). The only way you could tell the difference between them was to look in the interior. If there was a big plastic hump in the interior, it was a 9500. Also, the Sloped Hood option for 9500s was inroduced. You could get a butterfly option for this hood, but you could now get a butterfly hood on regular hood models, as a special equipment option.

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1987 Brigadier with sloped hood and Rudkin-Wiley airshield

The Brigadier basically carried on through the rest of it's life the same. No really new changes were made to either series during it's last years, but an optional airfoiler from an outside company, Rudkin-Wiley, was optional in 1987. So when GMC sold off it's heavy-duty truck operations to Volvo, this was the end of the GMC Brigadier

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1989 WhiteGMC Brigadier

However, it was the beginning of the WhiteGMC Brigadier!

The Brig was the only GMC heavy duty design carried over to White GMC-the rest were Volvo design. You could tell them apart in a few ways-first, there was a one piece windshield. Compare this one to the GMC above it. The next thing is the badging. instead of the star in the red box on the side with Brigadier script, the star's box was painted blue. Also, a WhiteGMC rectangle with a blue background was on the front. I'm pretty sure that only the sloped hood was available from WhiteGMC.However, I'm not sure how long it was made, and if there were many changes made to it. If you have any info, please email me by clicking here.

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Like the other GMC heavy dutys, Brigs are still living on, being the most popular heavy duty then, and is still in abundance everywhere. The Ryder Car Carriers around Detroit are often the WhiteGMC version, YELLOW truck lines still uses a lot of them with sloped hoods, and I see a lot in the construction industry by my house. This shows that GMC had done a great job of designing them-they penned the basic truck in 1965.

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In a sense, the Brigadier is still alive today.  GM of Argentina sells a class 7-8 truck called the Super Brigadier.  In essence, it is a WhiteGMC Autocar truck with Chevy bowties on it.  It does, however, retain the same script and start nameplates that GMC Brigadiers used, with the addition of a Super to it.

Up Other Brigadier Pictures

 

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(c) 2000 Evan McCausland