The GMC Syclone is probably one of the most collectible performance vehicles of the 1990s. From its all-black aesthetic, high-performance turbocharged drivetrain and AWD system, it’s certainly in a class all by itself. Factor in that they were only produced for one model year, with a total output of 3,000 units and you can understand why these trucks are coveted by most gearheads the world over.
Back in the early ’90s, the popularity of pickups and SUVs were on the rise, with an interest in performance trucks becoming a new niche. Chevrolet hit the ground running first with its muscle truck; the 454SS. It was essentially a regular cab, short bed (RCSB) 1500 pickup with a sport tuned suspension and the 454 cubic-inch big-block borrowed from the dually. It was a very decent performer for the time, but it was still lacking any serious performance.
Ford later countered with a 351-powered RCSB F-150, called the Lightning, but it was the GMC Syclone that really set the bar, raised it, then just held the title for the fastest production truck for nearly three decades. Other contenders came close, but even with much higher horsepower outputs of those that followed, the turbocharged 4.3L V6, the light curbweight and AWD combination of the Syclone set it as the one to really beat. The compact GMC was even quicker in the quarter-mile than Ferrari’s halo car at the time; the 348. It wouldn’t be until the 700+ horsepower RAM TRX of 2020 where the Syclone would lose its throne. Hey, it was bound to happen eventually.
Recently, our colleagues over at Hagerty got up close and personal with one example, and it just made the urge for us to find one and build one even more undeniable. Check out the clip. You can learn even more about the GMC Syclone and Typhoon by reviewing our very detailed Retrospective Guide, HERE.
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of AutoCentric Media, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles; GM, Ford, Dodge, imports, trucks — you name it! When he isn’t clacking away on his keyboard, he’s building, tuning, driving or testing his current crop of personal projects!