GMC Syclone (1991): chronicles of the first pick-up sports ever produced

When we think of a pick-up we think of a rickety Ford F-150, loaded with bales of straw, walking slowly between fields of the middle west of the united States. However, high end machines as the F-150 Lightning or the deifying Dodge Ram SRT10 come to break this conception by burning wheel and gasoline faster than many pure-blood. This curious niche of the market would not have existed were it not for the GMC Syclone. This is the history of the curious and elusive first pick-up sports.

This is the history of the GMC Syclone

Ford launched its F-150 Lightning to the market in 1993, presumably as a response to the GMC Syclone and the Chevrolet 454 SS.

The 80’s were ending, and while it sounded like the magic’s “Here I Go Again” from Whitesnake on the radio half the world, Buick was launching its stunning GNX. The Buick that broke completely the concept of a muscle car, equipped with a powerful V6 turbo up to almost 300 HP and superior performance to the best of Italy. If you want to know its history, I recommend that you read this article, to put you in context. When its production ceased – only produced one year – the engineers of Buick wanted more.


it Is said that the higher echelons of General Motors they were afraid that a new Buick more sporty and prestacional that never canibalizase the sales of sports car of Chevrolet, the Corvette and Camaro. Buick wanted to show the world that still breathed high-octane gasoline and turbocharging. Created a pick-up sports based on the Chevrolet S10, which set up the V6 3.8-liter Buick GNX. The high levels of GM does not approve of her production, the crash in part with the 454 SS, equipped with a V8 7.4 litre.

Thanks to its all-wheel drive system permanent, the GMC Syclone accelerated up to 96 km/h in just 5,3 seconds.

The Chevy 454 SS was a pick-up of rear-wheel-drive-oriented drag racing, a fan of the concept of “kill flies greatest hits”. However, General Motors decided it was a good idea to launch a pick-up sport with a turbo engine experimental. The engineers of Buick had jobs and General Motors is an experiment in progress, with your brand and GMC as the protagonist. A brand that up until now had only produced commercial vehicles, and that at no time was associated with pick-ups sports high-performance.

gmc-syclone-1991-1The turbo engine from the Buick GNX did not come easily in the engine bay of the GMC Sonoma – the twin sister of the Chevy S10 that the Syclone would be produced – so the engineers decided to use a version turboalimentada the V6 of 4.3 liters for GMC and Chevrolet. The humble Vortec was supercharged by a turbocharger, Mitsubishi TD06-17C, and graced with a huge intercooler, Garrett, as well as the admission of the Chevrolet Corvette of the time. Of course, both block and cylinder head were strengthened.

Was sold only in black color and equipped with a gearbox Hydramatic four relationships.

The power went from the lowly 160 HP of the GMC Sonoma production to a whopping 280 HP at only 4400 rpm and 490 Nm of maximum torque at 3,600 rpm. As was the vox populi of the time, these figures were very conservative, being the actual power higher than 300 HP. The power was passed on to the four wheels of the car through a system of all-wheel drive permanent, signed by Borg-Warner. This system used a viscous coupling center to spend up to 35% of the power to the front axle, always giving priority to the later.

gmc-syclone-1991-10it was Only offered in strict black color, and there were only 2.998 units between 1991 and 1992. Only 3 units were produced in 1992, when General Motors gave the order to cancel its production. Their price was about $ 25,000 – varied between states – which today would be equivalent to something less than $ 45,000. A real bargain that in his day, was you to you with supercars. Memorable was the comparison of Car & Driver with a Ferrari 348ts, who humbled himself unceremoniously in a straight line.

10 units convertible red were commissioned by Marlboro, which deliver them to the winners of the Marlboro Racing ‘92 Contest

GMC Syclone had an aesthetic peculiar. Their wheels of 16 inches were attached to a sport-tuned suspension and a body devoid of the shades chrome, black as jet. Its interior was spartan in comparison to the passenger cars of the time, but it was luxurious and sporty in comparison to a S-10 basic. Your instrumentation – from a Pontiac Sunbird Coupe – and the word “Syclone” embroidered in the headrests were the only interior details that warned of the cyclone that took place when you step on the throttle.

gmc-syclone-1991-13Its low production has gained today a status as mythic and a price that today – 25 years later -is not less than $ 25,000 for units in good condition. Although your production just extend for a year, the next year – between 1992 and 1993 – GMC also produced the Typhoon, a version SUV of the Syclone, which I’ll talk about at another time. For the moment let us recall this unknown hero, which humbled many Ferrari, Porsche and Corvette with their arrogant attitude and aesthetics sleeper.

Source: Hemmings | Car & Driver