1991 GMC Syclone - SOLD
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  • Overview & History
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Note that we also have a 1993 GMC Typhoon available and the two trucks are available as a set—call for details!

By the early ‘90s, automakers had finally mastered electronic fuel injection and horsepower was back in a big, big way. Mustangs, Corvettes, Camaros, they all ruled the streets back then, as cheap horsepower turned the ‘90s into the second golden age of the muscle car. And then GM decided to create something nobody had ever seen before: the high-performance truck. Today, it’s no big deal to see Viper-powered Rams and supercharged Range Rovers, but in 1991 when the GMC Syclone hit the streets, it was total cognitive dissonance. GM’s fastest vehicle was an unassuming S10 pickup. Add in all-wheel-drive, a sticky suspension, and a driver-oriented interior, and it was the template for today’s performance trucks that still remains a thrill to drive.

With just 24,772 original miles, this black Syclone is probably the best you’ll find anywhere. It remains entirely original except for maintenance items and has never seen weather more adverse than a garden hose. Black was your only choice in 1991, the first and only year for the Syclone, but what else would be as appropriate? This sucker is nasty! It wears all its original paint and bodywork, including the aggressive plastic body kit that makes it longer and lower than a standard S10. The finish is better than expected for a ‘90s GM product, with a nice shine and none of the peeling that seems to plague other vehicles—black seems to be considerably more durable. The satin black body kit offers a cool contrast that emphasizes the hunky little pickup’s performance aspirations, and obviously someone has kept this as a toy rather than a daily driver all its life. Panel gaps are good, if not great, which is how GM was doing business in the ‘90s, and even the original Syclone decals are in place on the doors and tailgate. Fog lights were part of the package and every single part of the truck’s exterior that wasn’t a light was painted sinister black. The rear roll pan was also standard equipment (there is no rear bumper) and since GM wouldn’t let you tow a trailer with it, it was irrelevant anyway. A snug-fitting tonneau cover is the lone deviation from stock spec, but it turns the bed (with a measly 550 pound weight limit) into the world’s biggest trunk. I think you’ll find that acceptable.

Black cloth buckets with red piping and “Syclone” embroidery were also part of the package, making it a true 2-seater in the strictest sense. But seeing a pickup with buckets and a console back in 1991 was pretty cool and the chairs are supportive enough to be the right choice for a truck with this much performance. The interior remains in exemplary condition that’s commensurate with its low mileage, and it has clearly been stored out of the sunlight because there’s no fading or cracking on any of the interior plastics. GM gave you a full gauge package, including a tachometer with a built-in boost gauge to monitor the turbocharged V6 and it’s fun to watch it bounce up and down in time with your right foot. They also made everything standard, including A/C (blows cold), power windows, locks, and mirrors, cruise control, fog lights, and a tilt steering column. The original Delco AM/FM/cassette stereo is still in the center stack and it sounds decent, even today. As you can see in the photos, it’s all beautifully preserved and shows very little evidence of use, making this a truck that you will be pleased to show.

Showing is fine, but the driving is where this little GMC really rocks. GMC wanted to showcase some of their technical know-how and move a bit upscale with the Syclone, so they took the familiar 4.3 liter V6 and pressurized it with a big, honkin’ turbo. The 4.3 was a tough truck engine, little more than a 350 Chevy small block V8 with two cylinders lopped off, but it was never known for performance. Well, with a big Mitsubishi TD06-17C turbocharger, Garrett water-to-air intercooler, special pistons, rods, reinforced main caps, upgraded head gaskets, a bigger fuel system, a custom intake manifold with throttle bodies from the 5.7 liter Corvette engine, and obviously special exhaust manifolds, it’s pretty far removed from the garden-variety 4.3 lump. The end result is 280 horsepower and 350 pounds of torque, enough to make the featherweight S10 a legitimate threat to the Corvette. In fact, “Car & Driver” magazine raced a GMC Syclone against the then-contemporary Ferrari 348, and perhaps to everyone’s surprise, the Syclone handily ate the Ferrari’s lunch. It’s also GM reliable and these trucks now have a track record of being tough little machines. It can be a little grumpy at start-up, which is typical of early GM turbocharged vehicles (the Buick Grand National and Trans Am Turbo are quite similar in their cold-start antics), but once it’s up and spinning, look out! If you stay out of the throttle, it’s content to trundle around town without seeming like a high-performance machine. Stomp the throttle, however, and the boost gauge comes up (a little slower than we’re accustomed to today, but that’s a BIG turbo) while things start to happen in a hurry. Since this one is unmodified, it remains OEM reliable, but as with the aforementioned Grand National, huge horsepower gains are inexpensive and don’t come at the cost of reliability. This is still a wicked little machine that can be dominant with just a few extra bucks.

A big part of that dominance comes from the Borg-Warner all-wheel-drive transfer case bolted to the back of the quick-shifting 700R4 4-speed automatic transmission. Shifting it yourself is the way to go, since the transmission will shift itself about 800 RPM before redline, so keep your foot planted and kick the gear lever up a notch at about 4300 RPM. If you’re late, the rev limiter kicks in and kills your boost, but if you get it right, all four tires hook up and fling the pickup down the road like it was drop-kicked by God. As the writer from “Car & Driver” put it: “It accelerated so hard I could feel my Egg McMuffin put a dent in the back wall of my stomach.” The suspension has been beefed up to handle the performance as well, with big sway bars and stiffer shocks and springs to hunker it down over the wheels. It’s not a Corvette, but it’s not a pickup anymore, either, and that’s a lot of fun. The undercarriage is a little dirty (it looks like someone drove it in the rain) but there’s no rust or critical damage and this truck has never seen winter weather of any kind and you could spend a weekend wiping it down to make it look almost new again. The CV joint boots are excellent, bushings are not cracking, and it carries what appears to be a stainless steel cat-back exhaust system that gives the V6 a little bit of a snarky sound, even with the turbo keeping it hushed. Even the original spare is still hanging under the bed, never having been used. Factory 16-inch alloys were unique to this truck, and they carry 245/50/16 Firestone radials that are probably only the second set of tires it has ever worn.

You remember these and always thought they were cool. Now is your opportunity to grab one that hasn’t been modified or abused, and relive that awesome time in the ‘90s when horsepower was making a comeback. GM is probably done taking chances like this, which makes the Syclone that much more special. Call today!

Note that we also have a 1993 GMC Typhoon available and the two trucks are available as a set—call for details!

Vehicle: 1991 GMC Syclone
Price: SOLD
Stock Number: 115094
Mileage: 24,772
VIN: 1GDCT14Z0M8801873
Engine: 4.3 liter turbocharged V6
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 3.42
Wheelbase: 108.3 inches
Wheels: 16-inch aluminum wheels
Tires: 245/50/16 Firestone radial
Exterior Color: Black
Interior Color: Dark Charcoal cloth
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