1991 GMC Syclone Retro Review Reminds Us Of A Good Time: Video10
Today, the truck market is hot. Detroit’s big three pour countless resources into pickups to ensure profits remain high and even convert passenger car owners into truck owners. And with a hot truck market comes a major focus on off-roading, but in 1991, GMC built a street truck.
The 1991 GMC Syclone wasn’t made to veer off the road into the dirt and mud and Motor Week‘s “Retro Review” reminds us just how great the truck was. Boasting a 4.3-liter turbocharged V6 engine, the Syclone made 280 horsepower and a whopping 350 pound-feet of torque. Those were fighting figures in 1991, and by MW testing, the Corvette just barely performed better.
When stomping the throttle, 0-60 mph arrived in 5.4 seconds (Car and Driver saw 4.3 seconds in its instrumented tests) and the quarter-mile came in 15.4 seconds thanks to the four-speed automatic transmission sending power to a full-time four-wheel-drive system.
Truly, the 1991 GMC Syclone seems ahead of its time. Modern truck buyers value performance and style, and the Syclone delivered with a black exterior, low ground effects, large wheels and a well-appointed cabin with contrasting red piping. The gauge cluster, adapted from a Pontiac Sunbird GT, spelled out everything the driver needed, including a boost gauge and voltmeter.
In the test, MW found the truck to be highly composed, but it remained evident the truck was still, well, a pickup truck. It wouldn’t carve corners like sports cars of the day, but the Syclone was more than well poised when tossing it around, which wasn’t a characteristic of truck in the early 1990s. Braking was also good with discs in the front and drums in the rear; all featured ABS.
Perhaps we’ll once again see the return of the sport truck. Automakers find it more difficult to justify sports cars and other performance machines, but trucks are hot.
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Just a question for anyone that may know: Where the Sonoma GTs available with a manual transmission? I’d guess no, but I’d rather not assume. And readers here can be very knowledgeable.
No, they were not. They were all 700r4. All 806 of them.
GM nowadays is too soft and afraid of their own shadow to do something like a Syclone, which is pretty sad to say the least.
This was NOT a Sonoma GT.
No Sonoma back then, just S-10 and S-15.
I never understood why the public didn’t support vehicles like this? The SS 454 comes to mind also. Are people driven by gas mileage and how much it cost to operate the vehicle?
Speaking for myself, I didn’t have the disposable cash back then. Don’t much care for the auto or turbo, though building up a square-body is still on my to-do list. I love that picture angle with the tires filling up the fender flares on a small, taut body. A guy with a newer S10 does decently in autoX up my way. Maybe making enthusiast’s products is closer to farming than batting for home-runs.
Also, at one time on the old SyTy website, there were drag race die-hards that would take a Syclone or Typhoon, race it. And then, they would modify it by swapping the drivetrain for a built SBC, turbo 400, and heavier axle with drag slicks. Lots of those types love turbo-chargers anymore.
I’m a proud original owner of a Syclone..love my truck and there is a big following for Syclones and Typhoons.
The Syclone can return as GM has several turbocharged 4-cylinder engines in production. Use the Colorado body or bring in a new S-10 body that is smaller than the Colorado.
Soccer moms will never let this happen and Mary Barra will make sure they are kept happy with plenty of third row seat child transport vehicles. Luckily we still have FCA to accommodate us with a full line of performance oriented suvs and cars.