America has a love affair with the pickup truck. Many of us who own one really don’t have a daily need for them. However, we are a nation founded on the idea that we can handle it ourselves, and pickups are the perfect tool for “getting it done”. Along with that pickup truck love affair, some of us have the need to suck the headlights out of the guy in the next lane when we leave a stop light. That is where the 1991 GMC Syclone came in.
Built by lopping two cylinders off the venerable Small Block 350 and adding lower-compression pistons, purpose-built intake and exhaust manifolds, multi-point fuel injection, a larger Corvette-sourced throttle body, a Mitsubishi turbocharger and a water-to-air intercooler from Garrett, combined with a purpose-built all-wheel drivetrain, the GMC Syclone was the sleeper of the year. With acceleration figures that not only beat the flagship Corvette from zero to 60, but skunked a Ferrari 348 in testing by Car and Driver magazine in September of 1991, the blacked-out Syclone was a factory dragstrip beast dressed in S-15 clothing.
The GMC Syclone was factory rated at 280 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, and could launch from a dead stop to 60 miles per hour in a scant 5.1 seconds to the Ferrari 348’s 6.0, and scoot through the quarter mile in just 14.1 seconds, versus the Italian Stallion’s rather leisurely 14.5 tics. Imagine the look on the Ferrari owner’s face when he gets whipped by something that can carry mulch for your yard and pickets for your fence. That is, so long as you don’t load the Syclone with too much stuff. The trade-off of all that speed is a diminutive 500-pound payload and 2,000-pound towing capacity.
Our featured GMC Syclone has been the recipient of obvious careful ownership, with a like-new appearance and just 19,800 miles on the clock. The glossy black paint makes it look like Darth Vader’s own hauler. Original 16-inch factory alloy wheels show no signs of curb rash or peeling clearcoat. The fitted bed tonneau cover completes the clean look.
Inside the GMC Syclone, the black cloth bucket seats piped in red show very little wear, with just a bit of wrinkling on the driver side outside bolster. The mats and carpet present as new. This era of GMC trucks was not known for wearing well, but this example is in nearly showroom condition.
Under the hood, the Syclone is largely original, save for an aftermarket breather. Aside from a light bit of dust, the potent V6 is just as it should be.
This rare GMC Syclone (just 2,998 were built) crossed the auction block at last week’s Mecum Auctions event in Houston, and sold for $41,800.