Skip to main content

The GMC Typhoon and GMC Syclone were high-performance trucks before that category really existed. They’re relatively modest compared to today’s high-performance trucks and SUVs like the Ram 1500 TRX and the Cadillac Escalade V, but these GMC trucks broke new ground in the niche segment of sporty trucks.

Original muscle trucks

In the same spirit as the original muscle cars of the early 1960s, the 1991 GMC Syclone took a high-performance engine and put it in a regular, everyday pickup truck. Specifically, a 4.3-liter turbocharged V6 rated at 280 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. That’s 115 more horsepower than the non-turbo V6 in the regular GMC Sonoma on which the Syclone was based. The Syclone was famously quicker than the much more expensive and exotic Ferrari 348ts in Car and Driver’s testing.

The 1992 GMC Typhoon followed suit with the same engine. The big difference was that the Typhoon was an SUV based on the GMC Jimmy. The Typhoon continued production into 1993.

In addition to the turbocharged engine, the Syclone and Typhoon had a Garrett intercooler, a unique AWD system with a Borg Warner transfer case, a limited-slip rear differential, and upgraded brake and suspension systems. The Typhoon had one feature that the Syclone didn’t have; an air-operated self-leveling rear suspension.

The GMC Typhoon and GMC Syclone have much in common mechanically, but the differences go beyond the body type. With the exception of a couple of rare special editions like the red Marlboro Syclone, the Syclone was only available in black. The Typhoon, on the other hand, had a whopping 10 paint options.

GMC Typhoon paint options

The GMC Typhoon had some bright and vibrant paint options reminiscent of GameBoys from the ’90s. Here’s the complete list:

  • Black
  • Frost White
  • Apple Red
  • Bright Teal
  • Forest Green Metallic
  • Aspen Blue
  • Radar Blue
  • Raspberry Metallic
  • Garnet Red
  • Royal Blue

That’s a very diverse color palette for an SUV with fewer than 5,000 units built over two model years. Black is by far the most common color making up more than half of all Typhoon units. Radar Blue and Raspberry Metallic are the rarest; there are only two of each, and they both have interiors color-keyed with the exterior paint.

Supposedly, GMC planned more color options for the 1992 model year for the Syclone. Ultimately, only three 1993 Syclone models were built, and they were all black.

The Syclone’s advantage

The GMC Syclone doesn’t have the color variety or the seating capacity of the Typhoon, but it is the quicker of the two. This is mainly because of the weight difference. The GMC Syclone had a curb weight of 3,599 pounds, and the Typhoon was heavier at 3,822 pounds. This weight difference results in a 4.6-second 0-60 mph time for the Syclone and a 5.3-second time for the Typhoon.

Although Typhoon drivers can’t beat their Syclone-driving friends in drag races, they can enjoy more fun color options.


Is the GMC Syclone or Typhoon Faster?