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The GMC Syclone is arguably one of the biggest anomalies in automotive history. GMC took an unassuming GMC Sonoma compact pickup truck and turned it into one of the fastet production cars of the early 1990s. While there are plenty of performance pickups to be found in the automotive marketplace today like the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and the Ford Raptor, these modern performance pickups are primarily offroaders.

The GMC Syclone was a street-dwelling pickup truck built entirely for supercar-like speed. The GMC Syclone and its Typhoon brother made a mark on the automotive industry in just one full model year of production, although there were a few examples that made their way into production for the 1992 model year. Here is everything you need to know about the GMC Syclone and the elusive 1992 model year trucks.

The GMC Syclone was a world leader in performance

A black 1991 GMC Syclone parked outdoors.
1991 GMC Syclone | Getty Images

The GMC Syclone was a performance pickup truck built by GMC for the 1991 model year. According to Road & Track, the Syclone was built for urban cowboys who wanted a mean-looking truck that could outrun anything on the street. The Syclone was able to achieve unbelievable performance due to its turbocharged V6 engine that produced around 280 hp.

For perspective, the 1991 base model Corvette only produced 245 hp from its V8 engine, making this compact pickup truck more powerful than GM’s poster car. The world-class ZR-1 Corvette was also in production for 1991, and while this powerful Corvette did have more horsepower than the Syclone, it was slower off the line. Automobile-Catalog reports that the 1991 ZR1 Corvette had a 0 to 60 MPH time of 4.8 seconds, while the GMC Syclone could reach 60 MPH in just 4.3 seconds.

The GMC Syclone’s performance was possible due to the truck’s low weight, low ride height, aerodynamic wheels, and purpose build all-wheel drive system.

It was also the first truck produced with four-wheel antilock brakes. While the Syclone was a great performance car, it was a lousy pickup truck, with a 2000-pound towing capacity and a 500-pound payload capacity. But everyone that bought a Syclone was buying it for one reason; it was the fastest truck in the world.

How many GMC Syclones were produced?

According to Hemmings, only 2,998 GMC Cyclones were produced in 1991. Every Syclone was built in the GM Shreveport, Louisiana Assembly plant. While nearly every 1991 Syclone was identical, there were 10 red Syclones produced with a special Marlboro paint scheme that were given away by the Marlboro tobacco company, and three Indy 500 special edition examples.

MotorTrend reports that while a vast majority of the Syclones produced were built for the 1991 model year, there were exactly three total Syclones made for the 1992 model year. The first 1992 Syclone was totaled during crash testing, and the final two models were sold to private collectors.

1991 GMC Syclone: price, specs, and features

The 1991 GMC Syclone had an original list price of $25,790 MSRP, which was well under the over $32,000 starting price of the 1991 Chevrolet Corvette. For this low price, consumers got a pickup truck that was faster than the Corvette, and even faster in a straight line than the top-of-the-line ZR-1 Corvette. The GMC Syclone was only offered with one powertrain, a turbocharged V6 engine paired with an automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive. This all-wheel drive system was specialty-built for the Syclone as it sent most of its power to the rear wheels and just 35% to the front wheels.

The GMC Syclone was a truck that was fairly absent of special features, with a dashboard that was shared with the Pontiac Sunbird and a floor shifter shared with the Corvette. When it is all said and done, the GMC Syclone was a compact GMC Sonoma that was converted into the world’s fastest pickup truck. Without the Syclone, we wouldn’t have the performance trucks we have today!


The 1991 GMC Syclone is Still One of The World’s Fastest Trucks