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GMC’s foray into performance trucks in 1991 resulted in the Syclone pickup and Typhoon SUV. Both were based on the Chevy/GMC S-10 architecture and were a high point in a period of smog regulations and stomach-pumping performance. But now, Specialty Vehicle Engineering (SVE) has created a contemporary version of those hallowed GMC performance trucks. But this time, they’re based on the full-size Sierra 1500 platform, packing 800 hp. 

The original Syclone came one way (in a sport truck guise) and in one color (black). But SVE’s 2023 GMC Syclone is available in two iterations. The SVE Sport Edition is the lowered version, and the Off-Road Edition is the trail-ready variant. Give credit to SVE — it put more effort into the performance aspects than the names.

What are the SVE GMC Syclone features?

GMC Syclone
The original GMC Syclone pickup (pictured) inspired the 2023 SVE version | GM

SVE’s off-road version has flared fenders, while the sporty, lowered GMC Sierra gets brushed aluminum inserts. Suspension-wise, the off-road model gets a BDS four-inch lift kit. And the Sport Edition Syclone is lowered two inches, with progressive-rate front springs and a five-inch drop in the rear. 

There will also be two performance versions: a 700-hp Syclone with the 5.3-liter V8 and an 800-hp truck packing the 6.2-liter engine. Each powerplant is blueprinted with a computer-balanced rotating assembly, forged 1538MV twisted steel crankshaft, and forged aluminum pistons. Also, the cylinder heads have been hogged out for better flow, and SVE installed one of its superchargers for some forced induction. Last, the company added a stainless-steel exhaust system for better flow and more expressive sound.

How many Syclone examples will SVE produce?

SVE is limiting availability and body styles to add collectibility and simplify orders. The company will produce only 50 of each version. All Syclone examples will have a 2023 4WD crew cab or a double cab. They will also come with only the short or standard bed length. But that makes sense because those are the most popular GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado configurations. 

SVE hasn’t released pricing. Because these customized trucks offer various options and setups, establishing a fixed price is challenging. SVE also offers custom accessories beyond what GMC has available. So, adding one or some of SVE’s aftermarket offerings would likely increase the cost.

How does SVE’s Sierra compare to the Ram TRX and Ford Raptor?

The Ram TRX is is more reasonable than the Shelby F-150
Ram TRX | Stellantis

The bottom line is that the SVE combo of features places these modified GMC Sierra 1500 trucks on the same plane as the Ram TRX and Ford F-150 Raptor. Put another way, it’s something that GMC should offer for marketing and as a brand boost. But regardless of what GM corporate decides, you can own a GMC pickup that can stand up to any current production truck. Plus, SVE’s custom rides are much more exclusive. 

GMC should have used its brief foray into performance trucks to burnish the brand 30 years ago. But SVE has picked up where the automaker left off, so now is your time to embrace that 800-hp GMC push of power.