Trucks & SUVs

The Forgotten GMC Typhoon Started an SUV Revolution

It’s no secret. Consumers love their SUVs and crossovers. In fact, the shift away from the traditional car has been in motion for years. Many sources cite increased buying habits for pickups and sport utility vehicles far outpace those buying sedans. People love the cargo and passenger room, and often AWD or four-wheel drive capability.

Automakers continue to improve their popular SUV models for fuel efficiency and performance. But there was one model that back in 1991 may have kicked off the crossover popularity. The GMC Typhoon, according to some, is responsible for having started an SUV revolution.

Looking back at the GMC Typhoon launch

It was 1991, and GMC opted to introduce a limited-production upgrade to the existing GMC Jimmy. The Typhoon was born and offered a turbocharged 4.3L V6 with 280 horsepower and 360 lb-ft of torque.

This beast could snap with a zero to 60 run in 5.3 seconds. They timed is on the quarter-mile in 14.1 seconds, clocking at 95 mph. This midsize SUV was only built with two doors and AWD. GMC didn’t venture away from the standard black for most, although some were teal.

It was a gamechanger in the market, and the price tag reflected as such, too. The starting price for the GMC Typhoon was around $29,970, which back then was equivalent to around $52,000 today.

Why the GMC Typhoon is a legend

Between 1991 and 1993, GMC produced 4,697 of these high-performance crossovers. Some believe the Typhoon was the beginning of something bigger. Midsize SUVs were available then, but the Typhoon offered a unique blend of power and capability that had never been available before.

It introduced an idea that once consumers latched on, started a movement. That movement transitioned to a revolution that some believe is responsible for the huge popularity and variety of SUVs available today.

In those days, SUVs were considered to be utility vehicles only, built for an audience of off-grid living hunter types, or hauling working buyers. The market was full of choices like the Chevy Blazer and the Dodge Ramcharger. They were working SUVs with a purpose.

So, when GMC introduced the Typhoon, all of a sudden, there was a sleek SUV with hustle, power, and style. It spoke to the everyday consumer, looking to have fun with an SUV. It would be more than a decade before anything like it, like luxury BMW crossovers, would come to market.

The Typhoon is popular among enthusiasts and celebrities

Die-hard enthusiasts continue to respect the GMC Typhoon still today. If you search for one to buy, you might find one at the auctions. One 1992 model, previously owned by actor Bill Bixby, sold for $60,500. Other celebrities have boasted being owners of the legendary Typhoon.

John F. Kennedy Jr. and Tyler Hoover are reported as having owned one. Bob Seger and the iconic Clint Eastwood are fellow GMC Typhoon fans and owners as well.

Will the GMC Typhoon make a comeback?

There is no indication that GMC has plans to rework and resurrect its performance SUV of the ’90s. However, Typhoon supporters suggest now might be the best time for a comeback.

After all, the Chevy Blazer is back, right? Some of the experts suggest it would be a smart business move for the automaker, and not just to bring back a model because bringing back an old favorite makes sense. The GMC Typhoon is one of the founding forefathers of performance SUVs. It presents an opportunity to innovate with a name synonymous with revolutionary.

You can find a few of these iconic GMC Typhoons for sale right now, but those in pristine condition may cost within the range of collector vehicles. It’s a model that didn’t only change the game in the early ’90s, but it also began an era of sport utility vehicle popularity. Like the natural phenomenon that likens its name, it was an SUV that took the market by storm.