1991-1992 GMC Syclone

Fast enough to embarrass most muscle cars of its day, the 1991-1992 GMC Syclone had 280 turbocharged horsepower and all-wheel drive. See more classic truck pictures.

The 1991-1992 GMC Syclone set a new performance standard for hot-rod pickups, combining turbo power, all-wheel-drive, and a sport-tuned suspension. Acceleration of the compact 1991-1992 GMC Syclone rivaled the day's best muscle cars, and handling wasn't far behind.

The 1991-1992 GMC Syclone was based on GMC's regular-cab compact Sonoma pickup. It had a 108.3-inch wheelbase and a six-foot cargo box. Sonoma engine choices ranged from a mild four-cylinder to the 160-bhp 4.3-liter EFI Vortec V-6.


The 1991-1992 GMC Syclone used the Vortec V-6, then added a liquid-intercooled turbocharger with 14-psi boost, 8.35:1 compression, port injectors, special pistons, oil cooler, and dual exhaust outlets. That yielded a rousing 280 horsepower at 4400 rpm and 350 lbs/ft of torque at 3600. A four-speed automatic was the only transmission.

A special "sport-calibrated" suspension lowered the ride height by two inches compared to the regular Sonoma's. Up front were independent low-rate torsion bars and a thick stabilizer bar; a solid axle on semi-elliptic springs held up the rear. Bilstein gas shocks were mounted, and tires were meaty P245/50VR-16 Firestone Firehawks on turbine aluminum wheels.

Applying the 1991-1992 GMC Syclone's turbo torque to the rear wheels only would have caused serious traction problems. So GMC installed all-wheel-drive. Produced by Borg Warner, the system featured a viscous coupling and 35-percent front/65-percent rear torque split. A limited-slip differential further aided grip.

­GMC said the Syclone had "the first four-wheel anti-lock braking system ever available on a pickup truck," though rear brakes were drums, not discs.

The 1991-1992 GMC Syclone looked the business. It came only in black, with matte-black aero-trim on the lower body and racy red "Syclone" insignia. Inside were contoured buckets, floor shift, leather-wrapped tilt wheel, and big analog instruments, including a tach and turbo boost gauge.

Air conditioning, stereo cassette, cruise control, tinted glass, and a host of power accessories were standard. So was the handsome Lexxus TruxCover tonneau cover for the cargo bed.

The 1991-1992 GMC Syclone could blast from 0-60 mph in under 5.0 seconds and rip through the quarter-mile in 13.4. Production was limited to about 3,500 yearly.


Collectible Pluses of the 1991-1992 GMC Syclone

  • The first factory compact hot-rod pickup
  • Faster than most contemporary cars
  • Luxury cab with every conceivable option
  • A better ride than you'd expect


Collectible Minuses of the 1991-1992 GMC Syclone

  • Clearly designed to run rather than work
  • Noisy, especially the exhaust tone
  • Cramped cabin
  • Handling doesn't live up to the promise

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