By on June 8, 2015

SyTy

Like I mentioned last week, turbocharging and all wheel drive were big selling points in the early ’90s. GM didn’t want to miss the party and commissioned a limited run of turbo 4.3 V6s, threw some monochrome cladding on their compact pickup and SUV, and created a hotrod sensation for the new decade.

The newsstand rags were so excited. Anyone else recall Car and Driver’s comparison between the Syclone and a Ferrari 348? Those silly Ann Arbor boys tossed a Confederate flag plate and a gun rack in the Ferrari, and ran the only test (1/4 mile) that the truck had a chance of winning.

This pair, offered in Akron for $15k, honestly looks to be a bargain. As an Ohioan, I know one must always assume Uncle Bondo has paid a visit to the salt-vulnerable areas. The market for high-performance, limited edition GM products is as strong as ever, so if these are as clean as described, these should be as good of an investment as one can make off Craigslist.

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15 Comments on “Crapwagon Outtake: GMC Syclone and Typhoon...”


  • avatar
    jfranci3

    I test drove a typhoon after I test drove a 2000 Mustang Gt in 2000. I loved the idea of the Typhoon, but it was a complete s*****x inside. Even for the era. My dad had a 280k mile s10 of the same era, and the 25k mile Typhoon felt every bit as worn. It wasn’t that fast either. I didn’t even finish the test drive route. What a let down.

  • avatar
    Marone

    Ahh, the good old days. Live axle, drum brakes in the rear, a brick for aerodynamics, heavy weight bias to the front and some of the best plastic/carpeted interiors GM ever made.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      Actually, those era GM interiors were not bad. The shapes made sense; the plastics were honest. The carpeting went halfway up the entire cabin, and was usually nice closed-loop berber.

      I had a 1986 Fiero and still think Saab couldn’t have done a better job on the inside.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Front brakes do all the work anyway in a truck like that, so why not rear drums?

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    One of the cars I just want to leave as a fantasy that it’s still impressive.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Just frustrating, the only GMs worth looking at were S15, S15 Blazers and Regals at ridiculously stupid prices. GM could build it, but just not in anything you wanted.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    MotorWeek raved about the Typhoon, IIRC. John likes him some GM fo sho.

    Also, I’d rather have a pristine late gen 1 Bravada (dark red with gold package labels, and tan leather) than either of those.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The siren call of the Bravada is irresistible to Corey.

    • 0 avatar
      wstarvingteacher

      When I was thinking about buying a Bravada I agreed with you Corey. Then I bought one.

      Should have kept the S10 I had before and that I was comparing it to. According to the forums there are two types. Really good ones and really bad ones. Lots of luck.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Oh no worries, I won’t be purchasing one. I have read enough stories about those model-specific AWD components on there to know the Jimmy is always the better and more robust option, even if it doesn’t look quite as good.

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        My ’88 S10 Blazer was great. I had it for four years and only sold it because it was just a little tight with 3 big dogs and me being a bit largish. A friend of mine bought it and it soldiered along until about 2 years ago, with over 400,000 miles on it, on the original short block (4.3), and only one transmission rebuild. It was the second best vehicle I ever owned, problem wise, the best was my ’82 K5 Blazer. It was damn near perfect.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I wanted one so bad.

    I had a friend who’s parents had a Typhoon in the early 90’s. At the time I thought it was the fastest street car I had ever been in, a lot of power off the line with the AWD. Now a new Escalade will probably run with it.

    I actually though the interior was pretty posh, but this was the 90’s and the car was like new. I’s sure after a few decades these things look like garbage with jagged and warped plastic panels.

    It’s a shame, I just don’t think you’re going to see GM have fun with skunk works like this anymore. I would love a modern day version of something like this.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    As a side note, this is one thing that I miss about old cars – cool names.

    If I were in charge of a marketing department at an OEM, I’d be naming cars things like Typhoon, Interceptor, Broadsword and Samurai Twin Turbo. Inspiring, awesome names. Names you could’ve hung on an 80s Hair Metal band.

    None of this Euro-inspired business of dishwater names like Punto and Twingo or meaningless alphanumerics like 330i or 790SXT.

  • avatar
    Power6

    These were the days, i had a Grand National, a buddy had a Typhoon, we had all sorts of other cool cars. The Sy/Ty trucks were popular with the drag racers the old school hardware plus AWD was hard to beat. The whole thing was built up from the parts bin other than the turbo system which i believe was developed for a camaro. Astro AWD, Corvette shifter, Sunbird turbo guages were highlights i remember.

    I was just discussing with with a friend recently, with the benefit of looking back now i think these GM outsourced specials built by PAS and ASC McLaren will be sort classics, a rare treat to see even now. This includes the legendary GNX, Turbo Trans Am, Turbo Grand Prix, as well as these super trucks. The SLP specials might be considered here too in the same light.

    Nobody including GM does third party specials any more so these are of a time. But imagine if there was a PAS building special enthusiast runs answering the “what if we put this motor in that one?”, making vehicles wih no good business case. The business has changed all product must be rational. easy to build and support, and move in volume, none of which describes a Syclone or Typhoon!

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