Move over Rivian R1T and Hummer EV, our modern reimagination of the GMC Syclone brings twin-turbo power to the game.
GMC, by some stroke of genius, introduced the Syclone small-size pickup in 1991, and it immediately went on to become the world’s quickest pickup truck. Its 0-60 mph time sat between 4.3 seconds on a good day, to 4.6 seconds on a bad one. In the early 90s, if you were behind the wheel of a Syclone, that meant you were quicker than a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. And if you came across a Ferrari 348, you’d smoke it too.
“World’s fastest accelerating pickup truck” was a title the Syclone held for well over two decades. Fast forward to 2022, and things have changed, but not by the measure you would think. The quickest pickup trucks in the world are just a little over a second quicker in the run from 0-60 mph. The quickest pickups are also electric: GM’s own Hummer EV and the Rivian R1T are absolute behemoths, clocking 0-60 mph times between 3 seconds and 3.2 seconds respectively.
But don’t write off internal combustion just yet. Especially not when you take a look at the mean, modern GMC Syclone that digital artist Timothy Adry Emmanuel has dreamed up. Rocking good ol’ twin-turbocharged V8 power, this modern Syclone certainly looks the part of reclaiming its throne as the quickest pickup in the world.
This Modern GMC Syclone Mixes New And Classic Elements
At first glance, you may be tempted to call this reimagined GMC Syclone a 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 single cab, but sitting lower to the ground, with cosmetic upgrades (and hood scoops). But look a little closer and all the changes that have gone into this digital recreation of a modern Syclone become a little clearer.
So, while this Syclone inherits the GMC family vertical grille (more like a gate!) and sinister lights up front, there’s no missing the short bed, and extra squared off sides versus the stock GMC Sierra. In contrast, the curves on the side skirts, and rear bumper with its modern diffuser, help bring back the feel of a Syclone — a proper super truck. And yes, this modern GMC Syclone still has its fog lights in the lower bumper!
These small touches help give this new GMC Syclone the stance and old-school feel of the original ’91 Syclone. Of course, the retro “cyclone” wheels are an instant reminder of the cool, Corvette-look alike wheels of the original too. Even small details like the wing mirrors are a take on modern GMC rearview mirrors, taking the same them further by using two contrast elements. The twin exhaust tips are a nod-back to the original too, even if they’re placed at opposite ends of the diffuser, instead of twin pipes all the way through. But then again, that’s modern cars for you.
GMC’s lineup has some of the most beastly looking trucks on sale right now. And this GMC Syclone ups the aggression up to 11. All black everything is a great look, and a throwback to the original. But even in brighter body colors, this Syclone still pops.
Imagine The Beastly Twin-Turbo Motor Under The Hood
Coming to the ‘twin turbo’ decals on the back of this super truck. The original Syclone used a turbocharged 4.3-liter V6 specially developed by specialty engineering firm PAS for it. The motor was rated at 280 hp, but most people say it was criminally under-rated, actually making well over 300 hp. With a four-speed automatic sending power to all four wheels, that’s the only way the Syclone could have managed its low 14-second quarter mile.
Now, even if there’s a 3.6-liter V6 in the mid-size GMC Canyon with 308 hp, we think this reincarnation of the Syclone may go a different route. Elsewhere in the GM universe, Cadillac offers twin-turbo V6s in the CT5, specifically the CT5-V. It’s a 3-liter motor that pumps out 335 hp, and comes with a 10-speed automatic. This motor, with a little extra oomph, would be a good candidate to reside under the hood scoops on the new Syclone.
But if GMC really wants to make a statement, and reclaim its king of the hill status with the Syclone pickup, there’s another option. It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine the Cadillac Blackwing V8 that was in the Cadillac CT6-V for a short while. This 4.2-liter twin-turbo V8 made 550 hp and 640 lb. ft. of torque and while it is a heavy engine, it’d be right at home in the GMC Syclone.
The Syclone Needs To Make A Comeback Now
It’s a shame that GMC only produced limited numbers of the Syclone pickup and Typhoon SUV, and still only just managed to sell them all. But that was then. Now, trucks like the Dodge Ram TRX 1500 and Ford F-150 Raptor have enough of a market for them to make sense. And that’s not even counting the electric pickup trucks that have beat out the internal combustion competition.
Which is why the time is ripe for GM to bring back the GMC Syclone with a monster of an engine to really give it another shot. And this time, the world will be ready for it.
Specialty Vehicle Engineering’s 750 HP GMC Syclone On The Way
SVE hails from Toms River, New Jersey, and has built recent aftermarket vehicles like the 1,000-horsepower revival of the Yenko Camaro
Today, fans of powerful pickup trucks are spoiled by choice. Whether they’re interested in charging the dunes in a Ford F-150 Raptor or Jeep Gladiator Mojave, just towing massive payloads in a Ram 3500 HD, or hauling the family around town in a beastly Toyota Tundra, the market has become populated with plenty of options—and forthcoming models like the Ram Rebel TRX might be even better.
But the arena of street-sport pickups has largely been relegated to the past, when torquey straight-line burners like the Dodge Li’l Red Express, Toyota Tacoma X-Runner, and Dodge Ram SRT-10 ruled the roost. But amid all the Hennessey VelociRaptor conversions and Fox suspension upgrade packages, Specialty Vehicle Engineering has been producing a modern take on the classic GMC Syclone—and now, the Muscle Cars and Trucks website has reported that SVE plans to release a 750-hp Syclone variant as soon as 2021.
Beef It Up
SVE hails from Toms River, New Jersey, and has built recent aftermarket vehicles like the 1,000-horsepower revival of the Yenko Camaro, as well as a current Syclone producing 455 horsepower. Muscle Cars and Trucks claims that SVE told them the bigger, badder version, complete with all-wheel drive is on the way, though concrete details are few and far between. For historical context, the original Syclone debuted for the 1991 model year only and featured a turbocharged V6 sending 280 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels, which was good enough for a 4.3-second sprint to 60 miles per hour.
Onward And Upward
The Syclone was faster than most high-end sports cars of the early-1990s, so SVE has its work cut out for it to try and build a truck that can live up to the same legacy. Based on the current GMC Canyon platform, there’s a chance a full-on engine swap might be the best bet, perhaps in the form of a C7 Corvette’s V8 or a toned-down version of the LT1 powerplant under SVE’s own Yenko Camaro. Stay tuned for details.