Ferrari Alternative: 1991 GMC Syclone

While the concept of hot rodded SUVs is a trend that continues, single-cab, light-duty pickup trucks with lofty performance aspirations are a dying breed. Yes, I know, they stuffed a Viper drivetrain into a Ram, but that was a huge truck – even in single cab form. The Dodge Dakota R/T was really the last of the mid-sized pickups to utilize a hotted up drivetrain, which is why buyers may be nostalgic for in-house creations like the GMC Syclone. This one listed here on eBay for $29,995 is likely one of the few that remains completely stock.

Short bed and single cab with a turbocharged and intercooled 4.3L V6 engine under the hood: what a combination. Car & Driver made the Syclone world famous for its favorable comparisons to a Ferrari in terms of performance, and it wasn’t a joke – this truck could reach 60 in 4.3 seconds and run the 1/4 mile in under 14. That’s still extremely respectable performance by today’s standards.

The interiors were cosmetically different from lesser models but not ridiculously so. Some unique piping and floormats are the most obvious tweaks, but in the case of this Syclone, I’m mainly drawn in by just how damn mint it remains. With just a tick over 43,000 miles, it’s not surprising to see it in such tidy condition – perhaps even a little better than expected.

There are just two recorded owners of this Syclone, and it obviously was considered a collectible worth keeping in stock condition by both caretakers. Many of these have been modified in some form thanks to the temptation to turn up the boost and unlock loads more performance, but this one will hopefully forever remain as it left the factory.

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Comments

  1. jimbunte jimbunte Member

    Cool truck – but 30K?

    Like 11
  2. Howard A Member

    Ferrari alternative? I don’t think so. I had a truck like this, not as fancy, but you can dazzle it up all you want, it’s the same truck underneath, not the best. Granted, this motor put out some power, but it didn’t weigh much, hence the performance figures. These were ok trucks, but tis’ no Ferrari.

    Like 9
  3. local_sheriff

    This, as well as its Typhoon sibling are going to one of the very few 90s collectible vehicles coming from the big 3 in the coming future. An S10 is a dull truck on its own; in performance version a completely different animal

    Like 18
  4. Fiete T.

    Certainly doesn’t look, feel, turn or stop like a Ferrari of the era. But then again, an oil change isn’t $2+k and a major service? Forget dropping everything out and a 5-figure bill…
    Fun comparison, but for livability and all- GMC

    Like 8
    • xrotaryguy

      Car and Driver says it actually out-brakes the Ferrari in their test. They didn’t test fade around a road circuit though. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s a different story.

      Like 8
  5. Dave

    The Ferrari reference goes back to a drag race between one of these and a Testarossa, I believe. The truck only had a 500 pound cargo capacity but if you bought one for hauling back then you probably used Scotch for paint thinner!

    Like 8
  6. Mike

    A friend of mine bought one of these brand new. Now, 28 years and 30something thousand miles later, it’s still in his garage, still bone stock and looks like it just rolled out of the showroom. No, it’s not any good at hauling lumber, but it’s great for hauling a$$!

    Like 19
  7. Coventrycat

    Ferrari alternative – now that’s funny. Just like what they’re asking for it.

    Like 7
  8. JoeMac Joe Mac Member

    Taking the Ferrari reference too literally guys. Of course it’s no Ferrari, but light to light, that Ferrari driver will spend the rest of the night trying to explain to his hot passenger why he lost to a pickup truck.

    Like 25
    • Johnny Joseph

      Thank You Joe for enlightening some of the BF readers. Car and Driver were known for tweaking Enzo and the boys in Maranello. Anybody out there remember 1964? A Pontiac Tempest that if you knew what boxes to check became a GTO… Someone really knew how to grind his gears, pun intended, because Enzo was LIVID! Ol’ Jimmy Wangers arranged the ‘race’, at Daytona. Ferrari, of course, could not be bothered by these Damn Yankees and no one came. But that is where the famous “Tempest GTO: 0-100 in 11.8 seconds” cover for the March 1964 Car and Driver came from. Mr. Wangers admitted (about 25 or 30 years later) that the Pontiac had a 421 cubic inch mill in it, and not the 389 that was advertised. But no matter. Point was made. American had its first Muscle Car, and Ferrari would be the unwitting participant in more than a couple of comparisons to the brutish Americans. As an aside, Wangers said when he was watching them using stop watches to get the times down for those passes and they came up with that number “It wouldn’t reach that speed if you dropped it off of the Empire State Building”! Peace. PS: The picture of Jimmy Wangers driving past Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank is in THE CAR that was one of the three that were there in ’64.

      Like 10
  9. Little_Cars Little Cars Member

    In the mid-1970s, British Leyland marketed MG Midgets as “the people’s Ferrari.” The thinking was there were some similarities between the two cars in terms of mechanicals and stats. I owned a 1991 GMC Sonoma from 1992-1994. Must’ve been built on a Friday…it was in the shop multiple times and in fact for a year-old truck couldn’t pass the modest emissions testing in my hometown.

  10. Little_Cars Little Cars Member

    Note the British Leyland comparison to Ferrari.

    Like 2
  11. Frank Regan

    I have 10 of these in my collection with no dealer prep plastic on seats ,floor steering wheel window sticker on window all have 20 miles from GM plant onto car carrier driven and right into my warehouse. All have covers from GM factory. All original too

    Like 2
    • Little_Cars Saul Member

      Why? :)

      Like 2
    • Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Please send in some photos Frank! We would love to feature them.

      Like 4
  12. Steve Bowlby

    I was invited by GM in 1991 to attend a ride and drive in the Syclone and the Typhoon. Absolutely incredible machines. Very impressive performance and handling for the time. Syclone was 30 grand when new. Would be hard to justify paying that price now. By the way they did beat Ferrari in the quarter mile. Sorry Enzo
    ….

    Like 5
  13. John Jacob

    True story. When this truck came out I was in Detroit working on advanced uses of high performance plastics for valve covers, intake manifolds, etc. I had a meeting with the GM Chief Powertrain Engineer for trucks, and with the President of a large injection molding company. As we walked down the hallway at GM Tech Center the Chief Engineer pointed to a framed magazine ad showing a comparison of the Syclone vs. Ferrari. He expounded on how much better the Syclone was at a fraction of the Ferrari’s cost. I couldn’t help myself. I turned to him and said ” your team has done a phenomenal job of engineering and should be proud of the result. But let me just point out one thing.” I then pointed at the framed ad. “This is a truck… and this is a Ferrari.” The President rolled his eyes at me. The Chief Engineer said “I see your point.”

  14. nycbjr Member

    Me loves! Nice truck price is too much for me.

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