The 1991-only GMC Syclone was the fastest production pickup truck of its day. Though GMC built fewer than 3,000 Syclones, this compact sport truck featured technology–and performance–far beyond its time. Today, only a few elite pickup trucks are faster than the original GMC Syclone.
How was the GMC Syclone so fast?
The 1991 GMC Syclone was based on the compact GMC Sonoma pickup truck. It shared a turbocharged 4.3-liter V6 with the Buick Grand National. But unlike the Grand National, the 1991 GMC Syclone also featured AWD, making it one of the fastest trucks ever built.
1991 GMC Syclone | General Motors
Car & Driver tested the GMC Syclone’s 0-60 MPH time at 4.3 seconds. It continued on through the quarter mile in just 13.4 seconds, reaching 98 MPH.
The Syclone’s turbocharged V6 made 280 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. That might not sound like much today. But remember that your average 1991 Chevrolet S-10/GMC Sonoma weighed in just a hair over 3,000 lbs.
The GMC Sonoma was a front-engine, RWD pickup with available 4WD. But the GMC Syclone featured an AWD system that put 35% of its power to the front wheels and 65% to the rear wheels. The GMC also featured four-wheel anti-lock brakes, making it the first production pickup with the feature.
What truck beat the GMC Syclone?
In its day, the 1991 GMC Syclone was the fastest production pickup truck in the world. But its day was short, as only 3,000 were built in 1991 and then only three were built in 1992 before it was canceled. Yet it held onto its record for 30 years, until Ram launched the 1500 TRX.
Today, I have mostly been thinking about the GMC Syclone. For 30 years this thing was the quickest pickup truck ever made. And it’s achingly cool. pic.twitter.com/lY6njDtfUc
— Ashley Winston (@TheCarGuru) September 5, 2022
Ford’s 1993 F-150 SVT Lightning was a full-size RWD truck and thus slightly slower than the retired GMC Syclone (7.2 seconds to 60 MPH, according to Car and Driver). Chevrolet’s own 454SS pickup truck had similar performance numbers as the Lightning (7.1 seconds).
For the 2004 model year, Dodge shoehorned a V10 from its Viper into a Ram pickup truck. The result was the Dodge Ram SRT-10, which raced to 60 MPH in just 5.6 seconds in its own Car and Driver test.
I’ve already covered the 2006 Toyota Tundra TRD Supercharger. This dealer-optioned pickup could, in certain configurations, reach 60 MPH in just 4.4 seconds–according to its MotorTrend test.
GMC kept the Syclone powertrain alive with 1992-1993 Jimmy SUV-based GMC Typhoon. In its own Car and Driver test, the Typhoon reached 60 MPH in just 5.3 seconds.
The GMC Syclone clung to the record of “world’s fastest truck” for an incredible 30 years. It was finally dethroned by the Ram 1500 TRX in 2022.
What is the fastest truck right now?
The world’s fastest truck is the Rivian R1T. With four electric motors making a combined 835 horsepower and 908 lb-ft of torque, it’s unsurprising this startup-built pickup reaches 60 MPH in just 3.1 seconds–according to MotorTrend. It finishes the quarter-mile at 11.6 seconds at 110.8 MPH.
2023 GMC SVE Sport Edition Syclone | SVE
Factory-built supertrucks are much more common than in the GMC Syclone’s day. The Hellcat-powered Ram 1500 TRX (which has full-time 4WD) is the world’s fastest internal combustion pickup truck, blasting to 60 MPH in just 4.1 seconds and completing the quarter-mile in 12.7 seconds at 106 MPH.
But the TRX better watch its back. GMC has announced a resurrected 2023 Syclone. This new truck is based on the full-size GMC Sierra 1500. Its top engine will be an 800-horsepower 6.2-liter V8. Will it be faster than the original GMC Syclone? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Next, see every factory-built supertruck available or dive into the history of the 1991 GMC Syclone in the video below:
See a 1991 GMC Syclone in action in this final video: