GMC Syclone spools up a storm on Jay Leno's Garage

A storm was brewing on American roads in the early 1990s. That's when Detroit's automakers were producing some of the hottest performance trucks ever devised – models like the Ford Lightning, GMC Typhoon, and its flyweight pickup sibling, the GMC Syclone. Jay Leno just happens to have one of the latter in his garage, and took it out to showcase in this latest video segment.

The Syclone was an exercise in absurdity, and could not only trounce any other pickup on the road, it could outrun anything else GM made and just about anything else on the road – beating Ferraris and Porsches off the line. In a pickup, for crying out loud. The kicker is that its engine wasn't such a monster, either: under the hood sat a 4.3-liter turbocharged V6 pumping out what would seem by today's standards to be an adequate 280 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. Even the smaller of the EcoBoost V6s available in today's Ford F-150 produces more than that. But in a lightweight, compact pickup, those figures were enough to propel the Syclone to 60 in 4.3 seconds and run the quarter-mile in 13.6 seconds.

Long before the dune-jumping Ford F-150 SVT Raptor or even the Viper-powered Dodge Ram SRT-10, GM made fewer than 3,000 Syclones based on the compact Sonoma (sister to the Chevy S-10) and another 4,700 of the Typhoon, which was mechanically similar but more practical (albeit heavier) wagon bodywork from the Jimmy. But as Jay aptly points out, the Syclone was the one you wanted. Scope it out in the ten-minute video clip above.

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