Keepers: GMC Syclone/Typhoon—Shopping

By Christopher Smith

August 04, 2009

The Syclone/Typhoon (often referred to as SyTy by owners and enthusiasts) super trucks were always intended to be niche, limited-production vehicles. Save for a few outlier units in 1992, Syclones were exclusive to the 1991 model year and exclusively black, while Typhoons offered more color and less exclusivity thanks to a production run that spanned 1992 and 1993. As one would expect, the Typhoon is a bit easier to find; nearly 5000 came off the assembly line during its two-year run as opposed to 3000 Syclones, so while these trucks are rather rare, they’re not impossible to find.

If you do find one, chances are it has lived a difficult life, and that likely means some TLC will be required. Even if the specimen in question is without fault, consider that the Syclone/Typhoon program was essentially a budget-constrained side project, rushed into production using mostly off-the-shelf parts that weren’t necessarily engineered to cope with the high horsepower and torque levels of the turbo V-6. Transmissions and driveline components are common problem areas, with rebuilds being a question of when as opposed to if. Like the RX-7 in the previous Keepers segment, the SyTy’s engine can be quite finicky when it comes to tweaking, tuning, or even basic maintenance, requiring a specialist familiar with the powerplant to ensure issues are taken care of correctly. If these trucks are driven to their potential on an even semi-regular basis, be prepared to spend plenty of time—and cash—with that specialist, because SyTys don’t take well to big-boost launches or similar abuse. Then there are the typical GM issues of the era such as rusting body panels and faulty electronics, and they affect the duo just the same as any other 17-year old GMC Sonoma or S-15 Jimmy. In other words, while these trucks have performance comparable to many exotic Italian supercars of their era, they also can be just as fickle, fragile, and maintenance-intensive.


Unlike many Italian supercars however, SyTys can be found quite cheap despite their rarity, especially in the current recession-dominated vehicle market. Moderately-used examples can dip well under the $10,000 range, leaving you plenty of cash left over to build or rebuild the truck as you see fit. Low-mile stockers generally stay in the $10,000 to $15,000 range, though some of the truly low-mile (less than 10,000) examples may creep higher, such as this showroom-new Syclone currently on eBay. And though you probably won’t find one for sale in your neighborhood, odds are there’s a SyTy within a day’s drive of wherever you’re at.

The enthusiast community for the Syclone/Typhoon isn’t quite as large or robust as many other niche segments, but the SyTy faithful do have resources to help feed their addiction. We’ll sample some of that in our next round of Keepers, but in the meantime chat up these turbo trucks in our forms and spy some of the eBay finds currently on the auction block.