The 1991-only gmc Syclone was the fastest production truck of its day. Although GMC built fewer than 3,000 Syclones, this compact sport truck featured technology and performance far ahead of its time. Today, only a few elite trucks are faster than the original GMC Syclone.
How was the GMC Syclone so fast?
The 1991 GMC Syclone was based on the GMC Sonoma compact pickup. It shared a 4.3-liter turbocharged 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.
Car & Driver tested the GMC Syclone’s 0-60 MPH time at 4.3 seconds. He continued through the quarter mile in just 13.4 seconds, hitting 98 MPH.
The Syclone’s turbocharged V6 made 280 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. That might not seem like much today. But remember, your average 1991 Chevrolet S-10/GMC Sonoma weighed just over 3,000 pounds.
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 truck with this feature.
Which truck beat the GMC Syclone?
In its day, the 1991 GMC Syclone was the world’s fastest production pickup truck. But its day was short, as only 3,000 were built in 1991 and then only three were built in 1992 before it was cancelled. However, it held its record for 30 years, until Ram released the 1500 TRX.
The 1993 Ford F-150 SVT Lightning was a full-size RWD pickup, and therefore slightly slower than the retired GMC Syclone (7.2 seconds at 60 MPH, according to Car and Driver). Chevrolet’s own 454SS pickup truck had similar performance numbers to the Lightning (7.1 seconds).
For the 2004 model year, Dodge shoehorned a V10 from its Viper into a Ram pickup. The result was the Dodge Ram SRT-10, which reached 60 MPH in just 5.6 seconds in its own Car and Driver test.
I have already covered the 2006 Toyota Tundra TRD Supercharger. This dealer-optional pickup could, in certain configurations, hit 60 MPH in just 4.4 seconds, according to its MotorTrend test.
GMC kept the Syclone powertrain alive with the 1992-1993 GMC Typhoon based Jimmy SUV. on his own car and driver test, the Typhoon reached 60 MPH in just 5.3 seconds.
The GMC Syclone held on to the record for “world’s fastest truck” for an incredible 30 years. It was ultimately dethroned by the Ram 1500 TRX in 2022.
What is the fastest truck right now?
The fastest truck in the world is the Rivian R1T. With four electric motors generating a combined 835 horsepower and 908 pound-feet of torque, it’s no surprise that this newly built pickup hits 60 MPH in just 3.1 seconds, according to MotorTrend. He finishes the quarter mile in 11.6 seconds at 110.8 MPH.
Factory-built super trucks are much more common than they were in the days of the GMC Syclone. The Hellcat-powered Ram 1500 TRX (which has full-time 4WD) is the world’s fastest internal combustion pickup truck, hitting 60 MPH in just 4.1 seconds and completing the quarter mile in 12.7 seconds at 106 MPH.
But TRX better watch your back. GMC has announced a resurrected 2023 Syclone. This new pickup is based on the full-size GMC Sierra 1500. Its top engine will be a 6.2-liter V8 and 800 horsepower. Will it be faster than the original GMC Syclone? We’ll have to wait and see.
Check out all the factory-built super trucks available below, 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: