The GMC Syclone wasn’t just quick — in its day, it was among the quickest vehicles ever tested. And that success was lingering: the Turbo Truck was, by a significant margin, the quickest pickup truck in the world for a staggering 30 years. That’s nearly twice as long as the McLaren F1 held the top-speed record.
Surprise: it also handled well, keeping up with the supercars of its day.
What’s not a surprise: the Syclone, and its SUV-bodied brother, the Typhoon, were not conceived through the regular product-planning channels at General Motors: they were dreamt up by a Real Car Guy — Kim Nielsen — and pushed through using the help of outside consultants.
To get into production quickly, before the S-15 Sonoma pickup and Jimmy SUV ended their product cycle, Nielsen worked closely with ASC/McLaren and then Production Automotive Services to develop the turbo truck. And then PAS won the contract to engineer, certify, and build the SyTy (Syclone and Typhoon.)
With just a little wheelspin off the line, the Syclone blasted from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds, quicker than the then-brand-new C4 Corvette ZR-1 and almost as quickly as the Ferrari F40.
30 years later, there are many fast SUVs on the market, but until the 702-hp 2021 Ram TRX, there’s never again been a pickup this quick. And certainly none this good-looking: available only in black, with black trim that includes a deep air dam and (of chief importance) integrated fog lights.
Learn everything you need to know about the GMC Syclone in this entertaining episode of Revelations with Jason Cammisa.
This black and white, declassified US Army training film, created in 1942 and released in 1943, (TF 10-980, full title: Automotive Trouble Shooting Part 11c, Section 2, Chevrolet 4×4 and G.M.C. 6×6 Steering System Adjustments) offers troubleshooting advice for mechanics calibrating the steering of military automobiles (TRT: 15:24).
Title cards: “This Film is Restricted” over a stenciled banner “Restricted” and “Official Training Film, War Department” with a US War Office seal (0:08). “Produced by the Signal Corps for the Commanding General Services of Supply.” Titles continue over shots of mechanics hands, wrenches at work (0:22). A mechanic works with jack lifts under the chassis of a Chevrolet G506 1 ½ ton 4×4 truck (produced as the Chevy G7100, and originally G4100 models). He zeroes in on the steering column. He inserts a bar in a wheel. A closeup shows even weight distribution. The other wheel demonstrates excessive play, indicating loose pinion bearings (0:45). The tie rod is disconnected by removing the clamp bolt and yolk. The upper bearing cap follows in closeup. Shims are handled with care (1:46). Shims are removed from the lower bearing cap from a reverse angle, as heavy grease drips out (2:45). Proper steering knuckle resistance is demonstrated, then the tie rod is reconnected (3:11). The toe of the wheels is checked, using a telescopic toeing gauge. A helper drives forward slowly (3:50). The gauge reads 1/16”. The steering arm clamp bolt nut is locked (4:25). The mechanic climbs behind the steering wheel and turns it gently, testing. The separate components of the steering gear assembly. The steering shaft worm gear and tapered bearings in closeup. A ball nut is added in a cross-section shot, then filled with ball bearings and tubular guides. A nut locks the assembly housing together (5:16). Closeup on the mesh of two gears teeth. Calibration is adjusted with a screw and nut (8:11). The mechanic at the wheel loosens a bracket underneath the dashboard, then climbs out of the truck (8:35). The steering rod is disconnected from the pitman shaft (9:04). A lock nut is loosened and a screw is turned. Then, the worm gear bearings are adjusted (9:29). Passenger’s side POV: The Mechanic returns and rotates the steering wheel smoothly back and forth, finding the center (10:46). Re-tightening the steering gear assembly with a wrench. The steering wheel is re-tested to ensure an increased load and consistent resistance (12:12). A highlighted section of a mechanic’s manual: “Using J-544 Steering Gear Checking Scale, measure the pull at the rim of the wheel…” An illustration indicates the proper positioning of a checking scale (13:00). Checking alignment of the steering column jacket. The mechanic re-aligns the steering column jacket, working from the driver’s side wheel well (13:25). The steering column is fixed in place, and the drag link is re-connected (14:09). The mechanic checks the wheel one last time, ensuring a job well done (14:51). “The End” (15:03)
The “G506” truck chassis depicted in this film was manufactured in mass quantity by the Chevrolet Motor Division of GM during the World War II era. This model of vehicle became the standard truck for the US Army and Air Corps during the 1940s, as over 150,000 such vehicles were purchased. Of these, roughly 47,700 were shipped to the Soviet Union under the “Lend-Lease” program.
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Poor Üziel Valles has somehow ended up with a yellow hood on his otherwise white Silverado. It’s not one of those color schemes that really mesh together—which took him to the private Denver Dropped Trucks group to ask for a swap. Facebook Works For Once Hood Swap
Enter: John Payan, who just so happens to have an all-yellow truck with a white hood. Is this destiny? Proof that soulmates do exist? I can’t say for sure, but whatever the case, it’s still a better plot arc than anything that made its way into the Twilight series.
This ’91 GMC Syclone has Driven 395 Miles in 25 Years
By and large, automakers think with their wallets. If a car doesn’t yield sizable profits, it simply isn’t built. That said, cars—or should we say trucks—like this prove sometimes automakers do think and act with their hearts, and we’re so very thankful they do.
A supercar of the pickup truck world, this 1991 GMC Syclone is one of just 2,995 built during its solitary year of production (apart from three built in ’92). With a time of naught-to-60 mph in under 5.3 seconds.
A few weeks ago, we asked members of the Hagerty Forum to provide us with their favorite terrible special edition cars. No doubt, there were plenty of awful options to choose from, generating more than 50 replies in the discussion. It seems the common theme tying these automotive blunders together was there was too much focus on silly tricks or styling gimmicks and not enough attention was paid to what buyers were actually looking for.
Sure, the the list of truly bad special editions is nearly endless, but there have actually been quite a few good examples, too. Packages that offer limited production, added features, and pleasing visuals are generally rewarded with a bump in value over their base-model counterparts. Here are five of our favorites.
Considering the emphasis placed on eliminating impaired driving today, be it due to alcohol, drugs, or other distractions such as texting, it’s interesting to note that back in the 1970s (well before texting) General Motors was seeking solutions. An example is this critical tracking test (CTT) “experimental deterrent” that was developed and evaluated by GM’s Engineering Staff for 1974.
Behind the making of the Campbell-bodied 1948 GMC Highlander
Eastern feng shui philosophy teaches that everything on Earth is comprised of five elements: wood, fi re, earth, metal, and water. One of the keys to creating harmony and happiness in your environment is to strike a balance among those five.
Echoing the Big Three automaker’s increased focus on truck/SUV production, this year’s Drive Home will feature a cross-country convoy of classic American pickup trucks—including a 1965 Ford F100, a 1957 Ford Ranchero, a 1955 Chevy 3600, and a 1962 International Travelette—navigating a 2,750-mile meandering route to the Motor City. The “World’s Quickest SUV,” a Hennessey Jeep Grand Cherokee HPE 1200 Trackhawk from Hennessey Performance of Sealy, Texas, will shadow the vintage trucks all the way to Detroit.
All this stuff reminds me of a few years ago when we were visiting Country Classics in Staunton IL during one of our US visits, as you can see the truck was really nice and the price probably even nicer at $5950! Sadly I didn’t pull the trigger….
As you can also see there was a nice red 78 Silverado at $9350
Took a drive over to Hartley Wintney for the New Years Day meet at the Phoenix Inn, pretty well attended considering the weather wasn’t great. A good smattering of American cars, along with coffee and some decent grub was on offer!
Some nice vehicles included:
Hudson Super Six
Chrysler New Yorker
Model A Coupe & Roadster
Plus a really cool Mercedes Hot Rod, not my normal thing, but very nice..
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