Max Grabowsky established the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company on the 22nd December 1901 which built a truck powered by a single cylinder motor. In 1909 the company was taken over by General Motors to form the General Motors Truck Company from which the GMC Truck brand was born. In 1916 a GMC Truck was driven from Seattle to New York City in just 30 days, ten years later a 2 ton GMC Truck took five days and 30 mins to travel from New York to San Francisco.
In 1990 GMC identified a niche market for a ‘performance’ truck based on the GMC Sonoma complete with lowered suspension, four wheel drive, fog lights and under the bumper corner spoilers.
The Syclone model was powered by a 280 hp 4.3 litre / 262 cui turbocharged V6 motor that was coupled with a 4 speed automatic transmission. ABS brakes, to keep all those horses under control, were used for the first time on an all wheel drive truck application.
Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit GTi inspired, to European eyes, red detailing inside and out was rounded off with 16 inch alloy wheels carrying comparatively low profile tyres.
Car & Driver famously pitted the $26,000 Syclone against a $122,000 296 hp Ferrari 348ts and in all the acceleration tests up to and including the 1/4 mile drag the Syclone came out best only loosing out with a top speed of 126 mph against the Ferrari’s 166 mph !
Built in Troy MI by Production Automotive Services, unlike the regular Sonoma which was built in Shreveport LA, the only downside of the Syclone was that it’s lowered suspension limited the carrying capacity to just 500 lbs, still considerably more than a Ferrari, but considerably less than that 1700 lbs plus of a regular GMC Sonoma.
It is thought just 2998 Syclones were built between 1991 and ’92, with just 3 made in 1992 ! 113 are thought to have been exported, with 31 returned, making today’s vehicle seen in Bristol one of just 82 Syclones thought to be outside the USA.
Patrick Bedard of Car & Driver summed up the Syclone as the pick up that would ‘do a Ferrari blur on the local scenery’ and ‘makes this capability seem like a perfectly wonderful idea.’ Sounds good to me, a very good idea indeed.
Thanks for joining me on this `Traffic Light King’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !