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The GMC Syclone is Back, Again

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2021 GMC Canyon, the starting point for SVE's Syclone.
Photo: General Motors

In 1991, GMC released a high-performance version of its Sonoma pickup truck, called the Syclone. At the time, it was easily the fastest production pickup on the road, and was apparently compared to both a Corvette and a Ferrari. To celebrate the landmark vehicle’s 30th anniversary in 2021, Specialty Vehicle Engineering (SVE) — a custom tuning shop in New Jersey — is reviving the model, this time in the form of a suped-up GMC Canyon.

Meet the basis of the new Syclone: The GMC Canyon

A long-time love affair

When GMC released the Syclone in 1991, it blew people’s minds. It took the Sonoma’s standard 105-horsepower, four-cylinder engine and pumped it up with a 4.3-liter V6 turbocharged model that belted out 280 horsepower and 360 lb-ft of torque. With these specs, it managed to keep pace with a Corvette and blow a Mustang GT out of the water.

When you think about its legacy, it’s no wonder that this isn’t the first time Specialty Vehicle Engineering has brought the Syclone back from the dead, having released a limited run of 100 models just last year.

Legendary specs

While SVE’s 2019 converted Syclone was impressive enough at 455 horsepower, the 2020 edition leaves it in the dust. It’s powered by a gargantuan 5.3-liter V8 that manages to produce a stunning 750 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque, and features forged aluminum pistons, forged steel connecting rods, a bespoke crankshaft and improved fuel injectors. For comparison, that’s more than double the output of the original Syclone, and tops the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette’s horsepower and torque by 255 and 130, respectively

SVE hasn’t announced pricing details yet, but the 2019 edition cost nearly $40,000 in addition to the price of the Canyon, so it seems safe to expect something in that range. You’ll have to act fast if you want one, though, as SVE announced that it will only produce 50 models.

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