GMC Typhoon: Spotted

"Imagine if someone's selling a Syclone" I thought as I clicked, half-heartedly, on the 'GMC > All Models' category of the classifieds. I expected to find a couple of Sierras, maybe a Denali or two, but this is PistonHeads and there it was in all its glory, and so now here it is for you.

Of course, this isn't technically a Syclone, but rather a Typhoon, thanks to its covered bed and practicality-enhancing rear bench seats. Like the Syclone, though, the Typhoon was powered by a turbocharged 4.3-litre V6 which produced 285hp and 350lb ft of torque. They both made use of the same four-speed automatic transmission, and both sent 35 per cent of their power to the front wheels and sixty five to the rear.

Where the Syclone was breathtakingly rapid, though, capable of 0-60 in 4.3 seconds (In a truck. In 1992.) the Typhoon was only incredibly quick. It took 5.3 seconds to reach 60mph - still faster than an E36 M3 Evo, Ferrari 348 or C4 Corvette - before going on to an electronically limited top speed of 124mph.

Despite its supercar status and mere $30,000 price tag (£40,000 in today's money), production of the Syclone ended after just twelve months, while the Typhoon managed to make it a whole two years before lack of demand saw it axed from GMC's line up as well. While the idea was an interesting one, the reality of a sporty SUV was a step too far for many customers, and has of course neverbeenrepeatedsince.

Despite its obvious drawbacks - 15mpg, anyone? - the Typhoon also makes a better case for itself as a UK car than many other American performance imports. Based as it is on GMC's smallest pick-up of the era, the Jimmy, the Typhoon is only 172cm wide, 13cm less than a Vauxhall Insignia. It boasts 0.8g of cornering grip and, despite having cast-iron drum brakes in the rear, it'll stop from 70mph in 56m. It's no Lotus Elise, sure, but neither is it the one trick pony you might imagine.

This one's done just 28,000 miles too, and best of all it's priced at £15,000, while a similar example with comparable mileage will set you back $40,000 on the US market. What could you get instead? Well, plenty of things. But while the Typhoon may not have the unicorn status afforded to the Syclone, it still represents an interesting (and very cool) early foray into a segment which has exploded in recent years. It's boxy design and plasticy interior won't be to everyone's taste, but even 25 years after its release, when those in the know see a Typhoon, they'll still be blown away.


Engine: 4,300cc, turbo V6
Transmission: 4-speed auto, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 285@4,400rpm
Torque (lb ft): 350@3,600-4,800rpm
MPG: 15ish
CO2: N/A
First registered: 1992-3
Recorded mileage: 28,000
Price new: $30,000
Yours for: £14,989

See the full ad here.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (46) Join the discussion on the forum

  • crispyshark 12 Sep 2018

    Utterly bonkers but I love it!

    A further left field alternative to a Forester STI.

  • RevOne 12 Sep 2018

    Syclone 0-60 in 4.3
    Typhoon 0-60 in 5.3

    If they have the same drivetrain why the 20% slower time? Surely the roof and rear seat didnt add THAT much weight?

  • FerdiZ28 12 Sep 2018

    Howard- said:
    0-60 in 4.3 seconds by something with only 285bhp and weighing 1.7 tonnes (according to Wikipedia)? Behave.
    What problem do you have with facts? Fearing and torque, sweetheart

  • kambites 12 Sep 2018

    RevOne said:
    Surely the roof and rear seat didnt add THAT much weight?
    About 140kg if GMC's figures are to be believed, so just under 10%. Doesn't seem like enough for account for that difference in performance does it?

    4.3 seconds for a car with less than 200bhp/tonne does sound rather optimistic, even with 4wd. Especially with period tyres and electronics.

  • rampageturke 12 Sep 2018

    Please stop giving Motorhub publicity.

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