America’s Hottest New Sportscar is a Truck!

Turbo & Hi-Tech Performance

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It? Could driver Don Stringlet
w overcome the falling Ngbt aiK
creasing wind? The- truck wa
Theone.way tlme… 198 an
lange. The final mile (and final
ance) began. The truck buzzed
ist the anxious onlookers like
11et. Then came the cheers. Hi
d It** 210.069 on the second Im
aking a two.way average ol
4.145 mph for the flying mile. Ii
Safari van, the chassis is assembled with a
limited slip rear differential with a 3.42:1
ratio, the same gear ratio as up front. A four
wheel, anti-lock brake system (a first for
trucks) completes the package, with front
discs and rear drums.
To make sure the truck handles as well
as it moves, the stock ride height was
dropped about 2.5 inches. Torsion bars up
front and leaf springs in the rear are complemented
with Bilstein shocks and a 32 mm
anti-sway bar on the front end.
We recently had an opportunity to get
some “hands on” time with the Syclone at
Willow Springs Raceway. The esthetic
appeal of the truck is immediate. But the
real thrill comes when you get behind the
wheel of the “E-ticket” truck and press
down on the pedal.
Though the raceway didn’t offer the
advantage of a standing quarter-mile run for
acceleration, there was no doubt that the
records previously set at the strip in Detroit
could be equaled by this unit. The advantage
here, however, was the chance to see how
the truck worked under pressure.
Into the first turn, the natural reflex was
to let off on the gas a little, tap on the brake
just so, and punch it through the turn. With
this truck, that was unnecessary. The all
wheel drive split is near perfect for the
power; the Syclone seems to follow the
curves and corners the best when driven fast
and faster. With the revs kept up, the turbo
boost is maintained, and the same theory
that pulls front wheel drive vehicles around
corners comes into play with a rather large
“push” from the rear. This very trackable
stance would give one greater confidence
and control under rain and snow conditions.
And of course the ABS brakes will insure
that you can stop as well as you can go.
There are a couple of areas where the
Syclone may not compare to many highpriced
sports cars, but it is a truck. Considering
the fact that the truck as a curb weight of
3,526 pounds, with an extremely poor
weight distribution figure of 64 percent front
and 36 percent rear, it still handles better
than any other truck.
Another area that needs improvement is
the ECM. The factory shift point is around
4,200 rpm, with a fuel cutoff at about 4,400
rpm. This area will no doubt be addressed
by the afteimaitet with new PROM chips.
Higher boost pressures can be attained with
some reworking of the engine management
systems that could result in quarter mile
times that would threaten even some of the
hot Grand Nationals.
So what’s the price for all this fun and
excitement? At press time, GMC officials
are saying $15,500 “and we don’t want the
dealers to gouge the buyer.” The first year’s
production will be 2,000 to 2,500 units,
with nationwide availability.
46 TURBO/ MARCH 1991
Utilizing direct port injection and a large 350 TPI throttle body the Syclone boasts
280 horsepower in stock form. The sizing of the air/water intercooler below is
slightly questionable at this time, but we have valid reports that just about every
one of our current Buick performance advertisers have Syclones on order and our
guess would be that 10-second Syclones could happen as early as October.
GMC and PASS Engineering did a serious amount of homework getting the
Syclone to this performance level, which will blow the doors off just about everything
on the market today. From some of the data we have looked at this block
should be able to take at least as much as the Buick, and perhaps a little more. It
looks like the drive train is going to be the limiting factor, but at what point?
– —.—- IW
Helping with traction 245/50 VR 16 Firestone rubber all around transmits the
power to the ground from the 700R4 transmission coupled to a Borg Warner transfer
box. The 3.42 ratio should prove ideal for both cruising and acceleration testing
with any reasonable increases in performance.