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My GM Syclone Pickup Was a Sleeper Supercar

Popular Mechanics logo Popular Mechanics 12/8/2018 The Editors
a man riding on the back of a truck: "It’s still a monster off the stoplight."© DAYMON GARDNER "It’s still a monster off the stoplight."
  • Owner: David Dickman
  • Location: Pensacola, Florida
  • Found on: Autotrader
  • Purchase Price: $10,000
  • Years owned: 15

I always liked the mini trucks from the mid-eighties, like the Nissan Hardbody. The Syclone was so cool because it had that look, but it was also really fast. I remember when it beat a Ferrari back in ’91, when I was a teenager. They were selling for crazy money, and were out of my realm.

About a decade later though, I had some money, and started thinking about the Syclone again. It had always been in the back of my mind. I set up a search, and within a month, got a hit on one 35 minutes away. It was pretty much bone stock, and the owner had done the routine maintenance. I paid him the full amount that he asked, didn't haggle or anything. He wanted $10,000. I gave him $10,000.

After I bought it, I upgraded the boost, and started some other bigger projects. But then I realized I didn't want to do that. It’s too easy to get sucked in. Next thing you know, you're replacing too many original parts with some guy's aftermarket parts. I undid everything, and took it back to stock. Now, it’s just maintenance, which I do myself. Being turbocharged, it's a spaghetti mess of vacuum hoses. If you have to do something to it, you have to prepare yourself for several days of work.

a truck is parked in front of a car: Back in 1991, the Syclone could go zero-to-60 in 5.3 seconds.© Tom Drew for Car and Driver Back in 1991, the Syclone could go zero-to-60 in 5.3 seconds.

Only about 3,000 Syclones were made, all for the 1991 model year. It's so rare, and a bit of a GM cult classic. But the cool-factor is number one for me. I've never had a vehicle that everyone thought was that cool. People are always waving, giving thumbs up, shouting “Nice truck!”

Next thing you know, we're racing. And it’s still a monster off the stoplight. Mustang convertibles especially always want to race me. But the Syclone launches so fast because it's all wheel drive. I’ve literally gone a bit blurry.

a red and black truck parked in front of a car: Back in 1991, Car and Driver pitted the Syclone against the Ferrari 348ts. The truck had a faster zero-to-60 time (5.3 seconds versus 6.0 seconds).© Tom Drew for Car and Driver Back in 1991, Car and Driver pitted the Syclone against the Ferrari 348ts. The truck had a faster zero-to-60 time (5.3 seconds versus 6.0 seconds).

We just had a baby, so it can’t be my top priority right now, but I’ll never sell it. If I ever need to get rid of it, for whatever reason, my father has already told me he’ll buy it. I’ve kept it 15 years, even when it’s impractical. I just feel like I’d regret it if ever got rid of it.

I have a stepson. maybe when he's older and more responsible, he can inherit it. We’ll see.
 

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