Jay Leno Shows Off His 1991 GMC Syclone
New Episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage” Focuses on Sport Truck
With a conservatively rated 280 turbocharged horsepower on tap routed to all four wheels, it’s not surprising that Jay Leno would own the quickest-accelerating car from the 1991 model year. What is surprising is that car is the showroom-stock GMC Syclone pickup truck.
The late-night-comedy juggernaut gives the world a look at his Ferrari-beating GMC on the latest episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage.” The Sonoma-based Syclone, which he bought new, comes packing a massive punch courtesy of its 4.3L V-6, suitably boosted with a turbocharger and air-water intercooler. While it was advertised at 280 hp, it likely produced more than 330, which gave the Syclone a 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds. In its day, that was a faster time than the Chevrolet Corvette, Ferrari 348 TS, or Ferrari Testarossa. While its top speed suffered for the truck’s blocky shape, its acceleration was nothing to sneeze at, clearing 90 mph in the quarter mile.
However, that muscle didn’t translate into much hauling ability. Its hunkered-down sports suspension gave it a payload rating of 500 pounds (a true 1/4-ton), and it cost $25,970 when new (nearly $46,000 in today’s money). As a pickup with just two seats and limited bed-hauling capacity, it didn’t make the most sense. Luckily, however, the Syclone also spawned the Typhoon, which was based on the two-door GMC Jimmy. With an extra pair of seats and some enclosed cargo space, a crafty dad could maybe convince his wife that their new GMC SUV was merely a very stylish grocery-getter, not one of the quickest vehicles on the planet.
Jay Leno knows the value of his truck and not just in terms of money. The Syclone is a seriously wicked piece of metal, compromised truckability notwithstanding. Its robust enthusiast following, impressive reliability (for an early-‘90s high-performance turbo), and era-defining performance ensure the Syclone’s place in the history books. Check out the video below to hear Jay himself give viewers the full rundown on this fascinating little GMC.