SVE’s 2021 GMC Syclone Reimagines the Legendary 1990s Street Truck With 750 HP

Shortly after Chevrolet took the veils off the 454 SS for the 1990 model year, GMC revealed the much rarer Syclone. Fewer than 3,000 were produced, all of them featuring the almighty 4.3-liter LB4 turbo V6.
The first series-production truck with four-wheel ABS cranks out 280 horsepower and 350 pound-feet (475 Nm) of torque, resulting in ridiculous performance figures even by today’s standards. 4.3 seconds to 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour) is much better than 10.3 seconds for the Ranger Raptor with the EcoBlue bi-turbo diesel, there’s no mistaking that.

After the Syclone went out of production, the street truck as we know it has slowly but steadily disappeared from dealership lots. For example, for the 2021 model year, you can’t buy this kind of pickup directly from the dealer because Ford, General Motors, and the Ram division at Stellantis are more interested in off-road shenanigans than street cred.

This brings us to a New Jersey-based company, Specialty Vehicle Engineering, which has revived the Syclone with the help of the Canyon mid-size pickup. Instead of a free-breathing V6 or the Duramax diesel, the tuner has swapped the bone-stock engine with an upgraded L83. The 5.3-liter V8 features forged internals and a blower, just to name a few of the mods, and SVE quotes an eye-watering 750 horsepower at the crankshaft.

Capable of laying down 757 horsepower and 663 pound-feet (899 Nm) on the dyno, the Syclone appears to be intentionally underrated as far as on-paper specifications are concerned. All that suck-squeeze-bang-blow is channeled to either the rear wheels or all four by an eight-speed automatic transmission, the 8L90E, which is known for persistent shudder problems.

Other than the tranny, there’s a second downside to the 2021 model year GMC Syclone, and that is the starting price. $79,995 excluding the price of the GMC Canyon on which it’s based is top dollar for a mid-size pickup truck. Then again, there’s nothing quite like the SVE…

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