From the September 1991 affair of Car and Driver.
We’ll try to accumulate this discreet—your mother ability be reading—but, aloof amid us guys, we all apperceive that bisected the fun of a fast car is continuing on the pedal, pivoting those throttles advanced open, and seeing the dupe in the abutting lane aback out of your borderline eyes as if he had it in reverse. Adios, hairhat.
It gets better. Can we accede that a fast car rises to its accomplished and best use aback you booty the guy’s money, too? Bigger yet, get his pink?
Street antagonism for keeps may appear bottomward to a boss application shoot-out, but it begins on a altered agenda entirely—it begins with a con. Success relies on the art of affairs a accident proposition. You attending for the aloof array and you appearance aloof abundant to get him interested—not abundant to accomplish him wary. You accept to act a little dumber than he absolutely is.
Pickup trucks are a appealing impaired act. Dress them up about you want; anything that can booty a month’s account of horse aliment in one cruise is still the barbarian from Omaha. Heh, heh.
Do you anticipate they’ve heard about the GMC Syclone bottomward at the bracken bar? How about over at the racquetball courts? Let’s cartel to anticipate big. How aerial on the bluster ladder could you advertise a accident hypothesis if you played the barbarian to abounding John Goodman dimensions? Uh, accept they heard of the Syclone over in Maranello?
The Syclone, in case you haven’t heard either, is a little atramentous GMC pickup, hunkered bottomward over billowing Firestones, array of like a artery jailbait in a beef T-shirt. Its admixture auto are blatant ablaze and its red-splash “Syclone” decals could be the latest attending in lick-’em-‘n’-stick-’em super-graphics. Born in the U.S.A.—in Shreveport, Louisiana, to be exact—the Syclone is your basal prairie ploughboy in Saturday-night-fever duds. One attending at this allotment and you apprehend to apprehend “boompa, boompa, boompa” from half-ton woofers. Talk about a ruse.
Because, beneath the atramentous beef T-shirt is—surprise!—genuine bad-ass, street-fighter muscle. This barter has specifications!—hardware that’ll accomplish fast cars cringe. It has power: 280 horsepower at 4400 rpm, from 4.3 liters of V-6, turbocharged to 14-psi addition and liquid-intercooled. It has traction: full-time four-wheel drive with a centermost differential and a adhesive coupling that distributes 35 percent of the torque to the advanced wheels, 65 percent to the rears. There’s additionally a limited-slip cogwheel in the rear axle. Moreover, the Syclone has a chiral that makes the best marriage amid the ability and the traction. It’s a four-speed automatic. The torque advocate hastens the agent into its best-boost range, thereby aspersing turbo lag; it additionally prevents the begrimed clamp afterlife that’s all too acceptable aback you try to booty advantage of four-wheel-drive traction to hustle off the line.
The way pickups stop is usually far added agitative than the way they go, but the Syclone has the acknowledgment for that asperity too. It has ABS brakes as accepted equipment. Dog-dish admeasurement (9.5inch-diameter) drums are acclimated at the rear—not too absorbing until you apprehension that this vehicle, aback empty, has alone 37.1 percent of its weight in back. And abandoned is the way it’ll usually be driven. Beneath adamantine braking, best of the annoy loading will alteration forward, so the drums absolutely don’t accept abundant to do aback there.
The Syclone has the accouterments to be about the baddest artery cleaner to cycle off a Detroit exhibit in 1991. Yet everybody’s two eyes say it’s aloof a jailbait pickup barter all togged out in the latest off-the-rack fashions from Pep Boys. A betray like that should booty in added blooming than a bench in Congress.
The accord is this. We go by two-lane blacktop rules. Money in front. From a continuing start, we’ll awning 1320 feet. On three. One pass. Champ takes all.
As we said earlier, antagonism for bucks comes bottomward to the art of affairs a accident proposition. And you appetite to advertise big the aboriginal time because the chat gets out fast.
Ferrari guys accept big money. And a lot of swagger. They’re acclimated to everybody genuflecting in their presence. Would a arrogant 348t owner—high on applause and on rippah, rippah noises from his prancing-horse, mid-engine V-8—deign to put it on an aloft auto truck?
Is the Pope a bachelor?
We’ll additional you the sales calligraphy to align this match. What affairs is the outcome. And according to cyberbanking witnesses, here’s the play-by-play.
Is the alley secure? Yes. The Ferrari makes two annoy burns, aloof to get a feel for the grip.
With aloof over 60 percent of its weight on its advanced 255/45ZR-17 rear Bridgestones, the Italian has no botheration hooking up. The disciplinarian decides he needs 4500 rpm assuming on the tach aback he drops the clutch, aloof to accumulate from bogging.
The trucker, he aloof smiles. Don’t wanna put no calefaction in the intercooler.
They band up.
The barter shudders.
It seems to clamp up adjoin the brake. A hissing, whirring, affliction tornado of a complete builds beneath its atramentous hood.
Waarrreeeeeee. The Bridgestones go to blur. A gray-blue brume forms at the footstep patch. The Ferrari makes a absolute launch.
When the barter brakes appear off, full-boost torque is downloaded to all four wheels. They almost slip. Dispatch begins with such a blow the disciplinarian feels his breakfast consume rearward. In a blink, the Ferrari is attractive at tailgate. And the tailgate is accepting smaller. Bisected a car-length, one, two car-lengths of aurora amid them afore the Ferrari acme out of aboriginal gear. The chase has aloof amorphous and already it looks like a massacre.
Levering through the bewilderment of a Ferrari’s chiral chiral is consistently tricky, but the guy is good. No auto barter is activity to booty his candy. In additional gear, his singing V-8 seems to jump tempo, allegro to presto. The tailgate has chock-full shrinking. But it’s not looming larger, either.
Compared with the Italian, the barter is about soundless. But its alive is tricky, too, because the revs dispatch bound and the limiter will alarm a complete armistice at 4700 rpm aciculate (500 rpm beneath the redline). To clasp out the aftermost useful rev in the torque curve, the disciplinarian tries to barber the arrest amends as abutting as he can. He pushes the batten at 4450. The accessory changes are completed almost in time.
In third, the Ferrari begins to appearance its breeding. It’s recouping its losses. The barter is abrupt its able-bodied amateur adjoin the wind. The air can be bulled aside, but the accomplishment takes abroad from acceleration.
The end brand is advancing up. The slippery, wind-cheating Ferrari is into its aspect now, acquisitive up the gap. Can it breach through in the final kick? Its four-cam, 32-valve, all-aluminum V-8 engine, the pride of Maranello, screams with the affliction of effort.
No! The barter wins.
Get accessible for the loser’s weasel.
“One added time, bisected a mile this time around.”
“Okay, aforementioned distance, but alpha from a cycle this time.”
The adeptness racer knows his game, and he sticks to it.
The Syclone will exhausted a aboriginal $122,000 Ferrari 348ts. No agnosticism about it. If the calligraphy is right. Be accurate of calefaction though, because temperatures above, say, 75 degrees, account cogent ability losses. On air-conditioned days, the Syclone’s turbo, torque converter, and adhesive-tape absorption are adverse from aught to 60. Aloft 80 mph, it pays for its barter shape. It clears the quarter-mile in 14.1 seconds, compared with 14.5 abnormal for the Ferrari, but the Ferrari is affective 6 mph faster (99 mph against 93). The Ferrari grabs the advance actual anon afterwards the division and never looks back. Its top acceleration is 166 mph. The Syclone’s is 126.
But, hey, that’s a altered race. This is America, the acreage of go on green, and that’s the bold we comedy to lighten the pockets of the unwary. For American running, the Syclone has the cards. It’s baron of the traffic-light Grand Prix.
It additionally happens to be appealing abuse acceptable at the added moves we Americans apprehend of sports cars. It beats the Ferrari at braking, too, cartoon to a stop from 70 mph in 183 feet, four anxiety shorter. Cornering anchor is beneath but, at 0.80 g, it is still respectable. If after-effects calculation added than labels, the GMC Syclone is absolutely a sports car too that will accept to be reckoned with.
You may asphyxiate on the abstraction of a truck-shaped sports car. It’s a annoying idea, we admit. But what is a sports car, anyway? If you go aback over precedent, if you aggregate all the Austin-Healeys and Porsches and Jaguars and Corvettes and Lotuses and any Ferrari you affliction to name—a appealing adumbrative cantankerous section of 18-carat sports cars, wouldn’t you agree?—all they absolutely accept in accepted is a cockpit for two and a acute array of Reebok agility. The Syclone does absolutely that.
Okay, absolute sports cars accept more. They accept an exclusivity that comes from adapted accouterment and bound production. And they ride hard.
Again, the Syclone qualifies. All-wheel-drive anchor on the alley was artlessly alarming on the megabuck, not-legal-here Porsche 959. Yet you can’t get it on any added antic two-seater today. So the Syclone has absolute mechanicals. It has aberration too—only 3000 are planned for production. And the ride affection is chapped abundant to be adapted bottomward there with any red two-seater on earth.
Okay, you’ve heard our best rationalizations, now let’s accept a appearance of hands. How abounding of you accede that the Syclone is a sports car?
Uh, not many. Maybe that’s why—aside from bottomward the bang on Ferraris—the best fun affair about the Syclone is arguing what role it plays in the greater automotive pageantry. This little cross-dresser refuses to break in any distinct category.
It looks like a truck, and in that appointment it’s abutting to hopeless. Warnings central the tailgate and in the owner’s chiral forbid endless in balance of 500 pounds beneath affliction of “damage to drivetrain and suspension.” There’s not abundant abeyance biking larboard afterwards all the blurred that went on to get the hunkered-down look. Moreover, the springs advanced and rear accept been ashen to about passenger-car rates. The aftereffect is a ride that’s a bit jouncy but surprisingly un-trucklike. Carrying abundant added weight, though, would bound use up the actual abeyance travel.
Besides, annihilation you bandy in aback (after unsnapping the tonneau and removing its abutment ribs) had bigger be bendable as a bag of craven feed. Otherwise it’ll fly about the box like armament aback you crop to the Syclone’s enthusiasm for quick administration changes.
Because, never apperception the looks, what you feel in the Syclone is the aforementioned affectionate of cut-and-run activity that fabricated sports cars so abundant fun in the aboriginal place. Actually, the Syclone does it bigger than most, decidedly bigger than a Ferrari. You can ability the Syclone’s council wheel—not aloof the basal but all of it—and the ability abetment lets you grab big angles fast. But you don’t charge big angles, because the 50-series Firehawk SVXs on 8.0-by-16-inch auto acknowledge sharply. This barter feels like it could contrivance advancing bugs afore they hit the windshield.
And—amazingly—do it after anytime chirping a tire. In any sports car, but particularly the able ones, you’re consistently acquainted of the tires. They blemish for traction. You feel the blooper angles and drifts—and the hardly squirmy fishtails aback you go advanced accessible in aboriginal gear. That awareness is missing in the Syclone, as if it had some apostolic allotment from the laws of physics. What you feel is a accord that’s achievable alone with astounding traction. At metro-traffic speeds, the Syclone is an Olympic-class rat racer.
Stay off the bumps if you can. The solid rear arbor on blade springs remembers a few old bugaloo accomplish now and again. Mostly, they account ache rather than instability, because the amazing absorption keeps aggregate in line. But they admonish you that the Syclone is still aboriginal accessory of a truck.
The atramentous cockpit with its red brim reminds of accomplished Ferraris. But the Syclone’s controls are added affably placed. The leather-wrapped caster is appropriate. The bolt buckets action lateral abstemiousness in admeasurement to the machinery below, and there are clasp bulbs for pumping up the lumbar supports. We could use one added bang in the recline administration on the backrest-angle adjuster, though.
Generally, the affection in the ascendancy allowance is authentic Detroit. The animate offers accompanying cupholders, and the speedometer promises alone 120 mph. Still, the amplitude accommodates two occupants added generously than abounding sports cars. Baggage beyond than the thinnest of briefcases—and accordingly too big for the bottom spaces—will face boxy activity though. Not that the Syclone is after a trunk. Quite to the contrary, the baggage amplitude accessible beneath the tonneau is so immense that your being will ability supercollider velocities afore it thwacks the walls.
That is, unless you drive sensibly. But don’t accomplish promises you can’t keep. The admiration of the Syclone is not so abundant a auto that’ll do a Ferrari becloud on the bounded scenery, although that’s no baby trick. The absolute abracadabra is the way it makes this adequacy assume like a altogether wonderful idea.
Maybe, too, your mother will anticipate it’s aloof a truck.
1991 GMC Syclone
VEHICLE TYPEfront-engine, all-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door pickup
PRICE AS TESTED$26,120 (base price: $25,970)
ENGINE TYPE turbocharged and intercooled pushrod 12-valve V-6, adamant block and heads, anchorage ammunition injectionDisplacement 262 in3, 4300 cm3Power 280 hp @ 4400 rpmTorque 350 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm
CHASSIS Abeyance (F/R): ascendancy arms/live axle Tires: Firestone Firehawk SVX, 245/50VR-16 M S
DIMENSIONSWheelbase: 108.3 in Length: 180.5 in Width: 64.8 in Height: 60.0 in Passenger volume: 52 ft3Curb weight: 3600 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS30 mph: 1.6 sec60 mph: 5.3 sec100 mph: 17.8 sec120 mph: 37.4 secTop gear, 30–50 mph: 3.0 secTop gear, 50–70 mph: 4.6 sec1/4 mile: 14.1 sec @ 93 mphTop speed: 126 mphBraking, 70–0 mph: 183 ftRoadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.80 g
EPA FUEL ECONOMYCombined/city/highway: 15/14/17 mpg
1991 Ferrari 348ts
VEHICLE TYPEmid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door targa
PRICE AS TESTED$122,180 (base price: $122,180)
ENGINE TYPE DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, anchorage ammunition injectionDisplacement 208 in3, 3405 cm3Power 296 hp @ 5800 rpmTorque 224 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
CHASSIS Abeyance (F/R): ascendancy arms/control arms Tires: Bridgestone RE71, F: 215/50ZR-17 R: 255/45ZR-17
DIMENSIONSWheelbase: 96.5 in Length: 166.5 in Width: 74.6 in Height: 46.1 in Passenger volume: 47 ft3Frunk volume: 7 ft3Curb weight: 3300 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS30 mph: 2.0 sec60 mph: 6.0 sec100 mph: 15.3 sec120 mph: 23.7 secTop gear, 30–50 mph: 8.8 secTop gear, 50–70 mph: 8.3 sec1/4 mile: 14.5 sec @ 99 mphTop speed: 166 mphBraking, 70–0 mph: 187 ftRoadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.90 g
EPA FUEL ECONOMYCombined/city/highway: 15/13/18 mpg
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