Cool Car Find: 1993 GMC Typhoon

The GMC Typhoon was the original performance SUV. Check out this 1993 GMC Typhoon example for sale on Carsforsale.com!

The GMC That Started Performance SUVs

1993 GMC Typhoon - carsforsale.com
1993 GMC Typhoon - carsforsale.com

SUVs have become the most popularized segment in the automotive market. They have plenty of seating, offer great cargo space, and there are even some that can outrace modern sports cars. The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, Lamborghini Urus, Porsche Cayenne, and so many other performance SUVs are out there on the market with powerplants that can send them from 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds or less. This wasn’t always the case though.

When SUVs first came onto the scene, they were typically designed to serve as a family hauler or an off roader and that was it. That all changed when GMC took the platform that made their performance truck so successful and shoved it into one of their SUVs in the ‘90s. Learn more about the GMC Typhoon and take a look at a great example of the original performance SUV for sale on Carsforsale.com!

The GMC Typhoon – Successor to the Syclone

1981 No.11 Darrel Waltrip Buick Regal Nascar - foxsports.com
1981 No.11 Darrel Waltrip Buick Regal Nascar - foxsports.com

The story of the GMC Typhoon actually points back to Buick racing in NASCAR in the ‘80s. After their Buick Regal secured back-to-back NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National championships, the brand decided to celebrate with the Regal Grand National. This trim level was essentially a visual package that installed a naturally aspirated 4.1L V8 under the hood in 1982, but the celebratory name would return as its own model in 1984.

1987 Buick Grand National - media.buick.com
1987 Buick Grand National - media.buick.com

The Buick Grand National packed a turbocharged 3.8L V6 engine with sequential fuel injection that put out 200 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. It was on par with the Chevrolet Corvette in terms of performance and would actually outdo GM’s favorite sports car with the 1986 model that added an air-to-air intercooler and adjusted boost to help generate 235 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. It was the fastest American production model of its time, but GM told Buick to shutter the model after 1987.

Engineers still wanted to utilize the Grand National’s turbocharged engine within another format, so they shopped around the idea of a Grand National inspired truck to GM brands. Chevrolet declined having their S-10 paired with the engine as they already had the 454 SS in the works. GMC also declined to install the 3.8L V6 into their Sonoma pickup, but GMC actually picked up the Grand National inspired truck idea and put their own spin on it.

1991 GMC Syclone - media.gmc.com
1991 GMC Syclone - media.gmc.com

GMC Introduced the GMC Syclone for 1991, a blacked-out street truck that carried a 4.3L V6 engine paired with a Mitsubishi sourced TD06-17C turbocharger and a Garret water-to-air intercooler. The Syclone produced 280 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque that was sent through a full-time all-wheel-drive powertrain. It was capable of a 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, named the Fastest Accelerating Vehicle and Fastest Production Pickup Truck, and was popularized for having bested a Ferrari 348TS at the dragstrip. GMC stopped production after producing just 2,998 examples of the sleeper performance pickup for 1991 and 1992 though. While fans of the Syclone were sad that the model had ended, GMC made sure to follow up with another performance oddity that shared the same platform with the Sonoma – the GMC Jimmy.

1992 GMC Typhoon - carsforsale.com
1992 GMC Typhoon - carsforsale.com

The GMC Jimmy was a mid-size SUV based off the Chevrolet S-10 Blazer of the same time. This economy classed SUV was given the turbocharged 4.3L V6 engine used in the Syclone, the same Garrett water-to-air intercooler, the same AWD system, upgraded brakes, sports tuned suspension, and some of the same exterior components to create the first production performance SUV – the GMC Typhoon. It could sprint to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and kept the GMC sleeper dream alive.

1992 GMC Typhoon - carsforsale.com
1992 GMC Typhoon - carsforsale.com

The Typhoon differed in a couple other key areas aside from just body style from the truck it was based on though. GMC added a self-leveling rear suspension to the Typhoon, plus it was also available in more colors than just black. It could of course still be found in the Syclone’s black on black style still, but it was also available in Frost White, Apple Red, Bright Teal, Forest Green, Aspen Blue, Raspberry Metallic, Radar Blue, or Garnet Red. Some of these alternate colorways are rarer than others, but of the 4,697 Typhoons built between 1992 and 1993, Frost White looks the best in my opinion. Let’s check out an example of this icy performance SUV for sale right now!

This 1993 GMC Typhoon on Carsforsale.com

1993 GMC Typhoon - carsforsale.com
1993 GMC Typhoon - carsforsale.com

MGM Classic Cars listed this Frost White 1993 GMC Typhoon on Carsforsale.com with only 83,200 miles on the odometer for $32,754. It’s all original, well maintained, garage kept, and virtually rust free. This isn’t a one-owner vehicle as it changed hands four previous times, but the Typhoon comes with documented service records and no accident history to keep your mind at ease.

The exterior of this GMC Typhoon is great. The paint looks terrific, the bumpers and side skirts look pristine, and the original wheels look decent given how easily those ‘90s GM designs show age. The only real blemish noticed was a scratch on the rear driver’s side window, but that’s pretty minor. Under the hood, the turbocharged 4.3L V6 looks clean and all original. Inside, this SUV is showing its age a bit. The carpets are slightly discolored, the seat upholstery has some creasing from use, but it’s otherwise well kept.

While it has some very minor items of note that may detract from this example, this Typhoon is a great ‘90s collectible regardless. Plus, with it having actually been driven rather than sat in a garage, you can feel less anxiety putting your own seat time in and truly enjoy this performance SUV. That’s how GMC intended the Typhoon be experienced anyways – out on the open road showing off in one of America’s greatest sleepers.

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Jesse McGraw

Jesse McGraw brings his life-long car obsession into his writing. A fun childhood that involved growing up around race tracks, working on a rusty ‘99 Dodge Dakota held together by zip ties, and collecting Hot Wheels developed into a strong appreciation for automotive history. If there is an old, obscure, or rare car, he wants to know about it. With a bachelor's degree in Web Development & Design from Dakota State University, Jesse can talk shop about car or computer specs, focusing on classic cars, imports, and car culture.

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