Even before performance-oriented SUVs, General Motors shattered its crystal ball in the early ’90s with the original hi-po ute, the GMC Typhoon. There’s currently a 1993 model listed on the Bring a Trailer auction site—which it seems Car and Driver, is part of Hearst Autos. While the Typhoon in question isn’t museum quality, it is a piece of history that I can destroy without feeling guilty.
The first thing I noticed about the ’93 Typhoon in the BaT was the Corvette C4’s 16-inch wheels. Personally, I like the look of the turbine-style rims, also known as “salad shooters” by some. Call it blasphemous, but stock 16-inch SUVs have never really appealed to me. Also, I like that the Vette-sourced settings are period correct.
The magic of the GMC Typhoon’s performance comes from its turbocharged 4.3-liter V-6 and traction-optimizing all-wheel drive system. From the factory, the engine is good for 280 horsepower and a substantial 350 pound-feet of torque. In 1993, the Typhoon’s force-fed V-6 was more powerful than the naturally aspirated Chevy Camaro’s LT1 V-8. Think of the GMC SUV as the ancestor of the Hellcat-powered Dodge Durango and the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.
Anyone familiar with the two-door S-15 Jimmy will recognize its cargo-bed twin, the mechanically identical GMC Syclone. The final claim to fame came when we pitted a 1991 example against a ’91 Ferrari 348ts—the pickup truck blasted the side doors of the Italian exotic.
Not only did the Cyclone’s zero-to-60-mph time of 5.3 seconds beat the Ferrari by seven-tenths, but also won the drag race. The GMC raced 1,320 feet in 14.1 seconds at 93 mph, while the 348ts took 14.5 ticks at 99 mph. The transitive property suggests the Typhoon would do the same thing, since the one we tested in 1992 had nearly the same results (its trap speed was actually 2 mph faster).
Even by today’s standards, the GMC Typhoon’s test numbers still hold up. In fact, its 30 to 50 mph time of 2.9 seconds is only 0.2 behind the 2022 Porsche Macan S. For comparison, Porsche’s SUV has a 375-hp (also 500 pounds heavier) twin-turbo V-6.
The only test results that haven’t aged well for the Typhoon are its low cornering grip (0.79 g) and longish 70-mph-to-zero braking distance (185 feet). However, both numbers are likely to improve when tested on modern summer tires versus the long-worn original Firestone Firehawk SVX rubber.
It’s hard to say how well the Typhoon up for auction will hold up to track testing. As I mentioned before, it is a bit rough around the edges. While it exhibits a reasonable 85,000 miles, it also has some cracked and loose body cladding, and appears to have a few spots of rust underneath. Still, the leather seats weren’t ripped or badly worn, and, unlike the Cyclone, the Typhoon had a rear seat so I could take three friends on the obligatory ride of hell.
The ’93 Typhoon on Bring a Trailer has a high bid of $11,750, as of this writing, with the unreserved auction ending Thursday. If I had disposable income (I don’t) and the final bid wasn’t much higher, I’d be happy to add GMC’s cult classic on C4 Corvette rim to my collection.