HomeThe MarketVintage pickup vs. new Camaro SS 1LE

Vintage pickup vs. new Camaro SS 1LE


Chevrolet’s 2017 Camaro SS 1LE may be a road-going rocket, but so was a pickup truck that General Motors produced nearly 30 years ago, GMPartsOnline.net reminds us with a news release and side-by-side performance comparison chart.

Camaro, Vintage pickup vs. new Camaro SS 1LE, ClassicCars.com Journal

“The 1991 Syclone is Surprisingly Fast, Even Today,” the online parts supplier points out. “The state-of-the-art Camaro just edges the old truck by two-tenths of a second in a 0-60 run.”

“The (GMC) Syclone was a street racer, said to be great at cornering,” Angel Vigil, director of GMPartsOnline.net, is quoted in the news release. “After comparing the 0 to 60 times, we wondered if the truck had the tech of today and GM’s more advanced engines, could it leave the 1LE in the dust?”

The news release notes that the Syclone concept came from Buick engineers. 

“The Buick Grand National had been discontinued in the late ‘80s. The engineers from the Grand National project took the 3.8-liter engine from the car and put it into a Chevy S-10. The Buick Grand National pickup was pitched to General Motors management, but they shot it down. The team approached Chevrolet management with the concept. Chevy also declined, as the little truck would compete with the 454 SS Sport Truck. 

“Finally, the GMC division, seeking to compete with Chevy, jumped at the opportunity.”

In production guise, the Syclone carried a 4.3-liter turbocharged V6 rated at 280 horsepower and 355 pound-feet of torque, making its more powerful than the 1991 Chevrolet Corvette’s L98 engine.

“It was rumored that the Syclone engine was underrated so as not to challenge the Corvette ZR-1 LT5 engine, which produced 375 hp / 370 lb.ft.,” the news release reports.

In addition to power, the Syclone had all-wheel drive. “It featured a viscous coupled center differential that split power 35 percent/65 percent front to rear,” the online parts company said. 

“It also had a limited-slip rear differential. Even though the Syclone has less power than the Camaro, its drivetrain excels at getting the power to the ground. The truck’s all-wheel drive system was strictly for on-road adventures. It included exclusive 16×8-inch aluminum wheels with 245/50/16 Firestone Firehawk tires.”

Another surprise: “Even though it’s a body-on-frame truck, it only weighs 3,525 lbs. That’s almost 250 pounds lighter than the 2017 “‘rack package’ Camaro SS 1LE.”

The Syclone was a limited-production vehicle with only 2,995 rolling off the assembly line.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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