Fair warning, this next story is bound to upset some of our readers, as it involves rendering a rare and powerful GMC Syclone into a fairly typical drag truck. Considering just 3,000 Syclones were ever built, and the turbocharged V6 motor (a notion borrowed from the Grand National) is considered by many to be something of a sacred motor, replacing it with something as “pedestrian” as a LSX stroker engine is just bound to rub some people the wrong way.
Yet seeing Tom Joy’s Maryland-based Syclone in action may change a few minds, especially as it leaves some thoroughly modern challengers (hint hint) from the big three far, far behind.
The original Syclone came with a turbocharged 4.3 liter LB4 V6 engine that left the factory with ratings as high as 280 horsepower and 360 lb-ft of torque. This motor was notably bigger than the aforementioned Grand National, and when it launched the Syclone was the fastest factory pickup in the world. Today, a clean example can bring around $20,000 at auction, and we suspect that number will continue to rise as years wear on.
The turbo V6 has been discarded in this case, however, for a turbocharged 408 cubic-inch LSX stroker engine backed by a 4L80E automatic transmission. Though the original drivetrain is gone, Tom (and his family, being that this was a team effort) kept the all-wheel drive setup, noting that the front differential has something like 132,000 miles on it, and keeps on working.
His family also did all of the fabrication work required to perform this unholy engine swap, and we have to take our hats off to these heretical racers, as well as the original GM engineers who built this Syclone to last. The AWD advantage helps the Syclone gain a great start on a C6 Corvette, S550 Mustang, and even a Challenger Hellcat – never looking back.