Monday, June 9, 2014

Storm's Comin'!

Sometimes I'll be gazing out at some vehicle for a while before it dawns on me what it is I'm actually seeing. The other day I found myself looking at this squat little Blazer parked across the street from the shop when I noticed the big wheels and gaudy ground effects package. 
Then it hit me; TYPHOON!
 Yes that Jurassic Park looking font on the back means that this is an exceedingly rare little SUV.
For 1992 and 1993 only GMC produced a small number of these turbocharged factory-custom race trucks. They were basically the GMC Jimmy with bigger wheels/tires/brakes, lowered suspension, and the aforementioned turbocharged V6. You also got the plastic ground effects as a part of the deal with TYPHOON written on it in that goofy font.
This extra-large hose and what might be a transmission cooler look impressive until you notice all the duct tape holding it together.
As you can see this example is missing about 50% of it's plastic moldings. Judging by the multiple colors of plastic on display here I'm guessing those pieces are about as hard to find replacements for as anything automotive from the last 30 years.
They built a pickup truck version of this during the same time which was called the Syclone. All in all they built under 5,000 of these total over the 2 year run. Most of them were black on black and less than a 10th of them were this Apple Red with Gray combo.
 When they came out they were compared to Corvettes and Ferraris by the automotive press due to their impressive performance! This is really as much a testament to state of Corvette and Ferrari at the time as a plug for TYPHOON.
Again, the only reason to acquire something so faded like this is due to extreme rarity. If you owned this truck and wanted to restore it you'd be on the phone with every junk yard in the country asking if they had any Typhoon/Syclone trim pieces. This one probably came off of a truck sitting in the bright West Coast sunlight due to it's level of fade.
One truly bizarre feature of the Typhoon that the Syclone didn't even have is air powered self-leveling suspension. If you loaded 500 lbs of bricks on one side of the truck the suspension would raise the sagging side so it sat plumb. The only other vehicles I know of that had this feature were Packard Caribbeans from 1954 and 1955. Weird decision by GMC.
Curiosity got the better of me and I searched for some trim prices for this little donkey. The only thing I found was an archived comment thread from 2005 where $4,500 was quoted for a kit that didn't include bumpers. I don't expect to see this one completely restored any time soon, but then again, I didn't expect to see one at all!

No comments:

Post a Comment