• 2021 GMC Canyon Syclone by Specialty Vehicle Engineering

SVE is back with the second edition of the modern-day Syclone; this time with 750 horses under the hood!

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We’ve been seeing a lot of revived monikers lately, so why not add one more to the list? This one, however, is revived by an aftermarket company and not the automaker itself. We’re talking about the GMC Syclone that was launched almost three decades back but was way ahead of its time. Specialty Vehicles Engineering, an aftermarket company based out of New Jersey, brought the Syclone badge back last year, and now it is following up with the 2021 model.

The 2021 Syclone is based on the 2021 GMC Canyon.The highlight of the 2021 Syclone is that it has 300 horses more than its predecessor, the 2019 GMC Syclone. We’re talking about 750 horses in a compact truck with a variety of other upgrades and a moniker that set the path to change the course of how trucks are generally viewed. Need we say anything more?

A Little History On Syclone and SVE

2021 GMC Canyon Syclone by Specialty Vehicle Engineering Exterior
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Quick, fast trucks are mainstreaming slowly, but back in the day, they were unheard of. GMC dared to do the unthinkable when it launched the GMC Syclone back in 1991. The truck had cat-like agility and could sprint to 60 mph from a standstill in 4.3 seconds. To put things into perspective, the Porsche 911 Turbo used to take 4.4 seconds and the Chevy Corvette ZR-1 needed 4.9 seconds to hit the same mark back then.

This was more than enough to scare the bejesus out of people because back then, trucks were just people and luggage haulers.

The Syclone was powered by a 4.3-liter, turbocharged V-6 engine that made 480 horses. The truck, as expected, didn’t succeed and GMC could move only 2,995 copies before pulling the plug on it.

The moniker was retired then and there, but seeing that fast trucks were becoming a thing now, Specialty Vehicles Engineering purchased the license and rights from GMC a few years back. SVE still uses the ‘GMC’ badge in the name, but it has nothing to do with the automaker.

2019 GMC Syclone by SVE
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SVE introduced the new-era Syclone in 2019 and it was essentially a GMC Canyon with a performance package. So, this means the Syclone is not a truck in itself, but just a package. SVE tried to replicate the specs on this reincarnated version of the truck. It came with a 3.6-liter, V-6 supercharged mill that churned out 455 horses and 425 pound-feet of torque. The engine was mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox that helped the truck gallop to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.

How Does The 2021 SVE Syclone Look On The Outside?

2021 GMC Canyon Syclone by Specialty Vehicle Engineering Exterior
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The 2021 SVE Syclone is based on the 2021 GMC Canyon extended cab with a short bed. There are a lot of cosmetic upgrades, but it doesn’t look radically different from the standard Canyon.

Seeing the grille, it seems to be based on the AT4 trim. SVE has given it the black treatment all around. The headlights and grille are retained, and so is the GMC badge on the grille. The company has added a huge ABS-composite hood scoop in the body shade along with flat black louvers. It has a ‘750 HP’ badge in contrasting colors for people to know that this truck means serious business. The same badge is slapped on the tailgate as well.

2021 GMC Canyon Syclone by Specialty Vehicle Engineering Exterior
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The side profile is devoid of any chrome and receives prominent indents on all the fenders above the wheel arches. The front doors have red ‘Syclone’ badges on them. The truck rides on 20-inch forged aluminum, satin-black finished wheels. These six-spoke wheels have red rim borders, red calipers, and ‘Syclone’ branding on one of the spokes. They are wrapped around Michelin Pilot Sport 285/40 Performance tires.

2021 GMC Canyon Syclone by Specialty Vehicle Engineering Exterior
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The rear is subtle when compared to the front and side profile. The tailgate has ‘Syclone” embossed on it. There’s also has an SVE limited-edition tailgate badge. The company has also equipped thermoformed bumper steps and rocker extensions in the body color. SVE is offering a black folding tonneau cover by Bak Industries as an optional accessory. Overall, the truck looks hot in the black shade with tasteful badges all around.

How Is The 2021 SVE Syclone On The Inside?

2021 GMC Canyon Syclone by Specialty Vehicle Engineering Exterior
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Things on the inside and almost stock, except for a few updates. These include:

  • ‘Syclone V8 Supercharged’ logo embroidered on the headrests
  • Floor mats with the Syclone logo
  • Numbered Syclone power badge which is basically a sequential serial number for each of the models built

Since this is based on the AT4 trim, it would’ve been nice if the Kalahari accents were retained on the seats. SVE is letting you have either black seats with red and white stitching, or black and white stitching on Cocoa dune seats. This pattern is exclusive only to the AT4 trim and it would’ve made the Syclone feel even more special. Other than this, a Bose audio system will be offered and there’s no reason for SVE to eliminate that.

What Powers The 2021 SVE Syclone?

2021 GMC Canyon Syclone by Specialty Vehicle Engineering
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Now, let’s get to the highlight of the SVE Syclone. This beast is powered by a 5.3-liter, supercharged V-8 engine that churns out 750 ponies and 600 pound-feet of torque!

Power is sent to all the wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox that SVE has completely upgraded. SVE has said that the 2021 Syclone is equipped with heavy-duty driveshafts at the front and rear. A transfer case is also present that sends 62-percent of the power to the rear wheels. If the truck senses trouble gaining traction, it can send the full torque to either front or the rear wheels.

SVE has also included an air-to-water intercooler that’s complemented by an air-to-air intercooler in front of the radiator to maintain a higher power level at all times. As for the brakes, SVE has done a high-performance brake upgrade that includes six-piston forged front calipers and two-piece 13.6-inch slotted front rotors. The truck also comes with a centrifugal supercharger, like its predecessor, that uses a planetary gearbox that does not create the typical whining sound coming from a supercharger. No whoooooosh from your truck despite all that power.

2021 GMC Canyon Syclone by Specialty Vehicle Engineering Exterior
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SVE has tweaked the suspension system as well. The truck sits two inches lower at the front and five inches at the back and this greatly reduces the body roll. The tuner has used a heavy-duty rear sway bar and slightly more aggressive shocks. The aftermarket company has installed a custom stainless steel exhaust system with high-flow cats to create a very sweet grunt minus the supercharger whining.

Surprisingly, SVE didn’t release the 0-60 mph figures for the 2021 Syclone. The 2019 model could do the sprint in 4.5 seconds, whereas the original GMC Syclone could do it in 4.3 seconds. This one is way more powerful than both those iterations. Will it be the fastest of the lot? We’ll wait for SVE to announce these figures.

How Much Does The 2021 SVE Syclone Cost?

2021 GMC Canyon Syclone by Specialty Vehicle Engineering Exterior
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SVE has not announced the pricing for the 2021 Syclone yet. The aftermarket company has said that it will build only 50 examples of this truck.

We’re expecting it to cost over $60,000. That’s without the cost of the donor vehicle, by the way. The 2019 Syclone was $39,995 plus donor vehicle cost. This time around, there is a whole lot of extra power, a new engine, and also other factors like inflation, cost of materials, etc. The 2021 GMC Canyon AT4 is priced at $39,395, so expect the whole truck + package combo to cost you north of the six-digit figure.

SVE is offering a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty on the engine, supercharger, transmission, as well as the other non-limited components. This needed a special mention because SVE has tweaked heavily all of the major parts in the truck.

Final Thoughts

2021 GMC Canyon Syclone by Specialty Vehicle Engineering Exterior
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The Syclone badge is certainly very special and SVE has done a great job with it. The truck is powerful, comes with a whole lot of changes under the hood, and looks swell on the outside. I feel the cabin could’ve received a complete makeover, perhaps with some touches from the original Syclone to make it a complete package.

Nevertheless, the truck in this form, too, looks desirable. Surprisingly, SVE has not revealed the 0-60 mph timings. We’ll update it once it’s out. You can expect it to be on par with the 1991 truck or even quicker. But, all in all, the 2021 SVE is one hell of a product.

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
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