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Building Your Own GMC Syclone Out of a Beater S10 Is Way More Fun

We don't need to buy GMC Syclone. We have GMC Syclone at home.
YouTube/StayTuned

The original GMC Syclone was a bonkers performance truck before those were even really a thing. Just under 3,000 examples of the turbocharged, AWD weapon were built, making them sought-after rigs these days. YouTuber Tony Angelo couldn’t manage to buy a decent one, so he’s decided to build his own from scratch—as many have before.

The original Syclone was beloved for its mighty 4.3-liter turbocharged V6, which was good for 280 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. It sent power to all four wheels via a BorgWarner AWD transfer case and a 4L60 automatic transmission. Angelo realized that he could replicate this formula himself since most of the truck is built from GM parts bin gear. He’s now taking us along for the ride on his YouTube channel, Stay Tuned.

The truck is nicknamed the Sike Clone, a fitting moniker for a modern replica. Angelo is starting the build with a short-bed, short-cab 4×4 Chevy S10. Using a 4WD model is key to the build, as the two-wheel-drive models have a different frame that won’t readily accept the parts for an AWD swap.

From there, he had to track down a donor for all the necessary AWD parts that make the Syclone special. He elected to pick up an old 1994 Chevy Astro van. It’s got the necessary transfer case, 4.3-liter V6, 4L60 transmission, and all the other bits and pieces needed to make the AWD swap work. Even better, he was able to take the necessary parts out for just $800, before returning the truck to the junkyard he found it in.

Angelo stripped back the S10, pulling out the truck’s original 2.8-liter engine in the process. The cab and bed were also yanked off to make working on the rig easier. It makes a lot of sense given that most of the drivetrain has to be pulled off and swapped over.

Meanwhile, the 4.3-liter V6 from the Astro was treated to a $675 turbo kit straight from Amazon. Angelo notes it’s an easy powerplant to work with since it shares much of its design with the classic Chevy small block V8. It makes sourcing engine accessories and other parts a piece of cake. Notably, he plans to run a carburetor rather than fuel injection. Carbureted turbo setups aren’t the most common, but they can work well when tuned right with a proper boost-referenced carburetor.

The video ends with the now-turbocharged engine dropped into place on the S10 frame, along with a few other bits of the drivetrain bolted into place. Finding the right engine mounts is currently frustrating Angelo’s efforts, but it’s nothing he hasn’t tackled before. We can’t wait to see this build finished and smoking tires like a true Syclone should.

Got a tip? Let the author know: lewin@thedrive.com