The stage is set. The time is right. The stars are aligned. It’s time for General Motors to seriously consider bringing back an often-forgotten gem in its somewhat recent history: the GMC Typhoon.
I just griped not too long ago about the fact that General Motors, one of the biggest automotive behemoths in the world, offers exactly zero performance SUVs. Shortly after I wrote that, it dawned on me that GM has a legendary name in its portfolio that it should dust off and bring back to the market. The GMC Typhoon would be a perfect way for GM to finally build an SUV with a focus on being fun to drive — and the perfect platform and perfect engine already exist for it.
But before I get into my fantasy of what a 2020 GMC Typhoon would be, let’s recap on what the old one was. It was a limited-production, high-performance version of the GMC Jimmy (the GMC version of the Chevrolet S10 Blazer) with 4,697 examples built between 1991 and 1993. They all had two doors and all-wheel drive (AWD), most of them were black (and some were teal), and they were powered by a turbocharged 4.3-liter V6 engine making 280 horsepower and 360 lb-ft of torque. It had a 0-to-60 mph time of 5.3 seconds and it could run the quarter-mile in 14.1 seconds at 95 mph. Not too shabby at all for a midsize SUV from the early ’90s.
So where is this thing today? GM built one of the forefathers of the performance SUV almost 30 years ago, and such an SUV is absent from GMC showrooms today — at a time when SUVs are all anybody wants. Now, I know it’s popular to demand automakers to bring back an old model just because you like that model and want a new version to exist so you can buy a used one in a decade, but I firmly believe that a new and improved Typhoon would make business sense while simultaneously making car enthusiasts much more interested in GMC.
The reason I believe the time is right for the return of the Typhoon is that the name of the original Typhoon’s stablemate has just returned from a long hiatus — the Chevy Blazer. Yes, I know, the new unibody Blazer is pretty different from the old truck-based Blazer, but that’s what people like now, so get over it. GMC is a brand built on rebadging Chevy trucks and SUVs, and there currently isn’t a GMC version of the new Blazer.
OK, so it has a platform, but what about the engine? Surely I’m not suggesting a new SUV bearing the Typhoon name use the ordinary V6 available in the Blazer, am I? I thought you’d never ask. The name Typhoon alludes to the fact that there’s forced induction happening under the hood and I certainly think that should still be the case in a new Typhoon. I believe the perfect candidate for a turbocharged V6 in a modern-day Typhoon exists in the form of the LF4 engine which saw duty in the Cadillac ATS-V. This is a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 that makes 464 hp and 445 lb-ft of torque in the ATS-V making up to 18 psi of boost and has various performance upgrades over the tamer LF3 like revised turbochargers, high-flow fuel injectors, etc. This engine, I believe, would deliver strong enough performance to truly live up to the Typhoon name.
Clearly, this is a big dream, and it’s one that probably won’t happen. If GMC does get its own variant of the Blazer, it will probably be not very different at all from the Blazer aside from aesthetics and the addition of a Denali trim. If any GMC name is resurrected from the dead, it would probably be Envoy. But a family man who loves driving can dream, right? Find a GMC Typhoon for sale