Despite our version of Top Gear that’s geared more towards Detroit iron, Top Gear UK is all the rage here in America. While it’s difficult to explain why, it’s the British example is the one most enthusiasts prefer. The reason for this is open for debate, but many viewers simply prefer the charisma and shenanigans that the British cast bring to the table.
If you were to rewind the clock all the way back to 1991, however, you would find a very different version of Top Gear UK. One with a largely unfamiliar cast, and one that featured plenty of American cars – even if Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson would, on occasion, make judgmental comments about them.
In this particular case, a 31-year old Jeremy is testing a ’91 GMC Syclone through Doncaster in South Yorkshire, England for a review of the boosted, AWD pickup truck. While pointing out the smooth ride and power features, he does make mention of its farm implement roots, while trying to justify its high price based on looks and standard equipment alone.
Back in the early ’90s, pickup trucks and SUVs were just catching on as trendy “fashion accessories” that were starting to make their way through other parts of the world. Clarkson points this out as well, but it’s not until we see him pull into the staging lanes of York Raceway, a local dragstrip near Doncaster, that he casually mentions, “Oh yeah, there’s one more thing – it’s quite fast!”
As it turns out, Jeremy lost to a pair of 11-second race cars, including a fuel-injected, twin-turbocharged, big-block powered early C3 Corvette. He manages a 14.01 at 95 mph, which was very impressive for its time and for a bone-stock V6-powered pickup. He also points out that the GMC laid down 0-60 mph times in 4.6 seconds, which was on par with Lamborghini’s halo car at the time, the Diablo. As he states in the video, “…I don’t need a 6-figure supercar because this, as you might have guessed, ain’t no ordinary pickup truck.”
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of GMEFI Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.