Had Lawrence traipsed the Arabian peninsula during the Gulf War rather than the First World War, he may have been able to trade his camel for one of 113 specially made GMC Saudi Syclones like today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe candidate. You could drive one too, but will this truck's price make you say hump that!?
You've surely heard the joke about the fresh recruit to the French Foreign Legion who is stationed out in the Arabian desert. There's very little to do there, and, feeling somewhat bored he asks his superior what the men there do about sex. His better knowingly smiles and points to a camel tied to a post in the middle of the barracks and says that's what it is for. The recruit thanks him for the information and that night quietly slips from his barracks and tiptoes over to the sleeping camel where he proceeds to make sweet camel love to it. This causes the dromedary great panic and it starts braying loudly and foaming at the mouth. So much noise is caused by their non-consensual coupling that the entire fort rushes out to see what could be causing such a disturbance. Coming upon the recruit in the process of defiling the camel, the superior shouts at him what the hell are you doing? "What do you mean?" the recruit yells back, "You told me the camel was for sex! Of course it is, the superior retorts, you get on it and ride into town, that's where the women are!
Such confusion may also be engendered by today's candidate - a 1991 GMC Sonoma Syclone that has a somewhat unusual pedigree. Now, the Sonoma was named after the western-most valley in Northern California's venerable wine country, and the Syclone addendum is an OED ulcerating indication that it is powered by the 4.3-litre Vortec V6, upon which a Mitsubishi TD06-17C turbocharger has been affixed. But this particular S-15 derivation was originally intended for a market where neither wine nor storms are at all common - Saudi Arabia.
The Syclone maintains a wet to dry intercooler, which may have benefitted it in the arid Middle East. Behind the beefy 280-bhp six sits the journeyman 700R4 4-speed slusher and an all-wheel drive system featuring a 35/65 torque split. All that hardware contributed to the standard cab truck's weight, which was a not too portly 3,500-lbs. And, all of this is featured on every ‘Clone built, including the Saudi edition.
Contemporary tests of the single-year model noted that it would indeed haul ass as well as about a quarter ton of stuff in the bed - its zero to sixty time clocking in at about four and a half ticks. All of the nearly 3,000 Syclones built were burqa black - the planned '92 would have come in more hues, but were cancelled in preference of the sport ute Typoon. Before that happened, 150 ‘Clones were knocked out for export markets, including 113 for the oil barons in Saudi Arabia. These Saudi Syclones differed from their U.S. brethren in a small number of ways - they had a much less informative, but a whole lot more metric gauge cluster. Underneath, they gained a resonator in place of their catalytic converter and the O2 sensor was snipped off like it was married to Lorena Bobbit. Lastly, its ECM was remapped to address these emissions omissions and so it could run on leaded gas. As you might imagine, there's an entire web page dedicated to these trucks and those changes - which may be found over here.
Of those 113, it is said (at least by the seller of this one) that 31 made their way back to the U.S., of which this is one. It looks to be in excellent condition and rocks only 65,181 miles - or 104,899 kilometers according to its metric odometer - a goldilocks pleasing not too little and not too much. The boxy first-generation S-15 upon which the Sonoma was based looks about as ‘80s as you can imagine, but at least the Syclone-specific bodykit doesn't douche it up as it might have. The performance shouldn't seem ‘80s-like if it's still as strong as when it left the factory, and this ‘Clone should be good for thirteen and a half-second quarters and 116-mph top speed runs.
But what the seller is touting as special with this Syclone isn't its performance numbers but its production number - that being one of thirty-one in the U.S. of a one hundred and thirteen trucks in total that were originally shipped to Saudi Arabia. The thing of it is, all the parts of this truck that make it a Saudi Syclone are things you'd probably need to change in order to get it registered in most parts of the U.S.. Catalytic converter missing? Ruh-Roh Raggy. NM8 re-mapped ECM and disconnected O2 sensor? Um, yeah, that'll have to be fixed too. And that speedo and ginormous gas gauge IP? It looks like something out of a cheesy ‘50s sci-fi movie.
Okay, so it is a Saudi Syclone - which more than anything means that it probably wasn't driven by any women for the early part of its life - but other than that, why would it command a premium over a U.S. born and bred edition? At $16,900 command it does, as there are a number of equally clean ‘Clones on the market for fewer riyals. But then, that's up to you and your camel to decide. So, what do you think of this Saudi Syclone's $16,900 price? Is its rarity and uniqueness enough to warrant paying so much? Or, does that price leave you Sheikh-en but not stirred?
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