Tate’s performance picks


Photo by Matthew Putney

Here is one of my picks that I own and its baby brother.

Tate Larsen, Staff Writer

Over the last century, a lot of cool cars and trucks have been made. I pared it down to five of the coolest in the last 30 years.

GMC Syclone

After the success of the small American truck market throughout the 80s with the Ford Ranger, Chevy S10 and the GMC Sonoma, as well as various small Asian pickups, GMC decided to give us a mini performance truck called the Syclone. This performance truck was the first of its kind, having a 4.3L V6 packed under the hood with a Mitsubishi TD06-17C Turbocharger and Garrett water/air intercooler. It weighed 3,765 pounds and put out 280 horsepower with 350lb-ft of torque and was capable of 0-60 in 4.3 seconds thanks to its all-wheel drive drivetrain. It could out accelerate a Ferrari of the time. It was only produced for one year, and it came in strictly black. Many people make the joke that you could get it in any color as long as it was black. Only 2,995 units rolled off the assembly line. There was a special edition Marlboro truck that you had to smoke pack-upon-pack to even have a chance at winning. It was bright red and only 10 were produced. The Syclone came with a sibling in 1991 known as the Typhoon, a SUV version of its brother. The pair became known as SyTy. The Typhoon came with the same engine as the Syclone but weighed a little bit more at 3,822 pounds. It also came in an assortment of colors such as red, black, white, teal, blue and forest green. I would love to own one of these trucks, but I’m afraid that I’m not going to fit due to the small size of them.

Ford Lightning

       Next we find ourselves in the rebirth of old, American muscle. Heavy cars plus tons of power equal loads of fun. The next three vehicles are from 2003. All are Ford produced. First, we start off with the second generation Ford F-150 SVT (special vehicle team) Lighting. The first generation Ford Lightning was introduced in 1993 and ran till 1996. It was intended to compete with GM’s 454SS muscle truck. The second generation Lighting was introduced in 1999 and stuck around until 2004. It was powered by a supercharged 5.4L triton V8 making 360 horsepower with 440lb-ft of torque and it weighed in at 4,670 pounds. Many call it the burnout queen because it had no weight over the rear wheels. It does 0-60 in 5.3 seconds, impressive for a truck especially in the early 2000s. The Lightning came in three colors black, bright red and Oxford white. In 2000 the Lightning got a fourth color in silver metallic. In 2001 power was boosted to 380 horsepower and 450lb-ft of torque. Over the next three years of its run the Lighting got three more colors with true blue in 2002 and then it was replaced with sonic blue and shadow grey in 03’ and 04’. If I had the money right now, this would be the vehicle I would buy, second only to the Marauder.

Ford SVT Cobra Mustang

        After the Fox body Mustang stuck around for almost 15 years, the fourth generation mustang (SN-95) was introduced in 1993, becoming more door stop looking like its competitor Camaro. I could talk all about the fourth gen Mustang, but that’s not why we are here. We are here to talk about the 2003-2004 Ford SVT Cobra Mustang. After low power numbers were put out by the stangs 4.6L V8 through the 90s, same engine as my precious Grand Marquis, the special vehicle team decided to put a Eaton M-112 blower on the 03’-04’ Mustang that they nicknamed “The Terminator” Cobra. This Mustang still had its staple 90s 4.6L V8 but this time packed a powerful punch of 390 horsepower coupled with 390lb-ft of torque and with a simple pulley upgrade for the blower (supercharger). It would easily make 460 horses. Weighing in at 3,780lbs, it did 0-60 in 4.7 seconds. This Mustang came in a massive range of colors like all of its brothers before it: 10 in ‘03. Oxford white, black, red fire, torch red, zinc yellow, sonic blue, satin silver, mineral grey, silver and dark shadow grey. In 2004, eight colors. Oxford white, black, redfire, torch red, screaming yellow, competition orange, silver and a very unique and special color called mystichrome. This new color had a color-changing effect. When looking at it from certain angles it turned from purple to greenish blue. The car came with a color-matched leather interior and the convertible came with all paint options listed above as well.

Mercury Marauder

    In 2002 Mercury unveiled the new sports sedan at the Chicago Auto Show reviving the “Marauder” name after a 33-year absence. The concept was a black convertible with a supercharged 4.6L V8 pushing out 335 raging ponies built to complete with the 1990s Chevrolet Impala SS. When the first production car rolled out for the 2003 model year, it had ditched the supercharged for the same 4-valve that was in the Mustang Mach 1 and Lincoln Aviator, having only 302 ponies and 318lb-ft of torque. The Marauder did 0-60 in 7.0 seconds. Pretty good for 2003 and especially for a 4,200 pound sedan. But it was still slower than the Impala SS. The Marauder came in four colors in 2003: birch silver, black and a very rare dark pearl blue with only 328 models being painted that color. In 2004 black and birch silver returned, but dark pearl blue was swapped for the second rarest color, toreador red with 980 units painted in the mean red. The Mercury Marauder unfortunately didn’t complete its job in getting people in their 20s interested in the Mercury brand and this legend faded out before 2005 Sadly, in 2010 Ford retired the entire Mercury line, their 70-year-old brother. 

Ford GT

       In 2002 after showing off old names such as the Mustang and reintroducing heritage names like the Thunderbird at the North American International Auto Show, Ford also decided to resurrect a Le Mans legend in the Ford GT, which beat Ferrari on their home turf back in 1966. This time the GT was pumping out 550 horsepower from a supercharged DOHC (Dual Overhead Cam) 5.4L V8 very similar to the Ford Lightning’s engine. Packed with 500lb-ft of torque and a blistering top speed of 205 miles per hour, this car was one of the first American-produced supercars. With low production numbers, to own this car you had to spend a pretty penny. Because only 4,038 of the 2005-2006 GT were produced, it is now worth well over a quarter of a million. Some even get close to $400,000.

The 1966 Lincoln Continental is a close sixth. I’m going to need a bigger garage.