When a rare GMC Syclone was stolen from an owner who had fallen on hard times, it looked likely the performance pickup truck wouldn't be recovered. But an upstanding member of the GMC truck community intercepted the stolen Syclone, forfeiting their own money to make sure the truck got home safe—and to bring the thief to justice.
The GMC Syclone was based on the first-generation Chevrolet S-10, of which it could be considered the ultimate form. It had a 4.3-liter turbo V6, a four-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive to lay down its 280 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. Capable of zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds, it was quicker than many purpose-built sports cars of the time, making it one of the landmark performance vehicles of the 1990s. Just under 3,000 were built, meaning they (and its SUV sibling, the Typhoon) are worth a pretty penny these days. And that's why the one in our story was stolen.
Jake Rowe, who recovered the stolen truck, told us he had been shopping for a Syclone when he came across one in Odessa, TX. It was cheap—suspiciously so at $4,200, considering asking prices sometimes exceed $30,000. But he did his diligence, and at first, the truck seemed legit.
The seller said they had gotten the GMC as payment for cleaning up a property for an old woman, whose husband had lost the title before he died. There was a bill of sale from the transaction, a phone number said to be the woman (which was answered), and the VIN didn't come back stolen. So Rowe bought the truck, but it wasn't long before his suspicions rose again.
"I got the truck home, and got back on Facebook, and noticed the truck was listed by a different man with a different price," Rowe told us. "I reached out and asked how he got it, and I got the same story but the lady's name was changed. So I knew something was up."
Next morning, members of the Syclone community on Facebook helped him figure out more about the truck's history through its serial number, 0027. It turned out its lawful owner wasn't the person who sold it to him, and that the owner didn't know it was stolen—or have it insured. Rowe was able to verify the true owner's identity, to whom he returned the truck before helping press charges against the scuzzy seller.
"If I didn't buy it the owner would have never seen the truck again," Rowe told us. "Someone would have pulled the cab and sold the drivetrain for double what it was listed for. I knew that if I bought it I was OK with losing the money so someone could have their truck back."
Indeed, it's not a happy ending for everyone as it stands. The owner can't afford to get their truck restored yet, and Rowe was told by police that he can't expect to get his money back.
"I'm in no way rich enough to afford the loss, but I know what it's like to have my cars stolen and don't want anyone to feel that way," Rowe said.
But the ending could become a happy one, as grateful members of the Syclone community (not Rowe himself) have contributed more than $1,100 to a GoFundMe to reimburse Rowe for his good deed. And as long as we're advocating for him, someone please sell this man a Syclone. He's already been through the storm for someone else, now it's time someone puts a silver lining on this cloud.
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