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By XR4Tim
#164638
Some time in 1996, I saw a GMC Typhoon for sale in duPont Registry, and thought it was the coolest thing ever. The more I read about it, the more I liked it. A turbocharged, AWD Jimmy that was quicker than most exotic cars! I already liked the Taurus SHO, but this was a whole new level of sleeper. I was only 13 at the time, so buying one was not a possibility.

When I was 19 and had a job, I saw a Forest Green/Argent Grey '93 Typhoon with 36k miles for sale on eBay, and as luck would have it, the vehicle was located in Anchorage, Alaska, only about 15 miles from me. I went to look at it, and decided that I had to have it. Unfortunately, I didn't have much savings and had absolutely no credit. It wasn't meant to be. But it instilled in me a (foolish) sense of urgency to get a Typhoon as quickly as possible, while there were still low-mileage trucks to be had. Someone on the Syclone & Typhoon forum counseled me to not purchase a Typhoon until I could pay for it with cash, and said that there would always be low-mileage Typhoons available. I ignored this counsel.

Two years later, I had good enough credit to get a loan for a Typhoon, provided I could sell the Saab that I was driving. I found a couple that wanted to buy my Saab, so I asked them to give me ten days to find my next vehicle before we did the transaction and they agreed. I found a Gloss Black/Argent Grey '92 Typhoon with 44k miles, and agreed with the seller on $12,000.00. I arranged the financing, and then the seller called me to say that someone else offered $14k, but if I'd match that, he'd still sell it to me. I got a bad feeling about the whole deal and told him I'd pass. I found out later that there was no other buyer.

I knew of another Typhoon that was for sale locally. It was a heavily-modified one, which actually held the record for quickest Typhoon in the 1/4 mile at the time (11.19 @ 120.59 MPH). It was originally Royal Blue/Argent Grey, but had been repainted Radar Blue (a GM test colour that appeared on two factory Typhoons, but later went on to be used on the '94 Jimmy, and '96 Corvette Indy pace car). This Typhoon only had 43k miles, but obviously they weren't all gentle miles. I met with the owner, and he agreed to sell me the truck. It was a little more than the other Typhoon I was looking at, but he agreed to owner-finance the remaining $2,000.00 above what the credit union approved.
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I called the couple who was buying my Saab, and they informed me that due to a job loss, they could no longer buy my car.

Now I had around $700.00/month in car payments, $900.00/month in insurance, and was making $9.50 an hour. It was rough, but I was 21 and had a 660 horsepower Typhoon.
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It turns out that heavily modified vehicles often need special attention. It was tuned for race gas, but with the boost turned all the way down, it did fine on 92 octane. And then Chevron stopped selling 92 in Alaska. I ended up carrying a 5 gallon can of Xylene and a funnel everywhere so I could blend it with 90 octane gas when I filled up. Something broke about every thousand miles, but thankfully nothing too expensive at first. Eventually, I totalled the Saab, and my insurance took care of that loan. It gave me a little financial breathing room, but now the Typhoon was my daily driver. In Alaska. And it was Winter. And then I lost my job. I had already swapped the drag radials out for all-season tires, so that was something.
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When I moved to Michigan that December, the plan was to drive the Typhoon down with my roommate. On the Alaska highway, about 30 miles short of the Canadan border, I caught a faint smell of something burning followed by the engine shutting off. It wouldn't restart. I swapped the distributor cap & rotor on the side of the road in the dark, but it didn't help.

I was able to get it towed 60 miles back to the village of Tok, where we got a hotel room for the night. The next morning, I tried to do some troubleshooting. Unfortunately, it was -20Β°F, and windy. I mean 80 MPH gusts of wind. I have never been so cold in my life. I would spend about three minutes testing something, and then run back into the tow truck driver's shop to warm up. At one point the wind blew the hood shut on my hand. I pulled the ECM and figured that maybe the injector drivers overheated and failed. I had some spares, so I made my way to the Napa Auto Parts and bought a $5.00 soldering iron, and swapped in the new injector drivers. It still wouldn't start, and I was out of ideas (and money). We got a motel room across the street and my roommate made arrangements for his dad to pick us up the next day, which was Christmas Eve.

My roommate's dad showed up with a car trailer, and we pushed the Typhoon from the tow driver's trailer to the other trailer (quite precariously), and he drove us the 350 miles back to his house. Christmas morning, we unloaded the Typhoon at my parents' house and made our way to the airport to fly to Michigan.

In Michigan, with very little income, struggling to pay rent, I fell behind on payments to the previous owner of the truck, and to the credit union. We got evicted from our apartment for late rent payments, and I ended up moving back to Alaska after a brief stint of homelessness.

Back at my parents' house, I was able to look at the Typhoon in more accommodating conditions than the windstorm in Tok, and confirmed that the injector drivers had failed, but they burned the board on the ECM when they went. I got a replacement ECM from a local Syclone owner, and then had someone more talented than me solder new low-impedence injector drivers in. The Typhoon was back to running great!
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Not too long after, I decided to take the Typhoon out to where the Anchorage delinquents meet to street race. I had been away for a year, and didn't really know anybody in the scene. I was following a group of cars on a four-lane section of road, and then noticed everybody slowing down and getting behind me. In the lane to my left, a BMW M5 (E60) pulled up next to me and floored it. I hit the gas, too, but the truck started misfiring, and the M5 began inching away. We got to a stop light, and when the light turned green, I did a boost launch at about 10 psi. I left the M5 a few lengths behind me, but the truck was still misfiring and getting worse. I pulled off to a gas station and could see a cloud of white smoke behind me. The left head gasket was blown and the #3 cylinder was just burning coolant.

It took me a long time to get both the time and money to start repairing it. I reprioritized some things, tracked down the previous owner, with whom I had lost contact, and paid him everything I still owed him. Bought a daily driver or six, started a business, got married, moved to Ohio, bought a house, and in general kept the Typhoon on the back burner. Occasionally I'd get the motivation to put some time into it, and inevitably I would find several more things that had failed due to the truck just sitting. I didn't have enough garage space, so the Typhoon sat outside. The paint took a beating.

Now I have plenty of garage space, the Typhoon sits inside, has new Cometic head gaskets, rebuilt heads, a fully rebuilt turbo, new braided steel fuel lines, and when I get the time to finish the valvetrain, it should be mechanically back to its prime. At that point I will sell it. I've owned it for 18 years, and it now has 49k miles on it. The Typhoon is still my fourth favorite vehicle ever made, but it was also a hard object lesson in bad decisions. At least I bought it when they were cheap!
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By fpena944
#164735
@XR4Tim - great story and reminds me of some of the decisions I made early on too. I remember my car payment costing more than my rent and me just struggling like crazy to afford it. BUT it makes you work harder and grow as an individual.

Before you sell it I would take it to a drag strip and record the time on it. Would be interesting to see what it can do now.

Oh now you have to tell us about that 997TT!
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By 3.2 Targa
#164737
Wow, I'm suffering PTSD from just reading your story.
I fell in love with a vehicle that made me make bad decisions. My challenges weren't as bad as yours, but it is a testament to the power of emotions, nostalgia and desire.

For me it was a 1996 Yamaha V-max. I put myself into debt to get that bike because I REALLY WANTED IT!!

Fast forward a few years, I'm married and it sits in the garage. A friend of a friend offered me a decent amount for the bike and it got sold.

Many (18) years later, I found a '98 V-max to scratch that itch. It is now art in my house.

The '98 is pictured below with our four-legged throw rug, Ozzie.
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By XR4Tim
#164851
fpena944 wrote: ↑Sat Aug 06, 2022 4:23 pm @XR4Tim - great story and reminds me of some of the decisions I made early on too. I remember my car payment costing more than my rent and me just struggling like crazy to afford it. BUT it makes you work harder and grow as an individual.

Before you sell it I would take it to a drag strip and record the time on it. Would be interesting to see what it can do now.

Oh now you have to tell us about that 997TT!
I definitely grew as an individual and learned some things, including a lot about diagnosis, forced induction, and modifications.

It would be cool to take it to the track and see if I could break into the 10s. The 5-point harnesses are way past their expiration date, so there may be a problem passing tech.

As far as the Riviera Blue 997TT, that was a test vehicle when I was working for ECS, and had to put miles in it to test the new intake we designed.
Last edited by XR4Tim on Wed Aug 17, 2022 9:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By NSXguy
#165415
Wow Tim, that is one heck of a journey you lived regarding your hot-rod Typhoon :thumbup:
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By JDS968
#165570
I wonder how different this story would be if you had settled on a stock Typhoon.

So after all these years, you're not going to have a little fun doing burnouts all the way to the grocery store and back?
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By XR4Tim
#165590
JDS968 wrote: ↑Thu Aug 11, 2022 7:13 pm I wonder how different this story would be if you had settled on a stock Typhoon.

So after all these years, you're not going to have a little fun doing burnouts all the way to the grocery store and back?
I've pondered that very thing myself. Stock Typhoons have their issues too, but I probably would have made it to Michigan, where it would have rusted to death because I couldn't afford a garage or frequent car washes.

I will absolutely do some road testing before I sell it. Gotta make sure it's performing correctly 😁
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By tooloud10
#166069
Great story! I always wanted a Syclone or Typhoon and also fell for the idea that low mileage examples for good prices would always be plentiful.

I have a whole list of cars that I should have bought when they were 'cheap': Typhoon, 996TT, Elise...
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By fpena944
#166217
tooloud10 wrote: ↑Mon Aug 15, 2022 3:04 pm Great story! I always wanted a Syclone or Typhoon and also fell for the idea that low mileage examples for good prices would always be plentiful.

I have a whole list of cars that I should have bought when they were 'cheap': Typhoon, 996TT, Elise...
Add any air-cooled 911 to that mix too.

Remember the days when you couldn't give a 964 or 911 with a 2.7 away?
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By tooloud10
#166483
Yeah, I remember passing on an '07 Exige S for $37.5k about 11 years ago because I figured I would just wait for a different color. Now you can't touch one for less than 2-3x that amount. :(
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By XR4Tim
#166542
tooloud10 wrote: ↑Wed Aug 17, 2022 2:10 pm Yeah, I remember passing on an '07 Exige S for $37.5k about 11 years ago because I figured I would just wait for a different color. Now you can't touch one for less than 2-3x that amount. :(
What colour was it? My friend just bought this Krypton Green '06 at the end of last year. He would have been overjoyed to pay $37.5k for it! πŸ˜„
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By tooloud10
#170006
XR4Tim wrote: ↑Wed Aug 17, 2022 9:18 pm What colour was it? My friend just bought this Krypton Green '06 at the end of last year. He would have been overjoyed to pay $37.5k for it! πŸ˜„
Yeah, I was holding out for a Krypton Green one, too. I wanted an '07+ with the supercharger which is even more money. :(
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By XR4Tim
#170102
tooloud10 wrote: ↑Wed Sep 07, 2022 2:05 pm
XR4Tim wrote: ↑Wed Aug 17, 2022 9:18 pm What colour was it? My friend just bought this Krypton Green '06 at the end of last year. He would have been overjoyed to pay $37.5k for it! πŸ˜„
Yeah, I was holding out for a Krypton Green one, too. I wanted an '07+ with the supercharger which is even more money. :(
His car is supercharged, so perhaps it is an '07. We got to compare it to Isotope Green recently:
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