Biarritz and Typhoon

Biarritz and Typhoon

Hey, Duane here! In late 1995, I was stuck in two-inch snow. Blame it on ultra-high-performance tires, but my new Toyota Supra would simply sit and spin once snow arrived.

Red 1994 Toyota Supra
1994 Toyota Supra

Months before during the summer, I purchased this new, unsold 1994 Supra at a significant discount. A serious sports car, it could run 0-60 mph times of 5 seconds in the summer but 0-0 mph runs in winter snow.


I desperately needed snow tires or a bad-weather car. A friend offered to sell his used 1980 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz, a good-looking coupe with front-wheel drive. This body style had been a favorite since introduction and looked quite stately in dark blue metallic with brushed stainless roof and pillowy blue leather interior.

Blue 1980 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
1980 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz (identical to mine)

Buying the Biarritz for bad weather allowed both my 1994 Supra and 1969 Hurst/Olds to remained garaged. But within the first year, the 16-year-old Biarritz with 160K miles developed irritating issues. Nobody likes an undependable car so this was not a keeper.


A friend drove a 1992 GMC Typhoon, a limited edition two-door SUV built only two years, 1992 and 1993. Moderately sized, aggressive looking with special body cladding, and fast, Typhoons were unique with only 4700 made. Powered by 4.3L turbocharged V6 with 285-hp, they featured all-wheel drive perfect for all-weather usage. Both the Typhoon (SUV) and its forerunner, the 1991 Syclone (truck), were 0-60 mph fast. Build boost and launch! You’re thrust into the back of your seat as the front-end lifts and shoots down the road. Very sensory indeed!

I wanted one. A Typhoon would be a great replacement for the Biarritz and the perfect companion for the Supra and Hurst/Olds. But this plan meant TWO car payments. Good thing I was friends with the branch manager of my credit union. He refinanced the Supra by extending the term to reduce the payment and offered a separate 60-month loan to buy a used Typhoon. He gave me two months, until the end of 1996, to find one.

Black 1993 GMC Typhoon front
1993 GMC Typhoon

Typhoon Search

I searched nationwide using different sources and eventually found a low mileage GMC Typhoon in Portland, Oregon. It was a 1993 version in all black with only 20K miles. My aunt and uncle lived in Portland and checked it out. They gave the thumbs up. After failing a price negotiation, I flew over Thanksgiving for a personal inspection, payment in hand. Afterwards, I flew home and shipped the Typhoon to Indianapolis rather than risk a 2200-mile winter misadventure.

The Typhoon was unapologetically loud, aggressive, and very sensory. It’s unique rear wing, installed by the original owner, was a fitting sporty addition. I installed the silver wheels, black tinted headlights, and eventually lowered it an inch, upgraded to a larger turbocharger, higher stall speed torque converter, free-flowing exhaust, plus additional enhancements. Inside I added a two-gauge pod on the windshield pillar. The seats were black leather, and I kept the rear seat folded flat for a sportier two-seater look.

Pacers Rik Smits

I met a few local Syclone/Typhoon owners and hosted a couple of gatherings. Next Sunday, experience my get-together that included Pacers Rik Smits. Thanks, and always drive with allure!

Black 1993 GMC Typhoon rear
1993 GMC Typhoon

2 thoughts on “Biarritz and Typhoon”

  1. The 1979-1985 era Eldorado is a strong favorite of mine too. The 1979 is perhaps the best year from a performance standpoint featuring the 350CI engine, but they’re all desirable in my opinion. I currently own a low-mileage 1985 Biarritz. Its performance is definitely leisurely, but it sure is pretty!

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