Sleeper Cars

As you know  (I assuming here), a “sleeper” car is one that on the exterior looks “average” (that it’s normally understood as referring to “slow”) under the wrapper, it’s a fire breather.

I was reading a special edition of ……the best auto periodical publisher in the WORLD (normally understood as referring to “ever existed”) Hemmings’ Muscle Machines – All Modified….and came upon an article entitled “Sleepers” by Richard Brigidi.

He defined a “sleeper” car as one with no engine badges, no chrome or striping, but with a monster engine.  The idea was back in the 1960’s as to hide the fact that you had mega HP under the hood.  Of course back in the day, street racing was common (although non-legal – just like today) and often it was done for cash or “pink slips”,  so hiding (or at least under stating) that fact that you’ve got a super power plant would be a benefit.

I’ve always liked the thought of having a poverty wheeled – rubber burner and always had in mind a plain-Jane Chevy Biscayne.


Or maybe a plain old Mustang coupe?


What’s your idea of a sleeper car? Drop your idea in a comment below.

Thanks for reading.


sleeper carssleeper cars

5 Best Sleeper Cars of 2014

Meanwhile, I put together a list of Top 5 Sleeper Cars available today. It includes a few American-built vehicles, and a couple more coming from cold, snowy Sweden and rugby-loving Australia. Check them out past the jump and tell me your thoughts in


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6 Responses to Sleeper Cars

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  4. Bill says:

    Better yet, how about a wagon as a true blue sleeper:

    I saw a 1976 Monaco wagon for sale recently for $1500. It had a tired and smog choked 360 V8 with 175K miles. I should buy that and place a crate 392 Hemi with 460 HP. THAT WOULD BE THE ULTIMATE SLEEPER!

  5. timsweet says:

    Yes 4 doors make great sleepers.

  6. Bill says:

    My buddy in high school had the greatest sleeper of all. It was a 1974 Dodge Coronet ex taxi 4 door. The rear quarter panel was crushed, and one door skin was scraped. It looked like a car ready for the crusher.

    The slant 6 was replaced with a 383 from a totaled ambulance. I helped wrench on the k member and suspension. To keep the sleeper theme, we used stock single exhaust with a quiet walker muffler.

    That car was so much fun. Those stock F78-14 polyglass tires would light up so easily and scare away the Mustangs and Camaros.

    But the very best part of this sleeper project was the value. I believe in 1980s dollars he had less than $1000 total in this car. Of course, he had lots of free labor from myself and other motorheads in the neighborhood.

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