There’s nothing more awesome than a well-sculpted supercar, looking like it’s going 130 while it’s parked in front of Starbucks. But even cooler is the sleeper car- the quiet little suitcase nuke with an amicable personality and a friendly, if forgettable, smile. Fooling countless cops and complainers worldwide, the sleeper has a long tradition of little-old-me buffoonery. Here are seven brilliant examples to make you reconsider your next traffic light rev-challenge.
Gramps doesn’t want to give up his Cadillac. It’s faithfully gotten him to and from the VFW for years, and he can cover a of a mile in just 10.34 seconds, thanks to the naturally aspirated 512 cid V8, the Edelbrock dual-plane intake, and the 950 cfm Holley carb. You won’t have to worry about following him in the left lane, because you won’t be able to catch him.
You’d expect to see this unassuming, Lipstick Red Caravan heading to a birthday party to drop off the kids. You wouldn’t expect to see it doing so through a heavy cloud of tire smoke. Youtube user “bubaV8” swapped in an SRT4 engine from a Neon, then boosted the whole party with a 72 mm turbo. The end result is 35 psi and the coolest Mopar minivan we’ve seen since 1989. Perfect for peeling away from the grocery.
Your least likely hero is often your worst enemy. The Toyota Camry has long been one of the pillars of the beige and boring car segment, a segment slowly but surely crushing all fun and joy ‘neath its glacial mass. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Canadian tuning house Dynamotorsport (all one word), boosted this mid-90’s grandmamobile to 728 horses at the wheels. Unfortunately, those wheels are still at the front, so hell hath no fury like that of torque steer.
The Ford Transit has been the de facto work horse for the European blue collar since the 1960’s. It’s been such a bulletproof platform that Ford, in a rare move, is even bringing it to our shores. But as any painter, plumber, or delivery guy can tell you, getting to your clients on time is key. That must have been the reason some underprivileged laborer put a Transit body on his “slightly turbocharged,” 542 hp Jaguar XJ220, which was once the fastest showroom car in the world. It’s not production, but can lead to great productivity.
Before crossovers, before minivans and SUVs, mom and dad had to buckle your car seat into something called a station wagon. Now nearly extinct, the station wagon still represents childhood road trips and amateur hoonage in the high school parking lot. Doubtless, few of those rainy-day donuts were fried into your childhood experience with the help of a 496 cid Vortec big block, like the one in Jesse’s 1980 Olds Cutlass cruiser. At 340 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque, it’s a slight improvement over the stock V6. He even plugged it into a proper five-speed transmission.
You know those little three-wheel mobility scooters you see geriatrics and Amish people riding at Wal-Mart? This isn’t one of those. Lux Performance, an official Viper racing team, wanted something to get them quickly around the pits, so they strapped a 48 volt motor to this poor, unsuspecting scooter and threw a switch. The Crippler was born. It can hit 46 mph, impress the junk out of professional drifter Tanner Foust, and plow through whole isle-center displays at Wal-Mart without looking back.
Yes, this is the second Caravan on the list, but we can’t help it if the people who designed Dodge’s ubiquitous grocery-getter secretly wanted it to make high-pitched whistling noises on the way there. Owner and builder Chris Krug didn’t swap the engine. He left in the 150 hp V6 to power the front wheels. But instead of boosting with a turbo, he boosted with a turbine, bolting an extra 1,000 hp to the rear wheels in the form of a Rolls Royce helicopter engine. Our favorite part is that the whole jet slides forward so the rear windshield can drop into place above a humble soccer ball sticker, concealing everything.