Question of the Week: What’s your favorite sleeper performance car?


The current generation never heard of a Cobra. I’ve been asked if it was an Austin Healy or an MG? So I guess in this context my BRG Superformance with no racer boy stripes or pipes is a “sleeper” LOL.


Kind of partial to my 2003 Marauder.


These are good choices. Here’s a another: I own a 2012 Lexus IS-F. To most people it looks like a ubiquitous Lexus IS250 or 350 (thuough there are differences) and they don’t know it has a 415hp V8 under the hood. Sort of in the “bankers’ hot rod” category. Fantastic car, almost too powerful to drive around town but a monster on the highway. Of course the Cadillac CTS-V and some Mercedes AMG’s have far more horsepower.


I actually sold it for $2,500 to a gentleman out of Atlanta that did much of the work on it who took it racing. I was tickled to get $2,500 for a 330,000+ car. I still miss it.


My personal favorite was the 1989 Turbo Trans AM.
Everyone thinks it’s a slow as molasses 3rd gen Firebird.


Dodge Spirit R/T. Looks like something your grandmother drove to church on Sunday and disapears in a parking lot with three cars in it. Made to beat the Ford SHO and did. Fastest American sedan at the time. 0-60 in the 5s and 140+mph top speed. And only a few knew about them then and no one knows about them now.


I agree, 20 years ago, I saw for the first time at the drag races a car pull up to the line that was all black and looked like a typical sedan. When the light turned green it shot out of the hole so quickly it left the other car in the dust, but there was no roar from the engine like other racers, just this high wind from it’s turbine. It’s an engineering marvel how a 3.8 liter engine can move a 3700 lb. car down the track so fast! By the way, I now own one of the 20,000 cars that were made in 1987 of the Grand National.


I find this unbelievable but my Thunder Gray '12 CTS-V is a sleeper. No one seems to know what it is. It’s ignored at car show, fools in pickup trucks try to out-run me, only Corvette drivers seem to know what it is since they won’t make eye contact with me at a stop light. Who knew?


My favorite early sleeper would be the 1960 - 61 Plymouth Valiant, with the factory Hyper-Pac upgrade for the slant six. It was a dealer installed package that included 4 bbl Carter carb, long ram intake manifold, dual exhaust manifolds, hot cam and valve springs, HD clutch, and big exhaust.
Imagine in 1961, a plain-jane Plymouth Valiant with a torquey 200 HP slant six.


Subaru Legacy GT. Mid size sedan version of the STi. I had someone ask me what year my Camry was…that confirmed the sleeper category for me. It just came off the dyno this week: Torque was at 200 ft lbs at 2500 rpm, climbing to 450 ft lbs at 4200 rpms. The engine revs to 7000 rpms, and has an AWD manual transmission. I’d estimate the top speed north of 160…it allegedly did 153 when in stock tune. It has the power of a Coyote 5.0 with half the displacement, and only 3200 pounds to haul around.


Sleepers are fun!


My sleeper in the 1970’s looked like a good car to go to church in on Sunday. It fooled many of muscle cars of the day as it recorded the fastest 1/4 miles times in the car magazine tests of the 1970 model year. The Buick GS with the Stage 1 was the real deal - had more torque than the other cars of the day,


E500/500E, 300 6.3, first 3 generations of M5.


My favorite sleeper is still my 83 Rx7. Street ported 13b, Holley, RB exhaust, LSD… It out ran every V8 I ever raced - Admittedly, mostly because of the limited slip.


I have the sleeper of GM Sleepers. 2008 Saab 9-7x Aero. Total production 442 in 08 and 120 in 09.
It’s the trailblazer SS better looking cousin. LS-2, 6.0. 415HP AWD Rocket ship. The fun part about driving one is that it blows people’s mind when a “Soccer mom” car makes the other cars a dot in my rear view mirror.
$47k new, I bought it from a BMW dealer the day it was traded in. They sold it to me and didn’t know what they had. They were getting calls and offers for it weeks later. The sales guy said I “ripped them off” paying $11k for it last year.


That was an awesome car,great looks,too. I had a friend that had yellow one,poor guy was carjacked and beaten up pretty bad. I never found out if he recovered his Stage 1.


@dbisone - Having owned a Legacy GT a few years ago (2005 LGT wagon limited 5-speed manual) I completely agree they are great sleeper.


You want to know about some real sleepers…How about the 61-62 Chevy 2 door post with the 409 cu.in. 4 spd, or the 63 Ford Custom 300 with the 427 cu. in. 4 spd. Some of these were rum runners and had extra heavy duty suspension in them. I think these would stand up to any of todays jack rabbit jelly bean cars, especially on the straight roads.


‘71 Ford Torino with 351C. Mom used to leave cars next to her in the dust. Cracked us up as kids.


I will be laughed at for this, but I throw out there for consideration the Chevy Monza & it’s Olds & Pontiac clones. Few knew or know they offered a small block chevy option (in 1975 a 350, & 76 thru 79 years a 305). Granted these were neutered versions of the small block during the gas crunch era, but in that light body, they would roast the little 13" tires off. I still enjoy surprising some folks with mine, a few remember the cars but most don’t even know what car it is much less what is hiding under the hood. By any date’s standards, these are not muscle cars but fun non the less. You could have a mini common Camaro type car for much less.