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NeonLX

Sleepers you have owned

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I've always been a fan of "sleepers"; you know, the kinds of cars that are very unassuming in appearance but can really kick @ss out on the streets. I've owned several of them over the years but I'll start with my most recent:

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This was a 1994 Dodge Spirit. I picked it up with 48K miles on it in 1998. It was powered by a the Mitsu 3.0L V6 backed up by a solid-shifting A670 3-speed auto tranny. For whatever reason, this car would flat-out HAUL. Low curb weight was one reason I'm sure (~2700 lbs.), but the V6 in this thing seemed especially hot.

One of my favorite experiences with the Spirit was when I was coming home late one night. I was on a 4-lane highway with traffic signals spaced about a mile apart. I stopped at a red light and an Acura Integra pulled up next to me. The Acura dude started revving his engine like he wanted to have a go so I thought, "why not?" As I saw the cross traffic signal go yellow, I started torquing up the engine with my left foot on the brake. When the light turned green, we both rocketed away. I had some wide meats on this car so I kept traction just fine. I had the tranny selector in D but my right foot was planted. Anyhoo, I could hear the Acura's engine winding tight before the dude shifted up to the next year. He couldn't gain anything and in fact, I was slowly pulling away. I finally backed off and he soon zoomed by me. As I got to the next signal, which was red, the Acura was sitting there. I pulled up and dude again started gunning it. So we were to round 2. Once again, my boring old Spirit sedan was able to get out in front of the Acura and enlarge the lead. By the time I backed off, I was a good two lengths in front.

I was able to run off several other stoplight challenges with that Spirit. It was surprisingly swift little beast and it was very comfortable to boot. Wish I still had it.

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Edited by NeonLX
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I've never had what I'd term a sleeper, but my brother has a '69 Ford Fairlane that fits the description...plain 4dr sedan, base hubcaps, 390 4bbl engine.. powerful and rather quick. I wonder if there were any 4dr '69 Chevelles built w/ 396s...

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I've never had what I'd term a sleeper, but my brother has a '69 Ford Fairlane that fits the description...plain 4dr sedan, base hubcaps, 390 4bbl engine.. powerful and rather quick. I wonder if there were any 4dr '69 Chevelles built w/ 396s...

I think the 396 was only available in the SS396, but they did make things like Biscaynes and wagons with 427s back then.

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1970 Chrysler New Yorker - 440/4bbl and front disc brakes. I bought it from an estate for $50 in 1988. I used to hunt and embarrass brand new IROC Z's and Trans Ams :AH-HA:

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I used to do that with my '70 El Camino SS - I liked to hunt Porsches.

My car was no sleeper though...

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The sleepers I'd love to build-

1. late model ('03-11) Lincoln Town Car w/ the modern 5.0 Coyote or 5.4 supercharged V8 from a GT500, 6spd auto and stiffer suspension (but keep a smooth ride)

2. mid '90s Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham with CTS-v 6.2 V8, 6spd auto and stiffer suspension (but keep a smooth ride)

3. late model Crown Vic Police Interceptor w/ the modern 5.0 Coyote.

Hmmm..pattern here?

:)

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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1976 Chevy Luv Series 5, replaced the Isuzu 4banger with gm's small block v8. replaced the rear diff with a posi system and meaty ass tires. Was fun to kick Mustang and Camero butts. Miss that little white Pocket Rocket. :P

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I am SO GLAD you dint post a photo of your widdle footie pj's.

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I love that New Yorker. The 440 was a kick @ss engine, even in a big sled like that. I had a 71 Newport for two years. Helluva ride and reasonably swift with a 383.

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140hp in a 2700lb car sets a pretty low bar for a "sleeper". By that criteria, my 3100 powered Chevy Corsica was a sleeper (160hp/2700lb), and my DOHC Saturn S-Series (124hp/2450lb) are sleepers.

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My '86 Camaro was a white base model with tan cloth seats. It did have a spoiler and a set of 60 horsepower black aluminum louvers over the back glass. Rally wheels. By that time, the base models had a black painted lower body. But other than that, it could have been a 2.8L 6 cylinder. It might count as a sleeper, with its 305 TBI and five speed manual. The Maryland State Trooper said "what you got in that?" when he stopped me. I was going over 100, but he waited to clock me at 80 mph as I rounded a bend on the interstate and sawr him standing there.

My '00 GTI 1.8t was prolly a sleeper, too. At that time, VW gave us none of the prominent badging, deep bumpers, redline trim or exclusive wheel designs that marked a GTI in years past and since... even the foglights were enclosed in the headlight capsules. It was later revealed to be underrated at 150 hp, with more like 180 hp. So it was a plain silver 2-door VW Golf hatchback to the untrained eyeball. I had it up to 135 mph tailing a Benz E-class on an interstate stretch between DC and Annapolis. That was a blast. It was like that old novelty song from the 50s about the Rambler overtaking the Cadillac at high speed, and the final insult to the Cadillac driver was the Rambler guy calling out... "how do I get this thing out of 2nd gear?" :)

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140hp in a 2700lb car sets a pretty low bar for a "sleeper". By that criteria, my 3100 powered Chevy Corsica was a sleeper (160hp/2700lb), and my DOHC Saturn S-Series (124hp/2450lb) are sleepers.

It's all in the gearing.

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Low bar, high bar, whatever...that Spirit was a lot quicker than I would have ever thought possible until I owned it. Everything seemed to come together just right with that car. Reminded me a lot of driving a Chevy II with a good running 327...the engine just didn't have to work hard to accelerate quickly.

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1976 Chevy Luv Series 5, replaced the Isuzu 4banger with gm's small block v8. replaced the rear diff with a posi system and meaty ass tires. Was fun to kick Mustang and Camero butts. Miss that little white Pocket Rocket. :P

Had a neighbor that did that with an earlier LUV, and it had a shortie stepside bed too. Fast, loud, and bright freakin' yellow!

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A buddy of mine in high school and his Dad took their '81 Olds 88 diesel 4dr and replaced the diesel w/ a well modified SBC. It had a great exhaust note and was deceptively fast, w/ a vinyl top rolling on white wall tires and wire wheel hubcaps...wonder what ever became of that car.

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I guess my Firehawk was something of a sleeper to the untrained eye. It was a Formula, so it could look like a base V6 Firebird if you missed the 'Hawk wheels and hood.

And my GTO was at least subtle in appearance.

Not true sleepers, but not too far from it.

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^ Far enough that they fall outside the def, IMO. These are dedicated performance cars; to most, a V6 Firebird is the anomaly, not the norm.

Now, if you had the GTO powertrain in a G3.....

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Yeah, I have to agree.

But it is rare that a base model and a performance model share an overall look/body these days - so a factory sleeper is almost a thing of the past.

But they can be built...

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I currently own one in the form of a 95 Volvo 850 Turbo sedan in a white color. That goes like stink (and drinks like stink as well)

The sleepers I'd love to build-

1. late model ('03-11) Lincoln Town Car w/ the modern 5.0 Coyote or 5.4 supercharged V8 from a GT500, 6spd auto and stiffer suspension (but keep a smooth ride)

2. mid '90s Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham with CTS-v 6.2 V8, 6spd auto and stiffer suspension (but keep a smooth ride)

3. late model Crown Vic Police Interceptor w/ the modern 5.0 Coyote.

Hmmm..pattern here?

:)

I do something with #2, except I would be using a 6.6L Duramax V8 ;-)

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