A sleeper car may not be much to look at on the outside, but the power and performance makes it a classic muscle car. The name evolved from the taunt that from the eye level view, a sleeper car looks like it must be very slow and asleep compared to sleek-looking muscle cars that are built to “look fast.” The difference is that when a sleeper car fires up the power under the hood, they leave the rest of the cars on the strip asleep at the wheel.
Here are the top sleeper cars that are always sought after.
#5 – The Plymouth Duster hit the muscle car circuit late in 1970, but it was the next evolution of the Plymouth Valiant that already was well regarded. While the Duster was often regarded as an economy family vehicle, with the right V8 power engine under the hood, it often left much more impressive cars like the Dodge Charger looking at the Duster’s tail lights and wondering what happened.
#4 – The seventh-generation Chevrolet Impala met the criteria of a sleeper car because it had the design to give owners plenty of trunk space and interior luxury to keep the family happy. However, under the hood it packed the kind of punch that could put on a show on the street if need be.
#3 – The 2000 Saab 9-5 Euro is certainly not the kind of car that would ever be classified as a conventional muscle car. However, under the hood of this very sleek and classy sports car is a 230-horsepower, turbo-charged engine that gives it enough muscle to provide enough serious power that it is used by the Swiss as one of their premier police vehicles. Muscle car gurus have taken the Saab 9-5 Euro and punched it up with even more power, so it looks sweet as a car for a lazy ride but takes the street hard when it is time to show off.
#2 – The Ford Taurus SHO is similar to the Saab model because the marketing niche of the Taurus has always been to serve as a traditional and affordable family car that did not need a lot of maintenance. The SHO model stands for Super High Output, which came about almost by accident. Ford found itself with a surplus of very powerful Yamaha engines,so they figured “Why not punch up the Taurus?” The result was a popular family car, but the SHO version was a serious muscle car, too.
#1 – The number one sleeper car ever is the Shelby GLHS, which was an evolution of the ugly and slow Dodge Omni. However, when Shelby dropped a seriously powerful turbocharged I4 engine into the Omni, that changed a sleepy little utility vehicle into a muscle car that could not be caught when all of its power was in full force on the street or on the racetrack.