Ah, there is nothing like a sleeper, is there? Sure, we love the attitude of pro street cars and the bling of an elite build. But sleepers offer so much more, usually at a much lower price. Just think of it – a true sleeper is invisible to cops and thieves, they don’t require hours of cleaning, and they offer the life-affirming satisfaction of making Porsche and Tesla owners cry.
Events like Street Machine Drag Challenge are like catnip to true sleeper fans, allowing them to demonstrate both on-track performance and off-track stealth. Here are some of our favourites!
Con’s HJ Statesman
This battered old girl was a bona fide star of Drag Challenge 2019. Faded gold duco, ratty vinyl roof, roof racks and widened GTS rims told the story of grandad’s Stato out for a cruise in the country.
But under the bonnet, Con Rozokos and his mates slid a stock-bottom-end LS1 with a Chinese GT42 turbo providing the puff. The whole deal cost just $10K and got the boys down to a best of 11.66@119mph.
Eight-second XF Falcon farm truck
Shane Neumann’s dad bought this XF ute brand new in 1990, so when it came time for Shane to make it his own, he made sure to leave it looking just the same as his old man had it – right down to the massive bullbar, driving lights and canopy. Only the mags give the game away – how about some 12-slotters for street duties, Shane?
Nine-second LS turbo AU Falcon wagon
The Gawler Mechanical AU Falcon Forte ticks all the sleeper boxes. Namely, it is bog-stock bodywise, wears boring factory mags, has a tow bar hanging out the back and doesn’t signal its intent with a visible intercooler. And the Kelvinator-white duco doesn’t hurt a bit.
Under the bonnet is a mild 6.0-litre LS with a fat S480 turbo strapped to the side, with a transbraked Powerglide taking the pain. Running on E85, the combo makes some 600kW at the treads!
AWD Honda Integra
Before Brendon De Ruyter built his epic, seven-second Honda K24-powered Celica, he lit up Drag Challenge Weekend 2020 with this wild AWD Honda Integra.
Powered by a Honda B18C four-pot with a big old Precision 62/66 turbo, Brendon used a Honda CRV all-wheel-drive system to get the power to the ground. The beast ran a best of 9.8 seconds before it was sold to make way for the Celica.
LS1-powered Mitsubishi Sigma
Jamie Spiller’s Mitsubishi Sigma wagon looks like it rolled right out of Burleigh Heads RSL circa 1985. It would have been a solid ride for a recently retired manual arts teacher, complete with those dope factory mags.
Instead of the 2.6-litre Astron four-pot under the bonnet, Jamie went for a hotty LS1, backed by a 4L60E slusher. The combo finished two Drag Challenge Weekends on its ear, and has since gone as quick as 11.35@120mph. Stonking!
The US drag-and-drive scene is full of cool sleepers, but our fave has an Aussie connection – Fonzie Novelo’s Barra-powered 1979 Ford Fairmont.
The combo made a killer debut at Sick Week Summer earlier this year, running a scorching best of 8.94@151mph.