What is the Point of a Sleeper Car? And Why You Should Own One
There are two types of drivers on the UK roads today. The first type drives to get from point A to B. This one does not care too much about what a car can do, well, except drive, ferry family and have a working stereo.
The second type loves the thrill of having a good motor under the hood. These are the types of drivers who like to feel the car they are driving. When they take the driver’s seat, they became a part of the car, feeling its heart and soul in every move they make.
In a perfect world, the second type of driver would love to drive a performance car all the time, and if possible, on a track. But this isn’t a perfect world, and no one spends their driving life on the track. However, instead of being stuck with cars that are good for Uber driving, they opt to look for sleeper cars.
So, what are sleeper cars, and what is their point? Keep reading to find out.
What is the purpose of a sleeper car?
A sleeper has its purpose in the car culture, but before you know why it is important, you first need to know what it really is.
Think of having a tamed lion that you can pet like a cat. Deep down, you know it is still a lion, and when its natural instincts kick in, it can go wild, and free! Even when it comes to the insurance you will need, the evaluation does not reveal any competition accessories that may push the cost up.
From a casual glance, this vehicle looks so ordinary, you know, like a regular family car. It does not have performance badges such as you would find on Subaru WRX STI, or Nissan’s Nismo. It might even look a bit beat up, but when you pop the hood, it tells a different story.
Some car enthusiasts can look at a car and know outright whether it is a sleeper, or ordinary. For instance, the size of the disk brakes is a straight giveaway. Why would you need huge brakes if you don’t need high stopping power?
And now to the purpose of a sleeper car …some drivers love peak performance from their car. However, they don’t like the braggadocio that performance cars come with, from the loud exhaust pipes to eye-popping flashy colors.
This is where a sleeper comes in. It is a type of car that can stay under the radar, look like a regular road car but when the need arises, it can unleash full power and give the driver a thrilling performance.
Why are sleeper cars called sleepers?
In the USA, these cars are called sleeper cars. In the UK, they are called Q-cars. They are referred to as sleepers because they never call attention to themselves. Their exterior looks like that of any other ordinary car, but under the hood, they are performance cars.
In the car world, referring to a car as a sleeper is to give it a lot of respect. It is to admit that you acknowledge its performance ability and power. Usually, such cars are referred to as “all go and no show” vehicles, because that’s exactly what they do.
To lay out the difference between sleeper and non-sleeper performance cars, if it has the looks that call attention to it, it is not a sleeper.
For instance, a Nissan GT-R NISMO can never be a sleeper car. It looks so sleek and good, with awesome aerodynamic features to help boost its performance. If the car stands out, it is not a sleeper.
A lay-low car such as the Volkswagen Golf R can pass for a sleeper. Despite being able to churn out 315 horsepower and 310NM of torque, this car does not have the boisterous appearance of a performance car. Only car enthusiasts can tell what it can do.
Why you should own a sleeper car today
There are tens of reasons why you ought to own a sleeper car. However, here are a few of them:
The police will not be onto you
You can be with your sleeper cars for many years, without ever being pulled aside by the police. Of course, the urge to show other drivers on the road your rear registration plates will kick in occasionally. But if you are careful, you can stay under the radar for a long time.
The security of your car is assured, more than that of a guy who rolls around in a well pronounced performance car. You can park the car anywhere on the street and no one will come after it. Imagine seeing a white Audi wagon parked in the neighborhood. It does not raise eyebrows at all.
You can surprise petrolheads
Most petrolheads drive showy cars. They want everyone to see that they know a thing or two about fast cars.
But imagine their surprise when the white family sedan that has been three cars behind them all along on the freeway suddenly give them a run for their money. It feels fantastic to show your muscle when it matters.
It is perfectly possible to own a stock sleeper
Some people opt to build their sleeper cars, but you are under no obligation to do that. You can buy a stock sleeper and keep it in factory shape.
Imagine getting a Volkswagen Golf R, that can pump out 315 horsepower without a tune … there’s no need to add anything. But if you like, you can still do a stage 1 or 2 tune to give it more speed.
Many cars, especially from Germany, make perfect sleepers in their stock versions. For instance, the Audi RS6 with a 4-liter engine and 500 horsepower, is perfect for a sleeper. It will always stun on the road.
Sleeper cars are easier and cheaper to maintain
Buying a sleeper car is akin to eating your cake and having it. You can create torque and speed but at a cheaper cost.
Unlike performance cars that come with many aerodynamic parts, the exterior of the sleepers come with an ordinary looking exterior.
They look like regular sedans, hatchbacks, station wagons or SUVs. There are no exaggerated spoilers, fenders, and other aerodynamic parts. There are not many things to break or to replace.
If you decide to keep your sleeper car 100 percent stock, you will spend less than people who use aftermarket parts for tuning. Stock parts can stay a long time in great shape than most OEM ones.
If you are the conservative type, but you love a driver’s car, you should get yourself a sleeper car, or you can build one.
The sleeper or Q-car culture is not new at all, as it has been around since the 50s. To be precise, in 1955, Chrysler fitted a 300HP V8 engine in a production car – the Chrysler 300C.
They continued to improve the engine performance with time, making this car the first sleeper to be documented. Over the years, the sleeper car culture has become better, and these cars are all around us.
Today, you can take a regular car, fit in a performance engine, with its transmission, bigger brakes, and still leave the body intact. But even if you don’t want to build, you can buy a sleeper car from the factory.