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Hot Rods Which sleeper was the most fun?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by coilover, Apr 8, 2019.

  1. coilover
    Joined: Apr 19, 2007
    Posts: 623

    from Texas

    Mine started with a 48 Hudson coupe with a 308 Twin Horsepower engine (yeah, I'm an old fart) that was a beast for top speed. Next was a 53 Chevy pickup, our shop truck, that had a built 327 sbc and two trash cans bolted down to the bed and the lids brazed on at an angle like they were going to blow off. Last was a 406 sbc LUV that was a killer from a rolling start but useless from a dead stop and dangerous on a wet road. MANY stories on all of them but don't know about present day traffic and legal conditions. Sure was fun.
  2. deucemac
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,097


    The best sleeper I remember was a car a friend bought just after high school. He knew about the car and the owner was in jail facing a long prison sentence. He went to see this guy in jail and the guy was $50 short of bail and wanted to take off as soon as he was released on bail to avoid the prison. My friend gave him the bail money in exchange for the car. The guy was desperate so he took the deal. The car was a 51 Ford fordor. It had a terribly faded dark blue or black paint job, the small hubcaps with the Ford F in the center and a huge Novi air conditioning decal on the passenger side rear door. But, under the hood it had a full race Olds with a nasty Engle cam and six twos backed by a hydro! It was as ugly as a mud fence and ran like stink! He was cleaning everybody's clock until the word got out just what he had under the hood. After about a month and everyone telling people not to take on the Ford fordor with the Novi air conditioning decal in the window, he pulled the engine and trans out, sold the hydro and six twos. He converted it to a four barrel, put a flywheel and clutch on it and a Lincoln Zephyr top shift bow behind it and installed in his 47 Ford coupe. It still sounded great and ran hard but the 47drive train and Zephyr box limited his launching. Plus now everyone knew what he had. But that on the with that butt ugly, raggedy fordor was lots of fun. The problem with a sleeper is it doesn't stay asleep long once the word gets out. We never found out about the previous owner that skipped bail. Who knows, maybe he is now a hunched over old grandfather telling stories to his grandchild about beating the competition until he had to sell it to beat the the cops. This all took place in the 63-64 time frame in San Diego.
    lumpy 63 likes this.
  3. Model A Vette
    Joined: Mar 8, 2002
    Posts: 1,070

    Model A Vette

    '65 Corvair with a 350 in the rear. Over heated easily in the summer but it surprised a lot of guys in the winter.
    It even kept up with two guys in a MB vert in a cork screw on ramp.
  4. lumpy 63
    Joined: Aug 2, 2010
    Posts: 1,347

    lumpy 63

    At the moment it's my faded Tahiti Choral 59 lark...327 chevy, 11.0 1 to 1 comp. off road #1 chevy mechanical cam , ported aluminum heads, 800 cfm Holley. It also has fenderwell headers and a muncie 4spd with a 9" with a 4.11 posi.Top that off with 15x5 and 15x8 steel wheels with poverty caps and it's a sleeper ...until I start it:rolleyes:

  5. My avitar 55 isn't a sleeper, but have had a 350 horse 396 in it since 1971. I originally had it coupled to an M21 4 speed, but swapped over to a TH400 to make it easier for my wife to drive. What made it wicked on the street, was after I blew up 2 57 posi rear ends, I installed a 3/4 ton rear with 4.57 gears, coupled with a Hone-O-Drive overdrive. This gave me good mileage, and the gears for a great launch.
    I gave a lot of guys with a lot of high priced iron a nasty surprise. I converted the front to 8 stud, and had 8 x 15 inch rims made for the back to run cheater slicks, for the days I was looking for trouble.
    One time, I took on a guy with a GT500 Shelby, with my wife on board and my camper on the back, I beat him so bad on the launch that he gave up, but I sure caught hell from my wife for that one.
    Now, I am running a 454, 10:1 compression, Comp 280 cam, and roller rockers, rectangular port heads and manifold, and TH400, overdrive, and 12 bolt with 3.73 gears. I am 76 in a few months, and don't need to go fast any more. It is off the road right now, because I am doing a major rework of the suspension as soon as I have my garage built.
    wraymen and Deuces like this.
  6. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,103



    I owned the 1940 Ford Sedan Delivery that was supposed to be painted a “racer orange” color. It was one of those early hot rod things that just did not turn out as planned. The sedan delivery was painted in the wee hours sitting in the carport/driveway of this guy’s house in the Westside neighborhood of Long Beach.

    The former owner told me that it was his first time painting a whole car. (in his driveway no less) But, he was satisfied with the paint as there were no ripples, or orange peel surfaces. The color was pretty good, too, for being finished late at night/early morning. He was sure it was “racer Orange” and to him, glossy eyed, it looked like the show cars we were used to seeing, locally. After discussing the sedan delivery with him, he told me this story of how he put it together and finished it.

    The first look of this sedan delivery was a sleeper style of an old, mini, delivery truck. In the dark driveway of the local drive-in restaurant parking lot, it looks simple with small hubcaps on black rims and blackwalls. The color looked bright Orange. But, in the light, close up, it was kind of a Salmon Pink.

    Since it was the owner’s first big car paint job, we all thought it was pretty nice. Polished paint looks good under the parking lot lights anytime. The paint was the first thing anyone noticed. Then upon idling into the driveway and up into the parking lot, the motor did not sound like a stock Flathead. It sounded powerful. Then once out of the parking lot and out of sight, the roaring sound of a big Chevy motor came to life. Everyone in the parking lot whipped around to see what was making that noise. Then we all knew who it was doing that acceleration.
    We all know how to make the idle of any motor go to a certain rpm to make the motor sound quite mellow. This sedan delivery did just that when he came into the parking lot. If he kept the hood shut, only the local drag racers knew what was under the hood. On the street, it was a plain looking 1940 Salmon Pink color Ford Sedan Delivery. But, when he stomped on the throttle, it left most cars in the dust.


    It was a real sleeper, but expensive for purchase with the 348. Eventually, I became the owner of that 40 Ford Sedan Delivery. But, it fell fast asleep with the stock flathead motor in the place of the big 348 Chevy motor. That was the only way I could afford to buy this “real sleeper,” the former owner needed the 348 for another drag racing project.

    One of the fun things was that some people knew I had a 1958 348 Impala and now they thought I was the owner of a 348 powered 40 Ford Sedan Delivery. So, by keeping mum while cruising around, there was more to the teenage bravado showcase to others. My friends knew it was a flathead powered sedan delivery, but the other teenagers thought it was still powered by the big 348. (underpowered? I”ll say…It was like driving a reliable cruiser, but in need of some power going up the local hills and deep sloping roads.) The Signal Hill uphill challenge was a battle against the local Model A club speedsters.

    It was an original 348 sleeper and then it became reliable for 1000s of miles of road trips, but fell fast asleep for actual power from the Flathead.

  7. exterminator
    Joined: Apr 21, 2006
    Posts: 1,525


    My 33 Plymouth 4-door with 360 v-8, auto. It was fast!
    jay t. likes this.
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 2,075


    I worked at a full service gas station when I was 16 years old. I was the "driveway manager". The owner was an old hippy drag racer. He had a ragged looking mid 60s el camino for a shop truck. I dont remember what engine he had in it. I just remember the Hurst shifter in it. I took it home for lunch one day and that was the first time I white smoked the tires in a car. I was chirping the tires in 2nd and 3rd gear. When I got back to the shop he asked me if I was going to pay for the next set of tires because he "heard" I was white smoking them. I don't know how the hell he knew. I think he was "assuming" because he just smiled and laughed and snapped me with a shop towel as I turned to walk away.
    belair and Deuces like this.
  9. low budget
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 5,564

    low budget
    from Central Ky

    I could tell you about a off topic sleeper or two like a clapped out looking primered red/brown javelin with no grill,bumper and fenders flopping, couple mags on back and rust....Its internals werent as worn out as the car appeared to be, That thing would turn on:eek:

    More on topic, I went to a cruise in recently and saw a black 4 door 51 pontiac with kind of a cheap looking paint job with flames, red wheels, narrow whites know the drill...I had saw the car before but not up close and actually didnt give it much thought other than (forgive me) "hey at least this guy wants to be a Hot Rodder" and thought hey thats cool, a lot of us do;)......but then I walked up to it and looked under the hood expecting an all original six or something but..:eek: whata ya know, a very well installed, built and dressed up 454:p...:oops:guy showed me:D
    Deuces likes this.
  10. bangngears
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 925

    from ofallon mo

    My avatar coupe has a super charged 392 under the hood. Fun,fun ,fun
  11. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 6,260


    Back in the day a friends mom had a black and white 55 Ford Fairlane four door sedan with blackwall tires that was kind of ratty. He removed the 272 engine and Fordomatic transmission and installed a 312 Mercury with a Wolverine cam, a 57 Ford Nascar dual quad set up and a 3 speed floor shift from an F-1 pick up. We sure had a lot of fun with that old sleeper. It performed well for what it was.
    I remember one night we were out cruising and came upon a 54 Ford coupe with nice paint, dual exhaust and probably a stock 239 V8 and a 3 speed on the column. Very typical of something you'd see back in those days. Looked good but couldn't get out of its own way. I was riding shotgun and asked the 54's driver if they would run us. He replied we'd beat you. I said I know but we never raced a real hot rod before and would like to see how much you'd beat us by. When the light turned green, we blew their doors off. After we pulled over, I still remember the look on their faces when they saw the two 4 barrels and said holy shit it even has a floor shift.
    Another friend of mine had a 54 Willys stock bodied four door sedan that had a 283 SBC in it that surprised a lot of people.
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
  12. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,010


    Had a friend in the late 60's when muscle cars were the rage. He had a kinda ratty old 55 chevy 4 sedan-salmon and white. It had a nasty 396 with a turbo 400 and a narrowed rearend with 4.88's. Big tires with 55 full caps screwed onto the rims. It beat most everything he ran up against and surprised lots of muscle car guys. In 59 another friend had a ratty 50 chevy fastback with a 57 Olds J2 and hydro that was rarely beaten. He outran the CHP quite a few times as ell. Fun times.
    stillrunners, j-jock and Deuces like this.
  13. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,462


    Late 80's, and I still had the 333 CID, 327+.040 over, 10.35 pistoned, with 461X, P and P heads, that had been in my FED. Still had the shorty Powerglide with trans-brake, and the 4500 RPM stall converter also. The Z-28 Camaro's and Mustang 5.0's were really popular, and they all thought they had something. I found a 63 Chevy II Station Wagon that a guy had removed the six cylinder and Powerglide from for his nicer Chevy II, 2 door Sedan. Swapped a different distributor in the 333, pulled the shorty Powerglide apart, and reinstalled a full length planetary and extension housing. 4.88 Positraction and aftermarket 4 bolt axles, along with some slapper bars. The spare tire well of the wagon got filled with concrete, and left the faded blue/green paint alone. It would kill the 5.0 Mustangs and Camaro's, but the little, tiny brakes made for some interesting stops; my wife wanted me out of that car. After a year or so, I pulled out the 333 and Powerglide, and sold the Wagon to a "friend", who promptly put in a 350/350 combo, and then wrecked the car; the brakes were still just not enough. He was supposed to get the rear end back to me, but instead had a hulk hauler come get what was left of the car. That was a real sleeper, the only give-a-way were the slotted aluminum wheels, 13's in front, 14's in the rear, and the rumpety exhaust. Have another sleeper going together, a little too new for this forum, with a 468, Rollered, BBC, TH400, 4000 stall converter, and 4.10, Posi, 12 bolt. SLEEPER 2.0; mostly a Sportsman Bracket Car. actually
    I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
    Deuces likes this.
  14. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,642


    1967...16 years old ...... 1955 Ford Four door Fairlane my grandfather gave me. Nice car with a 272 auto....pulled it......... put a 430 MEL in it, that I rebuilt. Stock quiet dual exhaust , stock hubcaps. Had a blast with it.
    Later in life.... a little different kind of sleeper.... had a slightly ot truck that we pulled a long Gooseneck trailer with, put a 428 Cobra Jet in it with 4:10 gears. Could out pull the diesels of that time!

    Deuces likes this.
  15. I have a friend that put a 430 in to a 55 Ford two door back in 1959-60. It was a lot of work, but it was a torque monster. He had to do a lot of work on the steering and suspension to get it placed right.
    One of my biggest regrets, was that I sold a 78 Ford 250, in which I had installed a 428CJ. It was a great ride, but a guy offered me way more money than I thought it was worth. Big mistake, I still miss that truck. The only thing I kept off the truck, was the Ford aluminum high rise intake. My plan is to use it on another 428CJ I have set aside for my 67 big block Caliente.
    Boneyard51 and Deuces like this.
  16. winduptoy
    Joined: Feb 19, 2013
    Posts: 2,197


    '64 first generation GMC van. It had a high revving 327, three on the tree, ladder in the ladder rack and a company logo painted on the side...that's all.
  17. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,642


    Yeah, they are fun...both the CJs and the MELs. I don’t remember any troubles putting the MEL in my ‘55. I took it out of a 58 Lincoln, those didn’t have the FE type engine mounts. I welded some perches on the frame near the spring bulge, then fabricated some mounts for the engine out of big channel iron and used some biscuit engine mounts. The biggest problem I remember was having to piece together the exhaust out of old exhaust pipes I had laying around. I made some mistakes, but I was only 16.
    My CJ was in a 75 long wheel base flat bed one ton. Still have it parked in the barn on the ranch. Fixing to do some engine changing soon!

  18. Unfortunately, my buddy, who was a tank driver in the Korean War, has been in a veterans home for almost 10 years because of a neurological disorder, so I can't ask him what the exact problem was regarding the steering. I also don't know where he sourced the engine.
    It is really sad to have a friend that used to drive a top fuel rail, and is now unable to walk or communicate.
    INVISIBLEKID, Deuces and Boneyard51 like this.
  19. Frankie47
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 1,771

    from omaha ne.

    Shoe horned a 440/4 speed into a 1960 plymouth Valiant......couldn't keep tires on the rear end!
    j-jock and Deuces like this.
  20. BadgeZ28
    Joined: Oct 28, 2009
    Posts: 1,076

    from Oregon

    I had a 1956 Plymouth Plaza. Bench seat, three on the tree and a 354 Chrysler hemi and 4:10 gears back in the early 1960's. I had a loud exhaust on it and got a ticket for excessive noise. The judge knew my dad and told me he would check with him and make sure I quieted down the car. So, on went bigger mufflers which helped make it a sleeper.
    Deuces likes this.
  21. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,642


    I hear you Bob, I’ve lost most of my old hot rodder friends, including my Dad. I know what you mean when you say” can’t ask your friend” . I do that at times, I say well I’ll ask Richard or Randy or my Dad.......nope. They’re still in our head, just not on earth.

    INVISIBLEKID, j-jock and Deuces like this.
  22. The old 1964 SS with the 396 4 sp was pretty hip in the mid to later 70's if I could keep the rear end together.....

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