How To Make A Granny Sleeper Missile

Farm Truck

Farm Truck

Gargling Gas has always been obsessed with the sleeper carThere’s nothing more satisfying than driving a seemingly run-of-the-mill car, knowing you have serious power underneath your right foot.

Farm Truck’ from Street Outlaws is sometimes referred to as a ‘Sleeper’, but is it really? If I saw that beat old truck roll up with its tuned engine throbbing and its fat rear wheels, I’d know something was up, especially if they bet me money to race.

So what is the perfect wolf in sheep’s clothing?

I’ve written a whole host of sleeper-related articles, and this sleeper car link is a great example of them, as they are all A: Wagon/Estates, and B: Powerful and unassuming.

Granny With Power

Granny With Power

This led me to thinking about what other cars would make unsuspecting sleeper cars – after all, Gargling Gas’ sister site, Sleeper Cars, features many types of sleeper.

Nothing quite says ‘granny’ than the late 80s Nissan Bluebird. After a little research and luck (Nissan actually attached a turbo to this thing and called it the ZX Turbo), I discovered it would be quite easy to create a 0-60-mph in 6.5-secs granny missile.

That sounds rather optimistic, but considering the 1.8-L ZX Turbo possessed 140-bhp and the car itself weighed in at around 1200-KGs, what’s achievable with a little tweaking is pretty plausible. I tried comparing it with something a little younger and came across the Saxo VTS. I owned one of these fantastic pocket rockets, and it was quick. From its 1.6-L 120-bhp engine, it could hit 60-mph in a little over 7 seconds. It weighed in at just over a ton, but considering the Bluebird has the extra 20-bhp and a turbo, the 6.5 second figure could be achieved.

So basically, you want to take this:

Nissan Bluebird Turbo

Nissan Bluebird Turbo

Play around with this:

Nissan Bluebird Simple Engine Mods

Nissan Bluebird Simple Engine Mods

This is where a cold air intake comes in. Depending on budget, you could go further and fit a slightly bigger exhaust for better flow, but ensure it is well hidden so as to avoid being sprung as a sleeper.

You want to contain all the mods underneath, hidden and out of sight. The owner of this particular Bluebird installed a manual boost controller, and I’ve heard over 250-bhp can be hit, although for the size and weight, around 160-bhp is plenty to have fun with.

After all is done, remove all the ZX and Turbo badges or decals. Remove any sporty trim and try and replace with standard boring trim. You could even sell the alloys and fit standard wheels with dull trims.

Hopefully you’ll end up with something like this:

Boring But Fast Granny Mobile

Boring But Fast Granny Mobile

Probably one of the dullest looking cars on the road, but with a few sly touches here and there, capable of embarrassing cars way out of its league.

Let the fun and fury commence…


ZZZ ZZZ Sleeper

What you see above isn’t quite what you’d expect. Okay, so it’s obviously a sleeper build (the title and reg plate also give it away), and you’d be right in thinking this ordinary 80s Ford possesses a little extra grunt. Now take a closer look at the Granada’s wheels – you’re probably now expecting the build to have taken on more than the usual sleeper modifications.

I first saw this car featured in a forum a few years ago when it featured a 600-hp Ford Cosworth YB engine. Even that was a monstrous transplant, leaving a demon sleeper capable of embarrassing pretty much anything on the roads. 

I have so much respect for the owner and builder for what he did next I think I’d swoon if I met him. I know he is from Norway, and judging from his history with his beloved Ford Granada, he’s missing a few nuts and bolts upstairs. As if 600-hp wasn’t enough, he ripped the Cosworth engine out and installed (wait for it) a twin-turbocharged 4.7-L V8 built by Ford and re-engineered by Koenigsegg. Multiply its previous power output by nearly 3 and you are left with 1700-hp… Jesus H Christ.

Isn’t she a thing to behold, a wonderful experiment taken too far? Of course, all this ludicrous power is harnessed by a lot of other modifications – follow this thread for a detailed diary and pictures of the build.

What I admire most about this creation is the fact the owner knew exactly what his sleeper should be. The Granada isn’t the obvious choice as there’s the classic Escort and Sierra that are the usual Fords to take on the mods. It’s 80s, boxy and cool, and although it suggests a few extra hps, you’d never suspect a whopping 1700 of them.

I take my hat off to you, you mad Norwegian Doc Emmett Brown – you’ve created the world’s most terrifying sleeper.

If you agree and want to see more of this chap, check out his Facebook page and watch the monster come to life in the video below.



Fugly Yet Fast Sleeper

What you see above is a typical elderly person’s car, or a hand-me-down any teenager would secretly appreciate as a key to freedom . It’s a rather bland Ford Festiva, a late eighties box of delights. By ‘delights’ I mean the installation of a beautiful mid-mounted V8 – this is taking the creation of the Sleeper to the highest level. 

In many ways this is complete insanity; not in the concept of transforming this car into a stealth whip, but the fact the gorgeous V8 and its set-up must cost around twenty times the price of the vehicle. Whilst it can obviously pump out some serious BHP, it can only find the tarmac through the Ford’s silly little 13″ wheels.

The engine may be mid-mounted but it’s still a front wheel drive car, which equals mental under/torque steer. Another factor that may/will kill its driver is the decision to overlook the addition of bigger brakes… the builder “might get around to those” – let’s hope he stays alive long enough.

Now take these exhausts into consideration – I’ve seen a picture with them hidden beneath those black flaps (Maybe they only pop out when on the move?) but they are a pretty original looking, very Mad Max. If you dig this sleeper, there are more pictures on Autoblog.


Sleepers Have Got A Hold On Me


Yep, I’m banging on about old Mercs again. Being a fan of Sleeper or Q cars, I couldn’t really  pass up the opportunity to write this post and perhaps prompt someone into buying and giving her good home.

After all, this is a real classic, one of the ‘last of the proper Mercedes’. The W123 is a timeless and over-engineered car quite capable of clocking up half a million miles if serviced correctly. This model – the 230E – wasn’t particularly fast, but then it wasn’t supposed to be; it was a solid car with a comfortable, reassuring and quiet ride. I owned the more powerful 260E with the inline 6, and although it was 20 years old, it was smooth, solid, no rattles, and all the electrics still worked.

Despite its lack of power, the 230E featured here as a trick up her sleeve in the form of a Mercedes 500E V8 transplant. Although there is some confusion regarding the previous model and its corresponding engine number (the M117 wasn’t installed into a 500E as the 500E received the M119), given a good servicing the M117 could probably achieve somewhere in the region of the 200+-bhp mark. The aforementioned 500E was actually called ‘the sheep in wolf’s clothing’ by the press as it could hit 62-mph in 5.5 seconds – no mean feat in 1990 for a big car.

The 230E pictured here would expect to hit 60-mph in around 12 seconds, the sort of car you’d expect to see a tweed-attired silver top trundling around town in for his newspaper and pipe tobacco.  With over double the engine displacement and with some modern bits and bobs replacing dated components, this sleeper could expect to match that of a modern hot-hatch. And let’s not forget this model is significantly lighter than the much larger 500E, so this is also a bonus.

The engine transplant was professionally undertaken, so no need to worry too much about that. I do wonder how the handling has been compromised, although I’m assuming this has been taken care of with stiffer front suspension.

It’s a bit scruffy, but considering her age, she’s in the initial restoration stage – she only needs the basics done to bring back to her former glory. If I had the space, but more importantly, an understanding wife (she doesn’t realise that cars have feelings too…) – I’d snap her up.

Here she is, the 230E Sleeper.