Street racing is now regarded as a highly illicit and dangerous activity, but this was not always the case. For as long as there have been cars, there's been racing, and a lot of acceleration contests took place on public roads. The car owner/drivers were not only competing for pride, but typically there was some kind of cash wager involved. For this reason, it became popular in the 1950s for some enterprising street racers to disguise or hide the true potential hidden within their cars. Taken to its extreme, a very fast car could appear completely unmodified. Such cars were called 'Sleepers,' since their appearance would lull you to sleep until they passed you at full speed.
The art of building a successful sleeper has varied over the decades as styles and times have changed. One fact that remains constant is that the car's appearance belies its performance potential. In Street Sleepers, the secrets are exposed and the owners and builders of some of America's quickest street machines share their deceptive art. Outstanding photography and in-depth owner interviews tell the tale, and even engine specifications and quarter-mile track times are shared. There was a time when such things were well-guarded secrets, but this book truly exposes all the tricks!
For anyone who's ever dreamt of building a great sleeper, or has been relieved of some cash by betting against one, this book is a must-have. Countless tales have been told about some secret speed trick or hidden power in an otherwise sedate-looking vehicle, but Street Sleepers is lined with true stories of real cars that live up to the grand hot rodder's tradition of deceptively fast cars.
"If you like to keep your horsepower as tight as a CIA secret, check out Street Sleepers." -Old Cars Weekly, February 9, 2012
Tommy Lee Byrd is a nationally known contributor to many automotive enthusiast magazines including Street Rod Builder and Hot Rod. He has many years of experience writing automotive articles (from features to technical how-to) and shooting pro-level photographs. Tommy grew up the son of an expert custom auto body and paint man, and calls Dayton, Tennessee, his home.