The term "sleeper car" goes back to the 1950s, when American manufacturers started building high output cars that would eventually spawn into muscle cars a decade later. Tracking the first sleeper is a daunting task, but most stories lead to the 1955 Chrysler C-300, a two-door, luxury coupe motivated by a 5.4-liter V-8 engine rated at 300 horsepower. It was the first production passenger car to come with 300 ponies on tap and a design that had nothing to say about that. The "all go and no show" car was born, a trend that would continue with vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9, the Lotus Carlton or the Audi RS2 Avant.
Sleepers are still among us in 2014. Looking for a very fast car that doesn’t scream "I’m fast as a bullet!"? There are plenty of options to choose from that cover various segments. Sedans , wagons, SUVs , you name it. Be careful though, you might miss them due to their bland styling. Make sure you have a look under the hood and check that spec sheet.
Meanwhile, I put together a list of Top 5 Sleeper Cars available today. It includes a few American-built vehicles, and a couple more coming from cold, snowy Sweden and rugby-loving Australia. Check them out past the jump and tell me your thoughts in the comments section. Did I miss anything? Is there a vehicle that shouldn’t be on this list?
Click past the just to read more about the best sleeper cars on the market.