Domestic cars don’t get enough attention on TTAC, but we can also be prone to heaping too much praise on particular examples; I may be the lone dissenting voice on the roster that does not swear a blood oath to the Panther. The W-Body Impala, which is set to go into Panther-like fleet-only production until mid-2014, is similarly polarizing. Some adore it, some despise it while others reflexively disdain it due to the effusive praise heaped upon it.
Old-timers will tell you that the Golden Age of the Sleeper ran from the end of World War II through the late 1960s, when you could take, say, a Grandma-spec ’61 Lancer wagon and stuff the engine compartment full of Max Wedge 413 power. I think the old-timers are as wrong about that as they are about the superiority of film cameras over digital cameras; the current era of computerized engine controls, big turbochargers, and tougher drivetrain components means you can get ridiculous power (and handling) out of quotidian transportation appliances. So, looking at the current lineup of snore-inducing machinery that nobody would ever in a million years suspect of being quick, which new car would provide the best balance of potential performance and invisibility? A Kia Rio with a huge turbocharger and the finest suspension upgrades that cubic yards of cash can buy? (Read More…)