The Toyota Sleeper Camry, which artfully disguises a dragster chassis as a run-of-the-mill Camry, may well be the surprise star of this year’s SEMA show.
Many adjectives have been hurled dismissively at the Toyota Camry over the years, including dull and boring. Sometimes, though, being a little anonymous can work to one’s advantage.
A case in point is the Toyota Sleeper Camry. Built in just 11 weeks by Toyota USA’s Motorsports Technical Center, the Sleeper Camry made its debut today at the 2014 SEMA show in Las Vegas.
Aside from the alloy wheels, ultra-fat tyres and lower stance, there are almost no obvious external differences, at least from the front and sides, between the Sleeper Camry and the facelifted 2015-model year car that’s now gracing the showrooms, interstates and hire car lots of America.
Under the Camry XSE body shell is a tube-frame chassis mated to the 5.7-litre V8 engine, transmission, rear axle and electronics package used in Toyota’s full-size Tundra pickup truck.
To bring power output up from 284kW/544Nm to 634kW (850hp) and beyond, Toyota fitted a supercharger, wet nitrous system, MagnaFlow exhaust, and forged pistons and connecting rods to their truck engine.
Equipped with 335/30 tyres at the rear and 18-inch alloy wheels, Toyota estimates that the Sleeper Camry is good for a quarter mile (400m) time of 9.8 seconds.
The Sleeper Camry’s doors are fully functioning and, indeed, keep their production arm rest and trim components. The rest of the interior, though, is stripped down, pared back and focussed on delivering blistering quarter mile times, with space enough only for the driver.