The term “sleeper” gets used rather liberally these days, and if the Internet dictates current vernacular, it can be applied to everything from a station wagon with an aftermarket cold air intake to a de-badged first generation Camaro. This van though, bought by the guys at AMS Performance, is the kind of vehicle that truly defines the term.
Powered by its original 5.3-liter V8 short block, this eight seater cargo van makes just over 700 horsepower with the aid of a set of 317 cylinder heads, an LS6 camshaft, and a single 72mm turbo.
Combined with a Cummins intercooler, a Tial 50mm wastegate, a pair of Aeromotive Stealth 340 fuel pumps, and a Devil’s Own meth injection kit, the 6000 pound all-wheel drive “AMS Express” is capable of dishing out mid-12 second drag strip passes – enough to embarrass plenty of high performance hardware more commonly seen staging at the track. What’s more, the when not hunting for muscle cars, the van remains completely streetable and sees regular duty as work truck for the shop, hauling cargo and personnel whenever needed.
The AMS Express is the brainchild of Jon Whittington, who had built the van and posted a few videos that impressed the team at AMS. Arne Toman, Vice President of AMS and a self-described fan of sleepers and unusual projects – found out it was for sale and knew he had to have it. Aside from the high performance rolling stock and the AMS badging, externally there’s little else to indicate that this is anything more than a run of the mill passenger van, and if that doesn’t epitomize a sleeper, we don’t know what does.