For $18,000, Is This Sleeper A Beauty?

Rip Van Winkle is perhaps history's most famous sleeper but today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe V8 Focus could easily give Rip a run for his money. That is of course, if it doesn't run for too much of yours.

Let's just go out on a limb here and admit that if there's one thing that the Italians know, it's how to look good. That goes for everything from suits to cappuccino machines to girls on the back of Vespas, and most assuredly to cars. Obviously however, style costs money.

Of course here in 'Murica we're more interested in artifice and getting the best deal, and that's why yesterday we had a phony baloney Fiero-Ferrari which was offered at a significant discount from what the real thing would cost. Unfortunately for its seller, that discount wasn't nearly enough for the hard bargainers of Jalopnik, and it fell in an 84% Crack Pipe loss.

Today we're keeping the dream alive and the streak of owner-modded cars going with a fourteen year old Ford Focus that's a true wolf in sheep's clothing. The OED defines a sleeper as a car that looks unassuming on the outside but packs a powerful punch due to unexpected changes made underneath. At least my edition describes it as such... in pencil.

For $18,000, Is This Sleeper A Beauty?

This Focus is such a massive sleeper that you might even dub it the 'coma car.' Externally, it evidences little of what lies below, featuring the once audacious but now familiar Focus bodywork in three-door hatchback form. Only a nice set of SVT alloys belies this car's true nature.

That nature becomes pretty unnatural once you pop the hood where, instead of the Focus' transverse four, you'll find a 5.0 V8 pointed ominously at your crotch. Backing that up is a C4 gearbox, and power is now sent not to the front wheels but to a, 8.8 rearend, late of a Mustang.

For $18,000, Is This Sleeper A Beauty?

Remarkably, all of this work is pretty much a bolt-in affair, and has been engineered by Hot Rod parts maker Kugel Komponents of La Habra California. You've got to wonder about the inspiration for such a conversion - I mean, who looks at a Focus and says, you know what, Hoss, that thing could really stand to be a V8 rear-driver?

Regardless of the genesis, the fact of the matter is that Kugel offers the parts to put either a mod motor or, as in this case, a more traditional Windsor, in your Focus's face. The current owner and seller of this green machine says that he believes the car to have pretty much everything on Kegel's Focus fun list, which probably means he's not the builder.

For $18,000, Is This Sleeper A Beauty?

While the outside is reassuringly stock, on the inside it's not quite in Kansas anymore. There it features a B&M shifter, digital speedo and phat tach, and a triplet gauge cluster precariously mounted over the passenger's airbag- screw them, right? There's a fuel cell and battery box under the hatch, but the rest is all penny pinch plastic and grey mouse fur, as you might expect.

Unlike many a mod, this Focus, while packed to the gills with cylinders, still manages to still have A/C and heat. Along with those nods to comfort comes entertainment in the form of the that carb'd crate motor V8. The install is said to have been professionally done, and there's nothing in the car's appearance to belie that claim.

For $18,000, Is This Sleeper A Beauty?

Kugel says you could possibly match the parts that went into this car for about $5,500. That doesn't include the mill, cog box or rearend, all of which could be sourced either from a catalog or a wrecking yard. According to the company, a full conversion is about $20,000, or if you don't like to get your fingernails dirty there's this wild child at near eighty.

Or, you could buy this one for $18,000, and call it a day.

What do you think about this sleeper cell Focus for that eighteen grand price? Is that a deal that would have you waking up your banker? Or, is that a price that would have you letting sleeping dogs - and Foci - lie?

You decide!

Holland MI Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to iamtehstig for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOCP. Click here to send a me a fixed-price tip, and remember to include your commenter handle.