Wings, front splitters, wide sticky tires, low ride height— all of these things communicate “fast,” especially when coupled with a hefty sticker price. But sometimes a car’s styling makes promises its powertrain cannot keep.

The DeLorean DMC-12. It’s got gull-wing doors, so it has to be fast, right? Gull-wings, folks! Plus, at $25,000 in early 1980s money, the car cost a pretty penny. So exotic looks plus high sticker price equals tire-shreddingly quick, right? Nope. The DMC-12 was a slug. Not like your-grandpa’s-station wagon slow, but definitely slower than it should have been, especially when you opted for the 3-speed slushbox.

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“But it sounded so good in Back To The Future!” you say. Actually, sound effect artists had to dub in a Porsche 928’s V8 for the movie, because the Peugeot-Renault-Volvo 2.85-liter V6’s growl wasn’t cutting it. (For the record, the DeLorean is still cool enough that we’d never kick one out of our garage.)

So that brings us to our question: What other cars out there are the opposites of sleepers? What other cars seem like they’ll tear up a drag strip, but really they’re nothing but tortoises?

Photo Credit: William Murphy

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