When the sub surfaced, the crew would move the cargo and open fire, usually before the sub had a chance to react. These vessels became known as “Q-Ships,” named for their home port of Queenstown, Ireland.
Over the years the terms “Q-Ship” or “Sleeper” have been used to describe cars that aren’t as innocent as they appear, either. Take Dru Diesner’s 1972 Chevy Nova, for example: it wears faded and oxidized green paint, and has amassed its share of dents and dings over its 40-year lifespan.
Its steel wheels wear period-correct dog-dish hubcaps, and are shod with whitewall tires that appear to have come from the discount pile of a used-tire store. A casual glance inside reveals peeling paint on the dash, and seats wrapped in Mexican blanket covers. If you were a car thief, this particular Nova would be at the very bottom of your hit list.
Look a little closer, though, and you’ll see that all is not as it first appears. Those meaty rear tires were never standard issue on a 1972 Nova, and the carefully-hidden rollcage wasn’t a factory-installed item, either. Traction bars weren’t on the factory build sheet, which would lead the most observant to suspect the engine may have a few improvements, too.
Indeed it does, since under the faded hood sits a twin-supercharged LS2 V-8, good for some 1,160 horsepower at the rear wheels. That’s enough to power the car to nine-second quarter miles, a feat that few street-legal cars can manage. Look even closer inside and you’ll see a release handle for a parachute, necessary at the kind of drag strip velocities Diesner’s Nova can achieve.
We don’t condone street racing in any form, but Diesner’s car should serve as a warning to others. Before you throw down against another ride, you might want to make sure the cargo on its deck is real, and not just made of balsa wood.