Air Dam--A front spoiler intended to
divert air from traveling underneath the car. Air dams can improve
aerodynamics, reduce lift, and increase the airflow through the front
Antique--Technically, this refers to a
vehicle built in 1914 or earlier. A-Pillar--The support on either side
of a vehicle's windshield.
Berlinetta--Term invented by Enzo Ferrari to designate his
coupe designs. Applied more broadly to any make of sports coupes.
Bonnet--British term for hood. Boot--British term for trunk lid. Boxer--Also known as a flat engine. A
motor with opposed cylinder banks; the name boxer derives from the idea of
the pistons thrusting or boxing towards the opposing bank. Advantages to
the boxer design include low center of gravity, improved cooling, and low
height that makes the engine valuable for cars with a low profile. B-Pillar--Pillar running behind the
front window and the rear window, should the vehicle have one. Business Coupe--Two door coupe without
a rumble seat.
Cabriolet--A convertible with windows.
Cammer--An extremely high performance
engine built by Ford at its Dearborn engine plant in early 1964, the SOHC
427 produced in the area of 700 horsepower in race tune. This hemi-head
engine was originally designed for NASCAR, but was deemed too exotic to be
sanctioned. While never appearing in a production vehicle, a number of
them found their way onto the drag strips. Don Prudhomme was the first
drag racer to break the 7 sec barrier in the quarter mile with this motor.Seven A/FX Mustangs were also built with the cammer engine.
Channeled--A vehicle that has had the body lowered relative to
the frame. Classic--There are two technical
definitions for this, in addition to the broader sense of any vehicle with
collector interest. A classic can refer to any car that is 25 years old or
older. It can also refer to a range of vehicles built mostly from 1925 to
1948. The non-technical use of the term would acknowledge that an Aston
Martin or Dodge Viper is a classic from the moment it is rolled out of the
factory. Concours--A car show of the very
finest vehicles, or a vehicle that is up to concours standards. Typically,
concours shows and levels of restoration center on such outstanding
marques as Bugatti, Talbot-Lago, Duesenberg, Delahaye, Isotta Fraschini,
etc. Coupe--Closed car with two doors, and
technically, less than 33 cubic feet of rear interior volume. Coupelet--Model T two seater
cabriolet. Cycle Fenders--Fenders that closely follow the curvature of the wheel,
similar to motorcycle fenders. It can apply to either front or rear
fenders, but is more common in the front. One example of front cycle
fenders is the
Destroked--An engine with a shorter
throw crankshaft, usually done to increase RPM capacity or to fulfill
racing restrictions on engine size.
Deuce--32 Ford Dickey--Rumble seat Digs--Drag races DOHC--Double Overhead Camshaft. Two
camshafts for each cylinder bank. Drophead--British for convertible. Dual Cowl--A type of touring car or
phaeton with the cab divided into two parts, front and back, and separated
by a windshield on a folding cowl.
EuroAmerican Hybrids--A class of cars
featuring European design and American power. While American engines of
the kind described typically produce less power per displacement than
European motors, their sheer size relative to most European motors, as
well as their relatively unstressed design, reliablity, and ease & economy
of repair makes them obvious candidates for use in European performance
cars. While the most famous hybrid is the AC Cobra, the list includes such
memorable automobiles as the Iso Grifo, Detomaso Pantera and Mangusta,
Bizzarrini, Monteverdi, GT40, Facel Vega, and many others.
Flathead--Introduced in the 1932, this
was the first truly affordable V-8, and the beginning of Ford's long
association with performance. The flathead
utilized a valve in block design, and the heads were greatly simplified
compared to modern overhead valve heads. Flathead engines have a
distinctive look, as can be seen in this 1932 Deuce Roadster Fordor--Four door Ford. Frenched--Recessed head or tail lights
that are smoothed into the body.
Goat-Pontiac GTO GTO--Gran Turismo Omologato, which is
Italian for Grand Touring Homologated. The name was originally applied to
the famed 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, and noted that enough of the vehicles had
been built for FIA-sanctioned GT racing. The term was later used by
Pontiac for the vehicle that launched the American muscle car phenomenon. Gullwing Doors--Doors hinged at their
top edges rather than the front or rear. The first car to use gullwing
doors was the Mercedes 300SL Coupe.
Hardtop--Vehicle with no side
B-pillar, meant to have the look of a convertible. Also, a removable top.
Hemi--Engine with hemispherical
combustion chambers. Especially, the high performance Chrysler V-8 engines
with hemi heads, which appeared in several incarnations from 1951 to 1971.The Chrysler 426 Hemi is one of the most famed production
engines in American automotive history.To this day, most Top Fuel
and Funny Car engines are based on the brilliant design of the 426 Hemi.
Hood--American term for front lid of vehicle, usually covering
Hood--British term for convertible top.
Intercooler--A heat exchanger that
cools the air or intake charge in a forced induction system.
Knockoffs--Wheels that are held in
place with one large nut.
Lake Pipes--Side exhaust pipes that
run under the rocker panels.
Landau--A limousine with an open front for the driver.
Landaulet--A landau with a fold down top for the rear
Lead Sled--A lowered and highly customized vehicle from the
late 40s and early 50s. Perhaps the most sought after candidate for a lead
sled is the 1949-1951 Mercury. Limousine--A chauffered sedan, usually
with an extended wheelbase, a separation between drivers and passengers,
and numerous conveniences for the passengers.
Marque--Make or manufacturer of
Monocle Windscreen--A circular section windscreen, carried on
the steering column, that offers protection only to the driver.
Monocoque--A frameless body structure that derives its strength
from a stressed, sophisticated body design, rather than relying upon a
Mopar--Chrysler vehicles, including Dodge, Plymouth, Imperial and
Mouse--Small block Chevrolet motor. The original small block
Chevy motor has appeared in more modified vehicles than any other motor in
automotive history. Muscle Car--This generally refers to
American mid-size cars with large engines built mostly from 1964 to 1972.
The first true American muscle car was the 1964 Pontiac GTO, with a 325 hp
389 4 bbl engine, and an optional 389 tri-power producing 348 hp. Although
every American car manufacturer, including AMC with its venerable AMX 390,
produced muscle cars during this time period, probably the last true
big-block muscle cars of this genre were also Pontiacs: the
extremely fast SD 455 Trans Am was produced in 1973 and 1974 in limited
Nerf Bar--Tubular bumper NOS--New Old Stock. Parts built by the
original manufacturer that have never been used.
Oversquare--An engine with a bore
longer than its stroke. Most postwar motors have an oversquare design.
Oversquare engines can rev higher, but at the expense of low-end torque.
An oversquare engine will typically produce more horsepower and less
torque than an undersquare one.
Pebble Beach--One of the world's
premiere car shows.
Phaeton--A four door open-touring car.
Pony Car--A category of American cars
that took its name from the Ford Mustang, one of the most successful cars
in automotive history. Pony cars are small to mid sized cars emphasizing
sportiness and frequently performance. Some of the cars that fall into
this classification include: Ford Mustang, the early Mercury Cougars,
Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Firebird, Plymouth Barracuda, Dodge Challenger,
and AMC's AMX. Although pony cars were not necessarily high performance,
the ones equipped with the more powerful V-8s are generally classified as
muscle cars, and equaled or exceeded the performance of the mid-sized
muscle cars. Some of the most famous high performance pony cars include
the Yenko Camaros, the Mustang 428 Super Cobra Jets, and the Hemi Cudas ProStreet--Vehicles that are built to
be streetable, but with the look and much of the performance of all out
drag cars in their displacement class. One of the most popular aspects of
hotrod culture, particularly in North America.
Rat--Big block Chevrolet motor. An
extremely popular motor among ProStreeters in particular. Rumble Seat--Seat located in trunk
area. The trunk lid is hinged from the rear, and folds up to form the seat
Sidemount--Spare tire mounted in the
Six-Pack--Same as tri-power, normally used to refer to the
venerable Mopar 440 engine with three carburetors.
Sleeper--A fast car that gives no indication of its true
SOHC--Single Overhead Camshaft. One camshaft for each cylinder
Spyder--Two seater roadster.
Street Rod--A highly modified vehicle built prior to 1948. Stroked--An engine with an increased
stroke from a crankshaft with a larger throw. Stroked engines will
typically not rev as high or as fast, but usually more than make up for it
in increased torque. Suburban--Seven passenger limousine. Suicide Doors--Doors that are hinged
at the rear. Supercharger--A means of forced
induction, i.e., using compressed air to get a higher density of oxygen in
the air-fuel mixture. Supercharging utilizes power from the crankshaft to
compress air. The two main types of superchargers are the Roots blowers
that mount atop the engine, and are particularly popular in ProStreet
cars; and Paxton-type superchargers that mount to the side of the engine,
and are sometimes found in production cars. Superleggera--Italian for super light.
Targa--A removable roof body style
with a fixed roll bar style body design that runs from side to side behind
the front seats.
T-Bucket--A modified Model T that is basically a chassis, a
drivetrain, and a (usually) fiberglass bucket with room for two
passengers. Most T-Buckets today are kit cars. Touring Car--Four door open car
without windows. Tri-Power--Engine with three 2 barrel
carburetors. Tubbed--A vehicle that has been
modified to allow enormous rear tires that don't protrude past the wheel
well. Tudor--Two door Ford sedan. Turbocharger--Device that compresses
air for forced induction, much like a supercharger, but instead of
relaying on power from the crankshaft, it runs off the pressure of exhaust
gases. While turbochargers are far more efficient than superchargers in
that they have less parasitic drain, their operation and mechanics is less
straight-forward than with supercharging. Turbocharging was very popular
in the 80s, but is less common today, even in ultra-expensive exoticars. The extremely fast Porsche 911 Turbo is one exception. One problem of turbocharging is that it requires a substantial
volume of exhaust gases to generate boost. This either has to come from a
larger motor, such as a V-8, or a smaller motor operating at high RPMs.
The need for high RPMs leads to turbo lag, and a generally unsatisfactory
solution for street driving. While turbocharging is a very impressive
technology that will likely regain its popularity at some point, a real
awareness of its strengths and weaknesses are in order. While it far
surpasses most other methods in obtaining optimal horsepower from a motor,
it won't give a 4 cylinder engine the torque characteristics of an 8
cylinder. Undersquare--An engine with the stroke
longer than the bore, a design conducive to low-end torque, but usually
not to horsepower. Undersquare motors were much more common in the prewar
period than they are today.
Vintage--Vehicles built from 1915 to
1942 Vis a Vis--Seating arrangement where
passengers face one another.
Wedge--Broadly, a common term for most
head designs that don't use hemispherical combustion chamber. More
narrowly, it refers to Chrysler motors, like the 413 Max Wedge, that used
a more conventional wedge-shaped combustion chamber.
Wing--British for fender.
Woody--Vehicle that uses wood in its body panels.