Wednesday, April 14, 2010


It seems every sport or hobby has its own lingo you know, its own special language and terminology. And if you don’t know it… it sure sounds foreign. Following is a “dictionary” that includes many of the terms used by hot rodders… high-performance enthusiasts… sport compact tuners… you name it – all in the name of speed. Now keep in mind, some of these terms go back to the roots of high-performance cars, so they may sound dated ,but go to any gathering of performance enthusiasts and hot rodders and you’ll hear a lot of these terms still in use today.
A-bone – a Model A Ford
All show and no go – a car that may look great, but is lacking in the performance department.
Bad – good
Balonies – big, wide tires, usually on the rear
Bang Shift – quickly shifting a manual transmission, as in – “banging through the gears”
Belly Pan – bodywork underneath a car to streamline the bottom
Bench Racing – when “performance enthusiasts” sit around talking about how fast a certain person's car is, or discussing who could beat who in a race
Billet – aftermarket components machined out of aluminum
Binders – brakes
Blown Engine – means an engine that is supercharged; can also mean an engine that exploded
Blower – supercharger
Blower Drive – the belt and pulleys that are used to drive a supercharger
Bobbed – derived from the verb – bob – means to cut short or reshape; in referring to cars, “bobbing” means shortening the fenders or hood
Bone yard – an automotive junk yardBoost – refers to the amount of intake manifold pressure generated by a Turbocharger or Supercharger
Bored and Stroked – refers to an engine that has larger cylinders and a longer stroke than a stock engine
Bottom End – refers to the crankshaft, connecting rods and bearings located in the “bottom” of an engine
Burn Rubber – means to spin the tires, creating tire smoke
Cam – abbreviation for Camshaft – the part of an engine that controls the opening and closing of the valves
CC-ing – refers to accurately measuring the volume of each cylinder or combustion chamber to equalize the volume in a high performance engine
Channel – physically cutting out a portion of the body so it is lower in relationship to the frame rails to reduce overall height of the vehicle (typically only done to older body-on-frame vehicles)Chop – removing a section of the body to lower the roofline
CID – refers to the Cubic Inch Displacement of an engine
Crank – refers to the crankshaft, can also mean to go fast – ex– “Crank on It"
Deck – to remove the chrome and handles from the trunk lid
Deuce – a 1932 Ford
Digs – slang for drag races
Dig Out – to accelerate quickly
Digger – a dragster
Dragster – a purpose-built vehicle for drag racing; typically refers to Top Fuel dragsters, which are the fastest class of vehicles

EFI – stands for Electronic Fuel Injection
E.T. – stands for Elapsed Time, which is the time it takes to run a quarter mile drag race
Fat – refers to an over-rich air-fuel mixture, denoted by excessive black smoke
Fill – filling the body seams on a car to create a smoother appearance, typically done with lead or body filler
Flathead – a side valve engine design in which the valves are in the body of the engine rather than in the cylinder head; also refers to 1932 to 1953 Ford flathead motors
Flamed – graphic representation of flames
Flame Throwers – a device added at the end of the exhaust system that ignites unburned gases as they leave the exhaust pipe [NOTE: this may be illegal in some states]
Floor Pan – the floor of a vehicle
Four Banger – a 4-cylinder engine
Four Barrel – a type of carburetor that has four intake chambers
Four on the Floor – a 4-speed manual transmission with a floor-mounted shifter
French – refers to recessing the headlights, removing the seam of the headlight trim ring, or any other recessing
Fuel Injected – a mechanical or electrical device that 'injects' fuel into an engine; replaces the traditional carburetor
Gasser – refers to a modified car that competes at drag races and runs on gasoline (as opposed to dragsters that run on nitro-methane)
Gear Box – Transmission
‘Glass – short for fiberglass
Grocery Getter – a mild street rod that is used for short trips
Gutted – a car with its interior removed
Handler – a car that is easy to drive
Haze the Hides – to spin and smoke the tires
Headers – specialized exhaust manifolds that help reduce exhaust back pressure therefore increasing power
Hemi – a high-performance engine with hemispherical heads
Hides – tires
Highboy – a hot rod with no fenders or running boards and the body place high on the frame rails
High Tech – a car that combines a customized body with billeted or chrome appearance parts
Hot Rod – a vehicle that has been modified to improve its appearance and performance
Huffer – supercharger
Hydro – refers to an automatic transmission (derived from the name, Hydromatic, a transmission used in the 50's)
In the Weeds – either a really low vehicle or a vehicle that has lost control and ended up in a ditch
Igniter – the engine’s ignition system
Jug – the carburetor
Juice – fuel, electricity or hydraulic fluid
Knock Offs – a special wheel system that is held in place with one large, quickly removed nut
Lakes – refers to the dry lakes in Southern California and Utah (the site of the Bonneville Salt Flats) where drivers attempt to set speed records
Lakes Modified – a radically modified racer designed for racing at the dry lakes
Lean it Out – to alter the air-fuel mixture to improve performance and use less fuel
Locker – a “locking” differential that helps prevent tire spin by transferring power from the wheels that slip to the ones with grip
Loud Petal – the accelerator petal
Louvers – vents or slots cut in and raised in various body panels
Lowboy – a hot rod that has no fenders or running boards and is lowered over the frame
Mag – short for a wheel made of magnesium alloy – many of today’s wheels are called “mags” but they are made out of aluminum alloy; can also mean Magneto, a self contained ignition system
Mill – the engine; can also refer to “milling” the cylinder head, which is where material is cut away to raise the compression ratio
NOS – Nitrous Oxide System – injects nitrous oxide into the engine to boost performance
N.O.S. – stands for “New Old Stock” and refers to parts that are the original parts supplied by the vehicle’s manufacturer
Nerf – short for Nerf Bars, which are used to ward off tires in open wheel racing cars; also refers to small “bumperettes” on a car
Newstalgia – refers to a rod style that mimics the ‘50s and ‘60s yet employs modern power plants, components and body panels
Overbore – an engine block that has had the cylinder bores enlarged to replace worn pistons or to generate more power
Overwind – running an engine faster than its design limits
Pearl – paint that looks like “Mother of Pearl” with its iridescent colors
Pin Stripe – long, narrow painted stripes
Pinks – means to race for pink slips – i.e. “lose the race, lose your ride”
Ported – intake and exhaust ports that have been polished and/or enlarged to improve the flow of gases in or out of the cylinder head
Poser – a car that looks fast, but is really stock underneath; often includes oversized exhaust outlets, body kits or rear spoiler
Pro Street – a hot rod made to look like a drag racing car
Puffer – supercharger
Quick Change – a drive gearset that allows for rapid changing of gear ratios
RPM – Revolutions per Minute – i.e., how many revolutions the engine’s crankshaft completes in one minute
Rails – refers to the frame side rails
Raked – a car that has been lowered in the front or raised in the back
Reacher – a dependable street rod
Repro – reproduction parts to match or replace N.O.S. parts
Resto Rod – a street rod with a stock appearing body
Roadster – a two-seater with a removable top and no roll up side windows
Rod – short for hot rod or connecting rodRoll Bar – a special “cage” made of round, tubular steel and designed to protect the driver and occupants in case of roll over Roller – has two meanings: a chassis that is completed enough to be rolled around; it also refers to a type of camshaft that uses roller lifters
Sano – short for “sanitary” which is a car that is absolutely spotless
Scatter Shield – a protective enclosure around an engine or transmission to protect the driver in case of a failure
Scoop – a device on the hood or body to force air into the engine or brakes at higher speeds
Section – to remove a band of metal from around the middle section of a vehicle to reduce its overall height
Slammed – a vehicle that has been lowered close to the ground
Skins – tires
Skirts – short for Fender Skirts, which cover the wheel well openings in customs and hot rods Smoothy – a car that has had all raised portions of the body removed
Spots – short for spot lights, also refers to disk brakes
Stacks – short for Velocity Stacks, which are used on the intake track to increase intake velocity
Step Plates – pads mounted on running boards or fenders to keep the paint or rubber matting from being scratched or getting dirty
Stick Shift – a floor-mounted manual transmission gear shift lever
Stone – a slooooow car
Stroker – an engine equipped with a longer than stock crankshaft throw with modified length connecting rods
Supercharger – a mechanical device designed to force air into an engine at higher than atmospheric pressure
T-Bucket – a short, fenderless, open 'T' body hot rod
TPI – Tuned Port Injection
Tach – short for Tachometer, a device to monitor engine RPMs
Tranny – short for Transmission
Tubbed – to increase the wheel well size to accommodate very large tires
Tuck and Roll – an old-school style of upholstery
Tuner – a person who modifies a car – this person lives, eats and dreams cars and does performance mods before appearance mods; also refers to a vehicle that has been transformed from stock into a “street racer”
U Joints – short for Universal Joints
Uncorked – driving without mufflers
Wires – wire spoke wheels
X Member – the center portion of a frame where the frame rails meet or cross
Zoomy – a wild street rod with open exhaust pipes

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