A to Z Glossary of Hot Rod Terms

A to Z Glossary of Hot Rod Terms

Glossary of Hot Rod Terms

Don’t sound like you don’t know what you’re talking about next time at a car show, cruise-in, or meet. These are the terms you need to know…

Antique25 years old or older, in stock, unmodified, or restored to original condition.
AppletonsFender-mounted spotlights, named for the manufacturer.
Baby MoonsSmall chromed hubcaps that only cover the center of the wheel.
BalancedNormally used to define balancing the rotating mass (ie: crankshaft), but could also mean matching the weights of the pistons and rods.
BeltlineThe line running around a car’s body formed by the bottom edges of the side windows.
BlowerA supercharger.
Blown GasserA supercharged, gas burning engine.
BlueprintedEnsuring the dimensions of the parts in the engine are more accurate and, therefore, closer to the original engine blueprint values.
BulletsChromed, bullet-shaped extensions used on bumpers, grilles, and wheels.
Business CoupeA simple two-door coupe, without a rumble seat, built between the mid to late thirties. Also referred to as a Businessman’s Coupe.
Carson TopA solid, removable roof that is covered with a soft material.
ChanneledCutting the floor so the body rests around the frame rails rather than sitting on top of the frame. This gives an overall lowered appearance.
ChoppedA hard-top car that has had its roof lowered.
ClassicA fine or unusual motorcar built between 1925 and 1948. A classic is distinguished by its fine design, high engineering standards, and superior workmanship. Only certain important automotive brands are considered “true” classics.
ConvertibleAn open-top car with a folding roof and side windows.
Crate EngineFactory built, ready to run engine.
CustomA car that is modified in visual appearance through imaginative and technical methods to create a distinctive vehicle.
DagoA dropped front-end.
DeckedChrome details and trim removed from the trunk and smoothed over.
Deuce1932 Ford.
DroppedA significantly lowered vehicle.
Dual QuadTwo four barrel carburetors.
Dutchman PanelThe metal body piece between the rear window and the trunk.
Duval Windshielda split V-shaped raked chrome-plated windshield designed by George DuVall
ExoticA high-priced, two passenger roadster, coupe, or convertible, usually from Europe. A few exceptions exist such as the Dodge Viper or the original Shelby Cobra.
Fade-AwaysFenders that taper back into the body.
Fat FenderedFords built between 1935 and 1948 that were wide and rounded in appearance.
Fender SkirtsBody panels that cover the rear wheel wells.
Filled RoofOne that has a welded steel panel instead of the original wood-and-fabric insert.
FlamethrowersIgniting unburnt exhaust and shooting flames out the tailpipes.
FlatheadAn L-head or side-valve engine. The most popular flathead engine was built by Ford between 1932 and 1953.
FordorA four-door Ford sedan.
Frame-off RestorationA restoration project in which the entire vehicle is completely disassembled with all parts cleaned or replaced as necessary, so that the restored car meets the original factory specifications as closely as possible.
Frame-Up RestorationNot as detailed as a frame-off, but involves restoring the paint, chrome, interior, and mechanicals to original specifications without complete disassembly of the car.
FrenchedRecessed head or tail lights that are smoothed into the body panels.
Front ClipEither the front end sheet metal or the section of frame in front of the firewall.
Glass-packsLoud, aftermarket mufflers.
GoatPontiac GTO.
HeadersFine-tuned exhaust manifold that is more efficient than stock. Usually chromed or coated.
HemiAn engine that has hemispherical combustion chambers in its cylinder head. Popularized by Chrysler, starting around 1951.
HighboyA fenderless customized Model A Ford coupe or roadster that sits at stock height.
Hot RodTraditionally, an older vehicle with “low-buck” performance modifications.
Kit CarA reproduction of an existing automotive design, sold in various stages of production to allow for completion and customization by the builder.
LakepipesSide-exit exhaust pipes located under the rocker panels.
Land YachtLarge, luxury car, usually referring to the chromed, finned, oversized vehicles of the late fifties to early sixties.
LeadsledA lowered, late-forties car with molded body seams, traditionally done with lead.
LouversVents or slots punched in body panels. The most commonly louvered body panel is the hood, done to increase ventilation.
LowboyCustomized Model A Ford that has been channeled.
LoweredA vehicle that sits lower than stock height through suspension or frame modifications.
LowriderA vehicle that has been lowered by a hydraulic suspension system that can bring the ride height up in order to drive it.
Matching NumbersA restored or original vehicle in which all serial numbers (VIN, engine, body, transmission, rear end) can be researched and identified as being 100% correct for that specific vehicle.
MoldedBody seams that have been filled in or otherwise smoothed out.
MoonsFull wheel covers that are chrome and convex-shaped.
Muscle CarA North American intermediate or mid-sized car produced between 1964 and 1972 (with a few exceptions) with a large displacement V8 engine.
Nerf BarTubular bumper.
NOSNew Old Stock. Parts purchased from the manufacturer that were made at the time of the original vehicle but never sold. Also an abbreviation for Nitrous Oxide System.
NosedChrome details and trim removed from the hood and smoothed over.
OriginalContains only parts originally installed on the car or NOS parts from the manufacturer with no substitute or after-market parts.
PancakedHood modified to a lower profile.
PeakedA molded accent seam on a hood.
PinchedTo narrow the front frame to match the grill shell.
Pink SlipBefore the days of automobile titles, the portion of a California car registration that conveyed ownership was colored pink. Hence the brag in the Beach Boys’ “Little Deuce Coupe” about “I got the pink slip, daddy!”
PipedNarrow, padded pleats used to trim the interior.
PostThe pillar located between the front and rear doors of a four-door sedan.
Project CarOne that is in restorable condition.
Pro-StreetA vehicle features large rear wheels and tires tucked deeply into the rear fender area.
RakedThe front end has been lowered more than the back. Can also refer to a slanted windshield.
Rat RodA style of hot rod that imitates the early rods of the 40’s-60’s. Rat rods have an unfinished appearance (which they are not) with just the bare essentials to be driven. These early rods were built to the best of the owner’s abilities and were built to be driven, not shown. The rockabilly and punk culture are often credited with influencing today’s rat rods.
ReplicarA completed reproduction of an existing automotive design, usually sold only as a turn-key, or 100% complete, car.
Resto RodAn original looking car with a modified chassis or powerplant.
RestoredTo return a car to its original showroom condition.
RoadsterA convertible without side windows.
Roll PanSmoothed out panel that replaces the bumper and rolls back under the vehicle.
RolledBumper or gas tank removed and replaced with custom panel that “rolls” under.
Rolled & PleatedDeluxe interior sewn with padded pleats.
Rumble SeatAn open, fold up rear seat located where the trunk would be.
Running BoardThe metal strip running between the fenders and below the doors of early autos and trucks used as a step or to wipe one’s feet before entering the vehicle.
SectionedRemoving a horizontal section of bodywork to lower the overall height of the body.
Sedan DeliveryA two-door station wagon with solid body panels instead of windows on the sides at the back of the car.
ShavedDoor handles and body trim that have been removed and smoothed over.
SidemountA spare tire, recessed into the front fender.
Six-PackThree two-barrel carburetors.
SlammedA significantly lowered vehicle – dropped as low as possible and still driveable.
SleeperA vehicle that doesn’t look as fast as it is.
Split WindowUsually referring to the rear window – one that has two planes of glass with bodywork in between. Example: the 1963 Corvette.
Street MachineA street-legal highly modified car or truck built in 1949 or later.
Street RodA street-legal highly modified car or truck built in 1948 or earlier.
Suicide DoorA door that hinges at the rear.
SuperchargerA crank driven air-to-fuel mixture compressor which increases atmospheric pressure on the engine, resulting in added horsepower.
SurvivorAn original, unrestored, unmolested antique car that is in good enough condition to be used as a model for the restoration of a similar car.
T-BucketFenderless, topless, highly-modified, Ford Model T. Most T-Buckets on the road today are kit cars or replicars.
Trailer QueenDerogatory term referring to a car that is shown frequently yet rarely driven.
Tri-PowerAn engine with three two barrel carburetors.
TubbedHaving the rear frame and body modified to allow for extra-wide wheels and tires that do not protrude past the fenders.
TudorA two-door Ford sedan.
TunneledSee “Frenched” – only deeper.
VINVehicle Identification Number. The vehicle serial number that is stamped onto the vehicle, usually under the windshield post, the driver’s door post, or on the firewall.
VintageA vehicle built between 1915 and 1942 in stock or unmodified condition.
Wheelie BarsRods that extend from the back of a car and are connected to wheels that help keep the car from flipping backwards during sudden acceleration.
WoodyA vehicle that incorporates natural finished wood for structure of exposed body panels.

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