Hot Rod Dictionary...


A-400:Convertible two door sedan built by Ford prior to 1932.
A-Bone Model "A" Ford.
A-Pillar: The sheet metal section located on each side of the windshield between the roof and the main body that has to be cut when chopping the top.

Alky: Alcohol fuel for racing. aka;methyl alcohol or methanol, a very high-octane fuel.

AMC: Acronym for "American Motors Corp" an organization which merged with Chrysler Corporation.
Ardun heads: Created by Zora Arkus-Duntov (circa 1947), the Ardun Manufacturing company fabricated overhead valve cylinder heads with hemispherical combustion chambers that could be bolted to the Ford V-8 60(flathead) block. Precursor to the Chrysler "hemi," Ardun heads delivered serious horsepower gains for hot rodders and racers privileged enough to afford them.


B-400: Convertible two door sedan built by Ford in 1932.
Baby moons: Small smooth chrome hubcaps that cover just the lug nuts.
Balonies: Wide bad ass tires,usually on the rear.
Bang Shift: To quickly shift a standard transmission.
Banger: A colloquial term used to express the cylinders in an engine. Often used with a number such as "six banger".

Banjo Wheel: 1939 Ford steering wheel or other spoked wheel.
Blown Engine: A engine that has a Supercharger or a engine that exploded.
Basket Case: A project car that is mosty disassembled and must be literally carried home in baskets.
Base Model: The least expensive vehicle with the least amount of features as standard equipment.It has the smallest engine and often manual transmission as well as few power equipment. Base models constitute only a small percentage of the cars sold. Sometimes called a "stripper" or "stripped down" unit.

Bat-wing: The air cleaner off of 1953 to 1956 Caddys and Packards. Beast: A really ugly hotrod.
Beater: Everyday use car. Usually used to chase parts for the current project. Can be everything from a fairly new car to a beatup old pickup truck.

Belly pan: A custom fabricated underbody piece used to aid airflow under the car's body ? often made of sheet aluminum or steel.

Belly Tanker: See Lakester.
Bent Eight: Slang for a V-8. Drag plate- An aluminum car club plaque hung with chains so low it would either drag on the road or hit going up driveways or bumps.

Billet: A solid bar, round or square, usually made of aluminum of steel, from which a part is machined.
Binders:Slang term for a car's brakes.
Blower Drive: The belt and pulleys that drive a Supercharger.
Brain bucket: Helmet.
Bobbed: Shortened. Usually done to fenders or frame rails.
Boost: Intake manifold pressure generated by a Turbocharger or Supercharger.
Bored and Stroked: Engines that have had their cylinder walls enlarged and the crankshaft throw modified.
Bottom End: Refers to the lower portion of a engine and usually includes the crankshaft, flywheel, bearings and connecting rods.

Box: The transmission, but can also refer to adding reinforcement to the frame.
Bucket: Rod with a Model T body also called a 'Bucket T'.
Buggy Spring: Suspension based on front and rear solid axels and left over from horse and buggy days.
Bull Nose: Usually refers to a chrome trim piece for the top of a hood.
Bullet Nose: A Studebaker built in the late 40's and early 50's.


C Notch: A notch cut in the frame rails (lowered car) for rear axle clearance.
California Rake: Downward angle of a car with a dropped front suspension.
Cal-Neva: California-Nevada Timing Association.
Cam: Short for Camshaft, a engine piece that activates the valves.
Cammer: Any engine with an overhead camshaft.
Carson top: Removable hardtops made famous by the Carson Co. as early as the 30's, these tops were a hot trend in the early 50's for custom rodders. George and Sam Barris in Southern California were especially impressed with Carson Tops and applied several to their creations.

CC-ing: The accurate measuring of each cylinder or combustion chamber to equalize the volume in high performance engines.

CCs:1939 Ford Teardrop Headlights.
Channeled: Both a hot rod and custom term pertaining to dropping the car body over the frame to reduce the profile or overall height of the car. The process requires sectioning the firewall, cutting the perimeter of the floor pan and then welding back to desired height. For early hot rods and dry lakes cars, this was done to reduce wind resistance and lower the center of gravity for stability at high speeds. For custom rodders, it was often done for more aesthetic/artistic purposes.(aka: Channel Job)

Chop: Removing a section of the roofline horizontally to reduce its height.
CID: Refers to "Cubic Inch Displacement" of an engine.
Coach: Another term for a sedan. A car body with front and rear seat accommodations.
Coffin nail: Cigarette.
Colors: Club insignia.
Coupe: Basically any car with just a front seat.
Crank: Crankshaft but can also mean to go fast "Crank on It".
Cruise: To drive in a laid back fashion.
Custom: Any car that has been altered, or customized with major body modifications. See: Leadsled.


Dago Axle: Popular axle that was made in San Diego.
Deck: Removing the chrome and handles from the trunk or 'Decklid'.
Deuce: Nickname for a 1932 Ford.
Dig Out: Accelerate quickly.
Digger: A Dragster.
Drop the hammer: Rev up the engine and pop the clutch.
Dual set-up: Early hot rod term for an engine using a dual intake manifold equipped with two carburetors.
DuVall windshield: Streamlined split windshield.


EFI: Electronic Fuel Injection(replaces the carburetor)
E.T: Elapsed Time - the time it takes to run a quarter mile drag.
Elephant: Hemi.


Fadeaways: Custom rodder term where the extruded front fender section gradually flows into the rear extruded fender section while flowing with the cars body lines.

Fat: A over rich fuel mixture denote by excessive black smoke.
Fat Fendered: Term for cars built after 1935, and before 1949, which have larger more bulbous fenders than earlier cars.

Fragged: Blown engine or trans.
Free Breather: An engine where all the air to the cylinders is not forced in, as with turbo chargers or super chargers.

Fender Skirts: Panels covering the rear wheel well leaving only the bottom part of the rear wheels exposed.
Fill: Filling body seams with lead or body filler to lend a smoother appearance to the car.
Filled axle: A dropped axle that has both sides of the "I" beam section filled with metal at the bend to provide added strength.

Five Window: A coup body that have 5 windows, not counting the windshield.
Flathead: An engine with its valves located in the cylinder block rather than in the head. The head itself is a plain, flat casting. The term is used most to indicate a Ford V-8 engine built between 1932 and 1955. It could also indicate a Ford four-cylinder Model A, B, or C four-cylinder engine.

Flamed: Graphic representation of flames usually starting at the front a working towards the back of a hot rod.

Flame Throwers: A device to ignite unburned gases leaving the exhaust system.
Floor Pan: This just means the floor of a vehicle.
Fordor: Ford name for a four door sedan.
Four Banger: A four cylinder engine.
Four Barrel: A four cylinder engine or a type of carburetor.
Four on the Floor: Floor mounted shifter coupled to a four speed transmission.
French: Usually refers to recessing the headlights and removing the seam of the headlight trim ring, but can apply to other recessing.

Fuel Injected: A mechanical device that 'injects' or introduces fuel into a engine.


Gasser: A modified closed car that competes at drag races.
Gear Box: Transmission.
Gennie: A real bonifide dyed in the wool part or car. The real deal, not a remake or copy. Genuine.
Ghost Flames: See Flames, only these flames are usually the same color as the body only a few shades lighter or darker.

Grab Rails: Handles mounted on the body to help passengers enter the vehicle, usually a rumble seat.
Grill Shell: Decorative trim that goes around the radiator usually on cars built in the early 1930's.
Grocery Getter: A mild street rod that is used for a run to the store and back.
Gutted: A rod with its interior removed.
Goat: Pontiac GTO.
Gow job: An obscure pre-WWII term for a car with a modified engine, apparently derived from gow out.
Gow out: Early term meaning to accelerate rapidly.
Gook Wagon: 30 something Ford with about every Western Auto or J.C. Whitney accessory on it.
Guide lights: Externally mounted headlights with a small light attached to the top of the headlight housing.


Handeler: A rod that is easy to drive.
Haze the Hides: To spin and smoke the rear tires.
Headers: Individual exhaust pipes, in various shapes and diameters to reduce exhaust back pressure.
Hemi: A monster high performance engine produced by Chrysler with hemispherical heads.
Hides: Tires. (Ex: "Boil the hides" or to spin the rear tires).
High boy: Stock-body roadster with the stock fenders and bumpers removed ? usually, but not limited to, a 1932 Ford.

High Tech: Rods that combine customized bodies with billeted or steel dress up parts.
Hop up, hot iron: Pre-WWII terms for a car with a modified engine.
Hot Rod: Post-WWII (after 1945) term for a car with a modified engine.
Hot Licks: Flames painted on the side of a car.
Huffer: Blower.
Hydro: Automatic transmission (derived from the name Hydromatic, a GM transmission used in the 50's.
Hammer: Same as Chop.


In the Weeds: A really low vehicle or you have lost control of your ride and ended up in the ditch.
Igniter: The engines ignition system.


Jiggler: An early hot rodders term for a rocker arm.
Jimmy: Acronym for a GMC and can also refer to a Blower or Supercharger.
Jug: An early hot rodders term for a carburetor.
Juice: Fuel, Electricity or hydraulic fluid.
Juice brakes: Hydraulic brakes as opposed to mechanical brakes. Same as squirt brakes.


Kemp: A rod with a customized body.
Knock Offs: A special wheel system that is held in place with one large, quickly removed nut.


Lakes: The dry lakes in and around Southern California where hotrodders raced their cars.
Lake pipes: Chrome exhaust pipes running along the bottom edge of the vehicle with no mufflers.
Lake plugs: Exhaust cut outs.
Lakes Modified: A radically modified racer designed for racing at the dry lakes.
Lakester: Class designation (after 1950) of cars with custom-made bodywork that was streamlined but had exposed wheels.

Leadsled: Slang for a custom car derived from the use of lead as filler for smoothing custom body effects.
Lean it Out: To alter the fuel mixture to improve engine performance and use less fuel - done to extreme - will fry your engine.

Lid: An early hot rodders term for cylinder head.
Locked rear end: An early term for a straight-through drive system with the left and right rear axle shafts fused together at the ring gear. Commonly referred to today as "posi-traction".

Locker: A type of differential that helps prevent tire spin and distributes the engines torque evenly to the rear wheels.

Loud Petal: The accelerator petal.
Louvers: Vents or slots cut in and raised in various body panels especially the hood and trunk areas.
Louie: A left hand turn (see Roscoe).
Lowboy: A rod that has no fenders or running boards that is lowered over the frame (channeled).


Mag: Short for a wheel made with a Magnesium alloy - can also mean magneto.
Magneto: a self contained ignition system.
Mill: any engine.
Modified: A dry lakes class designation for a car which didn't fit in the roadster class, usually with a single-seat sprint-car-type body but cut off behind the driver. Regulations required that a Modified have a flat area of no less than 400in-sq behind the ****pit.

Molded: Filling and reshaping body panels and seams.
Moon Disks: Flat aluminum wheel covers.
Mouse Motor: A small block Chevy engine manufactured from 1955 to present day.
MRA: Muroc Racing Association.
MTA: Mojave Timing Association.


N.O.S: New Old Stock and refers to parts that are the original parts supplied by the vehicles manufacturer.
NOS: Nitrous Oxide System - mucho big horsepower.
Nail Head: A 1950's Buick engine.
Nerf: Short for Nerf Bars,  used toward off tires in open wheel racing cars, also refers to little bumperettes.
Newstalgia: Refers to a rod style that mimics the 50's and 60's and employs modern power plants, components and body panels.


Over-bore: An engine with the cylinders enlarged in diameter (bored) to accomodate larger pistons thus increasing cubic inch displacement.

Overhead: Term applied to engines with overhead valves, but used most often to describe early Ford flatheads (Model A, B, C, or V- 8 with Overhead valve conversions.

Overwind: A bad thing and means to run an engine faster in RPM then its designed limits.


Peanut butter drive: Early GM 2-speed powerglide Transmission.
Panel Delivery: Eearly commercial vehicle with two doors in front and two doors at rear for cargo.
Pearl: Paint with reflects 'Mother of Pearl' iridescent colors (oyster).
Peal Paint: A type of paint that is similar to metallic paint, but instead of minute metal particles it uses mica. Mica is a kind of semi transparent, crystalline mineral that absorbs and reflects light in prismatic fashion. This gives a dramatic, multi-dimensional effect to the paint. Sometimes called "pearl coat".

Pit Pins: Quick release pins that hold body panels in place.
Phaeton: An open two or four door sedan manufactured in the late 20's to the late 30's, that had no roll up windows.

Phone Booth: A 28 or 29 Model 'A' closed cab pickup.
Pin Stripe: Long narrow or cool shaped / designed painted stripes.
Ported: Intake and exhaust ports that have been enlarged and polished for max flow through the heads.
Poncho: Pontiac.
Pot: Early term for carburetor. (See also Jug).
Power Parker: People that arrive as early as possible to events and shows to get prime parking spots.
Prune: To beat badly in a dragrace.
Puffer: A supercharger.
Pumpkin: Rear differential.
Punched out: Bored engine.


Quick Change: Immortalized by Ted Halibrand, the quick change was a specially-made center section for an early Ford differential banjo housing which provided two changeable gears behind the ring and pinion assembly. By changing these gears, the overall drive ratio could be selected for a particular situation.


RPM: 'Revolutions Per Minute' or how many rotations an engines crankshaft completes in one minute.
Rag top: Convertible.
Rails: Refers to the frame side rails on cars before some idiot invented uni-body.
Rake: Refers to the forward or rearward leaning stance of a vehicle when viewed from the side.
Rat: A Big Block Chevy V8 engine e.g.: 396, 400, 427, and 454 cid.
Reacher: A dependable street rod.
Repop: See Repro.
Repro: Reproduction parts to match or replace NOS parts.
Relieving: Removal of the ridge in the top of the block resulting from counterboring during manufacture for the valve seat.

Resto Rod: A hot rod with a stock looking outer appearance but with modern running gear.
Reversed Eyes: The ends of a standard Ford transverse-leaf spring curled down and around the shackle pin. When these "eyes" were reshaped to curl upward, the car was lowered about 1.5 inches, without destroying the spring's effectiveness. In front, though, the clearance in the center between the spring and axle was reduced.

Ripple Discs: The smooth lines of these chrome plated hub caps were the "hot item" for custom rodders in the early 50's.

Roadster: A two seater to a 'Phaeton' - removable top ( no roll up side windows ).
Rock Crusher: Muncie 4-speed.
Rod: A short for Hotrod or Connecting Rod.
Rod Run: Event open to pre 62 only or can refer to any pre-ordained driving route as in a "Poker Run".
Roll Bar: A round tubular steel case made and designed to protect driver and vehicle in case of roll over.
Roll Cage: See Roll Bar.
Roller: Chassis that's completed enough to be rolled around on its own. Can also refer to a type of camshaft that uses roller lifters.

Roscoe: A right hand turn (seeLouie).
Rubber Rake: A rake achieved by the use of big tires in the back and little tires in the front.
Running on rails: Used to describe a car that is handling perfectly, as if it was literally attached to a rail.
RTA: Russetta Timing Association."Russetta" is Greek for "winged chariot."


Salt flats: Large expanse of caked salt at the west edge of the Great Salt Lake Desert in Utah about ten miles east of Wendover.
Sano: A rod that is absolutely spotless (sanitary).
Scallops: A graphic in the shape of a long narrow triangle usually starting from the front of a hotrod.
Scatter Shield: A protective enclosure at the rear of the engine to protect the driver in case a clutch explodes - also used on transmissions.

SCTA:Southern California Timing Association.
Scoop: A device mounted on the hood to force air into the engine at higher speeds.
Section: To remove a band of metal from around the middle section of a vehicle to reduce its overall height.
Sedan Delivery: A truck with two opening doors up front and one mother of a door in the rear.
Set-in: Popular practice among custom rodders of insetting the license plate inside the body panel so that the surrounding metal remains flush.

Shoe box: Nickname of a 49-51 Ford cars.
Single stick: Single overhead camshaft engine.
Skins: Early slang for tires.
Skirts: Short for Fender Skirts which cover wheel well openings in customs and hotrods or a reference to the fairer sex.

Slammed: A vehicle or hotrod that is as close to the ground as possible without actually touching.
Slush box: Auto trans.
Six in a row: Inline 6 cylinder engine.
Shaved: Removal of trim, door handles etc.
Shot rod: A rat type rod where the car is in pretty bad shape or in other words "shot", kaput, or unreliable.
Smoothy: Hotrod that has had all raised portions of the body removed incl moldings & sometimes chrome.
Speed shift: An extremely fast shift made while keeping the accelerator to the floor. It was mandatory that the synchronization of clutch and shift lever action be perfect, or the selected gear would probably be trashed. A good speed shift (from first to second) could leave an uninterrupted pair of black lines from the rear tires, starting from a dead stop to well into second gear.

Spots: Short for a spot light, also refers to disk brakes.
Squirt brakes: Hydraulic brakes(conversion from mechanical brakes), same as juice brakes.
Stacks: Short, individual exhaust stacks with which no collector is used. Also could refer to the short "velocity" stacks mounted on top of carburetors.

Steelies: Wheels made of steel or a marble made from knocking apart old ball bearings. Really Big old ball bearings.

Step Plates: Pads mounted on running boards or fenders to keep the paint or rubber matting from being scratched or getting dirty.

Stepped frame: Frame altered in such a manner as to make a big step in the longitudinal members in order to fit over the axle, thereby lowering the frame and the body.

Stick: Early slang for camshaft.
Stick Shift: A floor mounted gear shift lever.
Stone: Slow car.
Stones: Short for Firestone tires.
Stovebolt: Slang (only slightly derogatory) for the inline, six-cylinder Chevrolet engine. The term derives from the tact the cap screws holding the sump and front timing gear cover.

Streamliner: Pre-WWII designation of cars whose bodies were special-built and didn't qualify to run in the stock-body roadster class. The cars in this class had narrow bodies and exposed wheels (circa 1939). After 1949, when three full-bodied streamliners appeared (Lee Chapel, Xydias and Batchelor, and Howard johansen's twin-tank), the class included only those cars with full envelope bodywork. The open-wheeled cars then became referred to as lakesters.

Stroker: Engine with a crankshaft stroked above normal (See Stroking).
Stroking: Regrinding of the rod journals to move their center further away from the rotating center of the crankshaft, thereby increasing the stroke and swept volume of the cylinder.

Suede: Primer.
Suicide axle: Heavily modified suspension that lowwers the car.
Suicide knob (sometimes called necker's knob): rotating knob attached to steering wheel.
Supercharger: Mechanical device designed to force air into an engine at higher then atmospheric pressure.
Street Machine: Usually refers to a hot rodded car built after 1949.
Street Rod: Usually refers to a hot rodded car built before 1949.


T Bucket: A short, fenderless opened 'T' body hotrod.
TPI: Tuned Port Injection.
Tach: Short for Tachometer and a device to read engine RPM.
Tail job: Early Streamliner, usually using a sprint car body with a pointed tail.
Tank: Short for "belly tank" or "drop tank."
Teardrops: Used to describe bullet shaped parts. IE teardrop heatlights or tailights.
Three-on-the-tree: Column-shift mechanism for a three speed transmission.
Time: Hot rodders sometimes say "time" when they mean "speed," because the speed of a race car is calculated from the time it takes to cover a measured distance. So when a redder says, "My time was 200mph, " he means his time over the distance was equivalent to a speed of 200mph. Through the quarter-mile traps at the dry lakes, his actual time would have been 4.5sec..

Time traps: Measured distance over which a car is timed. At the dry lakes, the time traps are a quarter-mile long after a run up to speed of about a mile and a half. At quarter-mile drag strips, the traps are 132ft long,starting 66ft before the finish line and ending 66ft beyond it.

Timing tag: Brass plaque, about 2" x 3", listing entrant, speed, date, location, and timing group. If it was fast enough, the tag would likely be mounted on the instrument panel of the car, otherwise, it was hidden.

Touring: See 'Phaeton'.
Trad Rad: A street rod built in the styles of the 50's and 609's rods.
Track Nose: Streamlined grill.
Trailer queen: Any hot rod that isnt driven and the owner trailers it to shows.
Tranny: Short for Transmission.
Tub: A touring car or Phaeton can also refer to enlarging the wheel well size to accommodate very large tires, usually in the rear.

Tubbed: To increase the wheel well size to accommodate very large tires usually at the rear axle.
Tudor: Ford name for a two door sedan.
Tuck and Roll: A cool style of upholstery.
Tuned header: A "tuned" header is a perfected header where each individual tube has the exact same length between the flange and collector, resulting in equal back pressure.

Two Club: The 200 MPH Club at Bonneville, for drivers who run two-way averages of 200mph or more.
Two-port job: A Model A or B block with a two-intake-port head (usually applies to a Riley head).


U Joints: Short for Universal Joints and these are located on each end of a drive shaft.
Uncorked: Running without mufflers.
Unlimited: Pre-WWII class for cars with large engines, such as Marmon or Cadillac V-16s, or cars with supercharged engines.


V Butting: Hot rod and Custom technique of mating two flat windshield sections together at the center after the center post has been removed.

Vicky: See Victoria.
Victoria: A sporty two door sedan body that featured a different rear body panel style.


Wedge: A type of Chrysler engine with wedge shaped combustion chambers in the heads.
Whitewall: Tires that have a concentric white line. Some are up to four inches wide and called "wide whitewall."

Wide Weenies: Large rear tires.
Wires: Spoked Wire Wheels.
Woodie: A station wagon with wood paneling and no I am not going there either.
WTA: Western Timing Association.


X Member: The center portion of a frame where the frame rails meet or cross.


Y Block: A cylinder block with deep pan rails.


Z'd Frame: An effect used to lower a car without effecting suspension geometry. The effect consisted of cutting part of the chassis, raising it and re-welding it to form a "Z" shape when viewed from the side. This allowed for more clearance for the rear differential or front axle to ride higher in the chassis thus decreasing the car's overall ground clearance.

Zephyr Gears: First and second gears from a Lincoln Zephyr transmission could be fitted into a Ford or Mercury transmission and were popular because of their lower gear ratios (higher gears). A roadster that would do 40mph in first and 7Omph in second could achieve probably 60mph in first and 90mph in second with Zephyr gears fitted.

Zoomy: A wild street rod with open exhaust pipes.

No comments:

Post a Comment