The following list of terms is an on-going collection, gathered from all over the world. Please send additions, corrections to: TheMotorClub21@yahoo.com
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An early car term referring to the first convertibles.
Commonly used to describe the earliest vehicles, generally those built before 1950.
The first pair of structural posts supporting the roof and windshield.
Early vehicle with two rows of seats on the order of a carriage. They typically did not have doors, roofs or windshields. Sometimes called a touring car in the US.
Early sport cars designed for racing. They typically did not have doors or roofs.
The shape of the back end of early race vehicles, such as the Barchetta. It looks like the bow of a boat and is commonly referred to as a Boattail.
An early word for a two-door sedan.
Refers to a vehicle with a V-shaped back end, like the bow of a boat. A common streamline effect used in early race cars, such as the Barchetta. Also known as a Bateau shape.
An English term for the hood of an American car.
An English term for the trunk of an American car.
The pair of structural posts following the A-Pillars and front doors.
Commonly used to describe a car with a closed in passenger compartment behind an open driver’s seat. The term may also refer to any early vehicle with doors and a roof. Also known as a Coupe Chauffeur and a Coupe Limousine.
The term refers to a change or variation in the factory procedures, indicated by the Vehicle Identification Number.
The shape of the front end, resulting from the style of radiator.
A basic, low-end, two-door coupe that did not include unnecessary amenities such as a radio or rumble seat.
An early French term meaning folding top, or convertible, but used liberally in the US to meet the whims of manufacturers. The English term is a Drophead Coupe.
A design incorporated into flat panels to give them strength.
An early English term referring to the seating arrangement: two standard seats up front and two smaller, 'occasional' seats in the rear.
The definition varies widely. The Classic Car Club of America states that it refers to vehicles built between 1925 and 1942. The Consumer’s Guide places it in the 1960’s. However many people think of a classic as any vehicle more than 20 years old.
A two-door hard-top with a small rear seat.
The early name for a pinstripe: a thin line of paint contrasting to the body color.
A contradiction in terms. Used by some manufacturers in the 1930s to intimate the feel of a sport car.
A four passenger, two-door, two-window convertible.
A folding, soft top attached to the body (rather than removable). The term and style can be applied to a two-door coupe or four-door sedan. Also known as a Drophead Coupe in England and a Cabriolet in France.
An open compartment for the chauffeur followed by a closed compartment for passengers. Also known as a Brougham and a Coupe Limousine.
Originally any car with a fixed roof over the rear seat and a convertible roof over the front seat. Commonly used in recent years to describe a roof with the front half covered in fabric to look like the original. Also known as a Town Coupe.
An open compartment for the chauffeur followed by a closed compartment for passengers. Also known as a Brougham and a Coupe Chauffeur.
A two-door vehicle without a rear seat. A coupe with a small backseat is generally referred to as a Club Coupe.
Ford used this term to describe a Model T, two-seat Cabriolet.
The third pair of structural posts, following the B-Pillars, supporting the roof and rear window.
Free standing fenders that conform to the shape of the tire, like those used on a bicycle or motorcycle.
A sliding roof that covers the front seat.
An English term for an external seat in the rear of the car, known in the US as a Rumble Seat.
An English term for convertible. Also known as a Cabriolet in France.
A touring car driver’s compartment with a front and rear seat. It also has a second, folding windshield to protect backseat occupants.
The early version of a station wagon.
A coupe built to look like a Cabriolet.
A term used to describe early radiator grills that look like the mask a fencer uses.
The part of the body specially shaped to accommodate a wheel and tire.
Fixed Head Coupe
A hardtop coupe.
A name used by Ford for a four-door sedan.
The steel structure that supports the body, engine, suspension and drive train.
A ‘tear drop’ body style, tapered to the rear.
A device attached to carburetor to limit the engine’s speed.
Gran Turismo (GT)
An Italian term, commonly used by US manufacturers, meaning ‘grand touring’.
A removable top made from fiberglass or steel and usually painted the same color as the body of the car.
The second and third pillars that the door hinges are attached to.
The American term for engine cover. In England the hood is called a bonnet and a convertible top is called a hood.
According to the Horseless Carriage Club of America, this term applies to vehicles built before 1915.
A wide range of home made and backyard maintained vehicles from the 1930's through the 1970's.
Originally a limousine with an open driver’s compartment, front and back seats facing each other, and a two-part convertible roof (like a Brougham). In recent years US manufacturers used the term to describe a cloth-covered fixed top.
An early Landau-style limousine with a convertible passenger compartment.
The mechanism that grabs a striker to hold a door closed.
A specially built vehicle designed for passenger comfort and a professional driver. The wheelbase is longer than the original vehicle and the passenger compartment is isolated from the driver by some form of barrier. It can contain most anything the owner desires, such as TV, wet-bar, exotic music system, communications, etc..
A model or grand of automobile with no specific meaning.
A single rear seat facing the side.
Medium-size cars with large displacement engines built between 1964 and 1972.
Original Equipment Manufacturer. The term is generally used to distinguish between parts made by the original builder and the aftermarket.
A condition where a dent in metal will ‘pop’ in and out, like the bottom of an oil can.
A two door hardtop with a small folding passenger seat, for easy access to the rear seat.
- Refers to an open vehicle. Apparently comes from the open chariot Phaethon that the son of the Greek sun god Helios drove.
A thin line of paint contrasting to the body color. Originally called a coach-line.
Quarter Window or Quarter Light
Also known as a wind wing. A small triangular window between the windshield A-pillar and front door window, or between the rear door window and C-pillar.
Also known as a soft top. A slang term for a convertible top made out of fabric.
A bow shape of wood or metal that supports a convertible top.
An open vehicle with a bench seat in front and a rumble seat or luggage compartment in the rear.
Metal tubing structurally shaped to protect the heads of occupants if a vehicle should roll over.
An external seat in the rear of the car. The English call it a Dickey.
A small, open vehicle.
An early body style with a convertible half-top that only covers the rear seat.
Originally, a car built for wealthy hunters. It now refers to custom built, luxury cars like the Bentley.
A slang term for a convertible top made out of fabric. Another slang term is rag top.
A two-door convertible.
A small roadster, such as the Porsche 550 and Toyota MR2.
SS or Super Sport
A sporty designation used by General Motors.
A four-door vehicle extended for a third seat or luggage area, with a rear door or tailgate.
The pillar that the door striker is attached to.
A post or pin that a door latch mechanism grabs to hold the door closed.
A seven passenger model vehicle produced by General Motors.
A rear-hinged door. So named because if it is opened while moving the wind will push it open.
The rear door of a station wagon.
A two-door coupe with removable hard top panel(s) over the front seat.
Three Position Coupe
A Coupe deVille with a roof that can be closed completely, similar to the deVille extension, or opened completely like a convertible.
Originally the rear seating area, but now the term is usually used to refer to a rear storage area.
A fabric cover to protect the tonneau area of a vehicle.
An early touring car, like the Phaeton and Baquet.
A four-door open design that has no windows or top, like the Baquet.
A town car that can be opened like a convertible.
A chauffeur driven car with the passengers fully enclosed and the chauffeur exposed, like a Sedanca, deVille or Brougham.
Rear storage compartment.
Ford coined the word ‘Tudor' to mean two doors.
The first twelve-cylinder engine produced by Packard.
Refers to a vehicle frame that runs under the axles.
‘Uni’ stands for ‘unitized’ and refers to a body and frame that are manufactured as one component.
A touring car with a convertible top over the rear seat.
Vehicles built in the 1950’s.
Vis a Vis
The term means face to face and refers to the seating arrangement in the passenger compartment.
A patented method for building out of wood and metal, while preventing contact and squeaks.
Predecessor to the window crank. A strap attached to the base of a window allowing the window to be pulled up. The strap has a series of holes that can be hooked on an inside pin to hold the window at various levels.
An English term for windshield.
The front window of a vehicle. Also known as a windscreen.
A small triangular window between windshield A-pillar and front door window, or between the rear door window and C-pillar. Also knows as a Quarter Window or Quarter Light.
An English term for fender.
A radiator cover with louvers that can be opened and closed to control air flow, thereby controlling engine temperature.
Originally referred to vehicles made out of wood but now is a slang term for a vehicle with wood covering part of the body.