Car Terms – Whaaat?

Guest writer, SUE, runs through a list of car terminology.

The only reason I learnt to drive was to get from one place to another without bothering anyone to chauffeur me. I don’t necessarily need to know car jargon, but I don’t want to feel left out or look like an ignoramus (although the truth is that I’m just not interested). Plus, it doesn’t hurt to know and I’ll look as if I know what I’m talking about, right? So, here are the terms that I have never ever heard of until now, with the exception of 710:


A British term for ‘convertible’, most commonly used by Rolls-Royce. Just because ‘convertible’ is apparently too common.


The lower edges of the windows of the car form the beltline.


Bet some of you guys don’t know what ‘710’ is but I do *haha* (thanks, MAC). It is OIL when seen upside down. Needs no further explanation.


I chose this because of its name (if you know what I mean). It is the main shaft of an engine through which the power produced during combustion is transferred to the transmission, and ultimately to the wheels as torque. Its rotation results from the reciprocating motion of the pistons.

Suicide Doors

Car doors that open from the front rather than the rear, by being hinged at its rear. Although most often seen for rear doors of 4-door cars, several early models had suicide style front doors. Some of the last suicide doors to appear on American cars were on the 1960s Lincolns. Mazda introduced RX8 which brought back this obscure idea in 2002.


The space in the engine block under the crankshaft into which oil drains from its various applications.


A slang for an automatic transmission.

Muscle Car

A term which had its beginnings in the mid 50s, to refer to cars with very high horsepower. The term is still in use today. Occasionally, it is called a ‘pony car’ in USA. The Aston Martin Vanquish is a perfect example (read my article on 007s and their Aston Martins).


If you’ve ever stepped on the brakes and felt your tyres start to skid, you’ve experienced a lockup.


The environmentally safe refrigerant now used in air conditioning systems. It requires a slightly bulkier condenser unit than the older R-12 type. Vehicles equipped with R-12 systems can be converted to use R-134a. X-1R’s Air Conditioner Treatment 134a, anyone?


No comments yet! You be the first to comment.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *