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Hagerty Employee

Do you speak hot-rodder? 35+ terms for high-powered fluency

Car lovers have a language all their own, and each sub-genre of car culture has its own dialect. The meanings of some words are immutable, while others change wildly over time and in different regions. Just try to get five people to figure out what “muscle car” truly means. Despite the debates that rage on, we’ve picked out some common terms to help explain some essential hot rod and custom jargon, along with photos to help out.


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Intermediate Driver

edit the 3/4 cam meaning street and track use.. Uncorked was disconnecting mufflers, we defined powershifting as not letting off the accelerator between shifts i.e. under full power shifts,, roller motor had a roller cam, lifters and rocker arms,

Don't forget that some of those cars ran on "cheater slicks" - essentially slick tires with a few grooves cut in to make them barely street legal.


And who are the world champions of hotrod jargon dropping? I'll give you 2 hints:
"My 4 speed, dual quad, positraction 409!"

"She's ported and relieved and she's stroked and bored."


The Beach Boys were champions of only plagiarism...

I think you need a copy of "A is for A-Bone, Big A's Dubious Little Book of Hot Rod Slang".


boy, if that doesn’t take you back to when doing-woo was done on every corner for the dollies and it lucky, recorded in a church to the organ accompaniment...

it was supposed to be do-wop...
New Driver

For engines, how about "Ported and Polished" , "Balanced and Blueprinted" both terms referring to bringing the original castings/forgings to what they were designed as, as opposed to what they were as the end result of the casting.
"Chopped and Dropped" had both the ride height, and the body modified
"Blown" meant a supercharger.
"Fish Hooks= Fish Tails" (Fish Hooks you made without moving forward)
Never heard of "Titles" before, we always raced for "Pinks" (I know of no one who ever followed through, it was all about bragging rights!)
Anyone who has ever operated an impact gun at low speed has to know what an "Ugga Dugga" is.
4 "Ugga Duggas " is what it takes to torque a wheel stud!