There is a lingo to every group and the car guy culture is no exception to the rule.


There is a language of the street when it comes to car guys and sometimes it may seem a little like a baffling foreign language to people who are not around it enough to fully understand it.


So MSCC has decided to provide a short primer so that people can understand a car guy conversation this summer at the shows.


The terms will be a light workout for most of our readers, but we still want to be as informative as possible to everybody who clicks on our site.


The term “slammed” will come up a lot in busy restaurants where the staff are overwhelmed with customers. Slammed is also a term for a car or truck that has been lowered closer to the ground for a cooler look on the street.




Guys like George Barris were early pioneers in the slammed custom look and it remains a big part of the current custom philosophy.


One way to slam a car is to “channel” it. A car’s floors are moved to a higher point in the body so it will rest on the frame closer to the ground.




Sometimes car guys will also “chop” a car. That means that he has taken some height out of the roofline by removing segments of the roof pillars.


The term “tubbed will be heard in car guy circles and it will mean that the owner has widened the rear wheel wells so that his street machine can accommodate a stiffer rear end and very fat tires that can handle a monster horsepower upgrade.




“On the bottle” may sound like a newborn kid who has not yet gotten old enough to discover the horror story of baby food flavors, but it has a different meaning in car guy world. It means that the car has a nitrous oxide bottle that will provide a giant but temporary horsepower boost for its engine when the driver hits a button that injects the gas into the combustion process.




“Tall gears” is a term that means the driver wants to drive his vehicle at higher speeds and avoid working his engine too hard. The engine will not be screaming at high speeds because the higher gear ratios in the rear end do not spin as rapidly and thus force the engine to spin more rapidly in the process.




“Short gears” means that the car guy is looking for maximum torque from his vehicle, usually because he wants to climb mountains in his four wheel drive truck or gain an instant speed advantage for a short quarter mile drag race. The name of the game is brute force power from high engine revolutions in both instances and engines that need to get there in a hurry from the lower gear ratios.


“Shaved” means that the vehicle will now lack door handles because they have been taken off the car for a sleeker look.




Frenched” is a little different term when applied to cars. It means that the headlights, tail lights or antenna have been moved closer into the sheet metal, again for a sleeker custom look on the vehicle.




These terms will get you started in car guy world translation.


We will re-visit this subject again sometime in the future because there is plenty of other car jargon that still needs a translation.


Jim Sutherland

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