Last year we ran two articles about the language of car guys.


New visitors to the car hobby may wonder just what exactly are these car guys saying when they lapse into the lingo of the hobby.


This is a fair question that can be answered pretty easily by our MSCC primers.





Detroit Locker is a term that may be heard whenever two or more car guys are gathered in one place, to paraphrase ‘The Wedding Song’ by Paul Stookey. It may seem to indicate a feature in the dressing room of the Lions or Red Wings, but it is a car part.


In fact, the Detroit Locker is a positive traction differential that is designed to eliminate one problem: burning off only one tire when you do a smoke show with your car. A positive traction rear end means that your car will have full and equal power to both rear wheels instead of just one rear wheel, so you will get to buy two rear tires instead of one after you burn up the street or track.


The actual intent is to deliver equal power, get better grip and blow away your rival in a quarter mile showdown so the posi-trac rear ends are an absolute must for serious drag racers.




Some car guys may bring up something called a stall convertor when they talk amongst themselves. They are talking about a torque convertor upgrade that allows them to get to a higher RPM and make the maximum use of their horsepower and torque.


A general rule is that an engine that has been upgraded into the monster category for muscle will need a high RPM stall convertor to bury the competition, with 3000 RPM stall and up stall convertors as a basic standard for a beefier torque convertor.


The engine will begin to realize most of its maximum potential at higher RPMs and most car guys will want to get everything they possible can out of their hot rod engine investment.




There may be occasions when you will hear talk about a “double-pumper” in the company of car guys. There was a time before fuel injection when carburetors ruled the planet and they are still a familiar part of the car guy culture in 2013.


The carbs typically left the factory in two or four barrel versions that mixed the gas and air shortly before they headed for an explosion in the piston chambers. Hotter performance was produced by the four barrel carbs because they delivered more volume of the air/fuel mixture to the rest of the process in the engine.


The problem was one accelerator pump was not enough to deliver their end of the bargain, so performance four-barrel carburetors added a second accelerator pump so they could deliver enough gas and air to the other two barrels in the four barrel family.


They became known as double-pumpers and they were (and still are) a must for any car guy who wants to get the most bang for his buck.


So today’s car guy jargon is all about three important factors: big horsepower from double pumpers, proper high stall torque convertors to maximize RPMs and a Detroit Locker to deliver equal power to the rear wheels.


Combine all three of our car guy lingo lessons and you may be able to understand enough of the language to get by at this year’s car shows.’


Another public service educational message brought to you from the good folks at MSCC.

Jim Sutherland

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