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    Custom car


    • A custom car is a passenger vehicle that has been substantially modified in either of the following two ways

      Although the two are related, custom cars are distinct from hot rods. The extent of this difference has been the subject of debate among customizers and rodders for decades. Additionally, a street rod can be considered a custom.

      A development of hot rodding, the change in name corresponded to the change in the design of the cars being modified. The first hot rods were pre-World War II cars, with running boards and simple fenders over the wheels. Early model cars (1929 to 1934) were modified by removing the running boards and either removing the fenders entirely or replacing them with very light cycle fenders. Later models usually had fender skirts installed.

      Coachcraft Ltd. in Hollywood, California, built several modified cars that are generally regarded as the first examples of "custom cars", in contrast to a custom-bodied coachbuilt car that was commonly purchased new by wealthy people in the 1930s. The firm was started by ex-employees of Howard "Dutch" Darrin, who had designed and built the custom-bodied luxury cars that came before. Strother MacMinn called the "Yankee Doodle Roadster" by Coachcraft the “first American custom sports car." Many pictures of this car can be seen by looking at the web pages in these references:

      Many cars were "hopped up" with engine modifications such as adding additional carburetors, high compression heads and dual exhausts. Engine swaps were done, the object of which was to put the most powerful engine in the lightest possible frame and body combination.

      The suspension was usually altered. Initially this involved lowering the rear end as much as possible with the use of lowering blocks on the rear springs. Later cars were given a rake job either adding a dropped front axle or heating front coil springs to make the front end of the car much lower than the rear.

      Much later some hot rods and custom cars swapped the old solid rear axle for an independent rear axle, often from Jaguar. Sometimes the grille of one make of car replaced by another; the 1937 Buick grille was often used on a Ford. In the 1950s and 1960s, the grille swap of choice was the 1953 De Soto.



      • Rat rod: imitates (or exaggerates) the "unfinished" and amateur-built appearance of hot rods of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s
      • Restomod - restored and modernized. Safety and convenience upgrades, such as disc brakes, AC, etc., but can include fuel injection and overdrive upgrades, etc. Externally might resemble a stock car with period correct mods rather than customs.
      • Street machines: Typically American cars with large-displacement engines modified for speed and often appearance.
      • Street rod - consist largely of period specific vehicles and components, or emmulate visual characteristics of cars through the'40s vintage. There is a great deal of overlap here with hot rods. See street rod definition below.
      • Muscle Cars are the Cars Before the year 2000 that were Customized and Modified for the Best Performance
      • Tweeners - early 1960s cars between the styles of 1950s and the muscle cars.
      • Modern: The style of contemporary cars. Most often contemporary components and paint finishes of modern cars are used.
      • NOTE: Types overlap and blend often impossible to classify.
      • The model year is rarely given in full, except when it might be confused, so a 1934 model is a '34, while a 2005 might be an '05 or not.
        • A '32 is usually a Deuce and most often a roadster, unless coupé is specified, and almost always a Ford.
        • A 1955, 1956, or 1957 is usually a Chevrolet.
        • A 1955, 1956, or 1957 Chevrolet is often called a Tri-Five.
      • A 3- or 5-window is usually a Ford, unless specified.
      • A flatty is a flathead V8 (always Ford, unless specified); a late (or late model) flatty is probably a Merc.
      • A hemi ("hem ee") is always a 426, unless displacement (331, 354, or 392) is specified; a 426 is a hemi, unless Wedge is specified. See baby hemi.
      • A 392 is an early hemi.
        • A 331 or 354 is known to be an (early) hemi, but rarely referred to as such
      • A 270 "Jimmy" was a 270 cubic inch GMC truck engine often used to replace a smaller displacement Chevrolet six cylinder.
      • Units are routinely dropped, unless they are unclear, so a 426 cubic inch (in³) displacement engine is simply referred to as a 426, a 5-liter (litre) displacement engine is a 5.0 ("five point oh"), and a 600 cubic feet per minute (cfm) carburetor is a 600. Engine displacement can be described in cubic inches or liters (for example, a 5.7-liter engine is also known as a 350 {"three fifty"}); this frequently depends on which units the user is most comfortable or familiar with.
      • A '32 is usually a Deuce and most often a roadster, unless coupé is specified, and almost always a Ford.
      • A 1955, 1956, or 1957 is usually a Chevrolet.
      • A 1955, 1956, or 1957 Chevrolet is often called a Tri-Five.
      • A 331 or 354 is known to be an (early) hemi, but rarely referred to as such
      • 3 deuces — arrangement of three 2-barrel (twin-choke) carburetors; distinct from Six Pak and Pontiac and Olds Tri-Power (also 3x2 arrangements)
      • 3-window — 2-door coupé; so named for having rear window and one door window on each side
      • 3 on the tree — three-speed manual transmission operated by a steering column mounted shifter.
      • 4 on the floor — four-speed manual transmission operated by a floor mounted shifter.
      • 5-window — 2-door coupé; so named for having rear window plus one door window and one quarter window on each side
      • 97s — Stromberg carburetors
      • A-bone — Model A coupé
      • Appletons (sometimes Appleton spots) — spotlights, mounted in the A-pillars, similar to those used by police cars. Decorative but used through the 1950s as driving lights because headlights were poor, roads were narrow with no white lines at the edges, and there were no speed limits on most highways. Not much traffic either, especially at night.
      • Ardun - Ford flathead V8 hemi heads designed by Zora Arkus Duntov (later known as THE Corvette guy)
      • Baby moons - chrome small smooth convex hubcaps covering the wheel lug area. Full moons covered the entire wheel.
      • Baby hemi, baby elephant. Dimensionally small early 1950s Chrysler corporation small cubic inch hemi V8s, 241 to 325 cid. Often used in the 1950s in hot rods.
      • Barn fresh, barn find— a newly discovered vehicle typically found in storage (i.e. a barn, etc.), either long forgotten or abandoned, still in its original condition from when it was first stored
      • Blue oval — Ford product (for the Ford badge)
      • Blue dots —
        • Pontiac tail lights
        • Any taillight equipped with a blue crystal to give it a "purple-ish" appearance when illuminated. Illegal in many states.
      • Bondo — brand name for a body filler putty, often used as a generic term for any such product
      • Bowtie (sometimes Red Bowtie) — Chevrolet product (for the badge; the red bowtie refers Chevrolet Motorsport's logo)
      • Bugcatcher intake — large scoop intake protruding through hood opening, or on cars with no hood.
      • Bullnosing — Replacing the hood ornament with a "bullnose" chrome strip or filling the mounting hole with lead.
      • Cabriolet (or cabrio) — A vehicle with a removable or retractable cloth top, characterized by integrated door window frames and crank up glass.
      • Cherry — like new
      • Channeled or channeling - lowering a vehicle by cutting out the floor and mounting the body lower on the frame rails.
      • Chopped — removing a section, usually of the window posts, to lower the roofline of a vehicle.
      • Cobra killers - decorative wheel centers that stick out excessively 3-5 inches and have flipper qualities for more visual attraction.
      • Convertible — retractable top car with no integral door window frames like the cabriolet. Has roll up glass in doors as opposed to roadsters that do not.
      • C.I.D. (sometimes Cubic Inches or Inches) — cubic inches displacement
      • Crank — crankshaft
      • Cutouts - stub exhaust pipes installed behind the front wheels that allow uncapping for noise and power. In the 1950s were home made from gas tank filler necks with gas caps and water pipes with screw on caps.
      • Dagmars — large front bumper "bullets"the actress) younger folks call them Dollys
      • Dollys - Dagmars, after the country singer, Dolly Parton.
      • Decked — trunklid trim removed
      • Deuce —
      • Duvall windshield — a v-shaped windshield with a center post, as opposed to the typical stock straight-across type.
      • Elephant — Chrysler 426 Hemi (see baby hemi)
      • Fat-fender — 1934-48 (U.S.) car
      • Flatty — flathead engine (usually refers to a Ford; when specified, the Mercury-built model)
      • Fordillac ("for di lack") — Ford with transplanted Cadillac V8 engine
      • Frenched —
        • Antenna sunken into the body or fender
        • Headlight slightly sunken into fender
        • Tail lights slightly sunken into body or fender
      • Gennie — genuine
      • Hairpins — radius rods
      • Hiboy (or highboy) — fenderless, but not lowered Distinct from gasser.
      • Hopped up - A stock engine modified to increase performance
      • Humpback or hump. Late 1930s sedans with a prominent rear trunk. See 37 Ford sedans. Opposite of slantback/ smoothback.
      • Inches — CID
      • Indian (also "Tin Indian") — Pontiac (for the grille badge)
      • Jimmy (or Jimmy Six) — GMC straight 6
        • Any GMC product
      • Lead sled — customized vehicle where lead has been melted and adhered to a metal body to smooth its surface, as filler. (Lead has since been replaced by Bondo.)
      • Lakes pipes — straight exhaust pipes that run along the lower edge of a rod, typically near the rocker panels, without mufflers. The name comes from their original use on cars used on dry lakes by land speed racers.
      • Loboy (or low boy, lowboy) — fenderless and lowered
      • Mag
        • magnesium wheel, or steel or aluminum copy resembling one such
        • magneto
      • Mill — any internal combustion engine on such a vehicle
      • Moons (or Moon discs; incorrectly, moon discs) — plain flat chrome or aluminum hubcaps, originally adopted by land speed racers. Smaller examples are "baby moons". Named for Dean Moon.
      • Mouse — small-block Chevy
      • Nailhead — an early Buick V8
      • Nerf bars — bumper horns
      • NOS — : original-manufactured part, never installed, often in original packaging.
      • Nosed — hood trim removed
      • Phaeton - 4 dr. ragtop "roadster" also called a touring
      • Phantom — body style never built by the original manufacturer (a term also adopted by model kit builders)
      • Pinched rails - when deuce frame rails are narrowed under a Model A, which has a narrower front body.
      • QJ — Quadrajet (Rochester 4-barrel)
      • Q-jet — Quadrajet
      • Ragtop — convertible
      • Rat —Chevrolet Big-block
      • Repop — reproduction (not NOS)
      • Resto — restoration, or restored
      • Roadster - A two door with removable or retracting top. No roll up side glass like true convertibles, usually snap on ising glass.
      • Rockcrusher — Muncie M22 4-speed transmission
      • Rake job — car with suspension modified to lower the front end
      • Rocket — Oldsmobile, in particular their early V8s. A reference to the marque's logo.
      • Sabrinas (Britain) — bumper bullets, similar to Dagmars. Named after Italian Europop singer..
      • SBC — Chevrolet small-block engine
      • SBF — Small-block Ford, usually one of the Ford Windsor engines
      • Sectioning — removing an entire horizontal section of the body or top to bottom. Not to be confused with "chopping".
      • Shoebox — '49-'54 Ford or 1955-57 Chevrolet (for the slab-sided appearance)
      • Skirts - Covers installed on the openings on rear fenders
      • Slantback — sedan with forward-angled but straight rear window and sheetmetal. Also referred to as slick back, slicky, smoothback, smoothy. Distinct from straightback. Also see humpback.
      • Smoothies - chrome steel wheels with no brake vent holes. Usually with baby moons or spiders.
      • Sombreros — '47-'51 Cadillac hubcaps
      • Souped (souped up) — hopped up, performance improved (more common in 1940s and 1950s)
      • Spiders - a decrotive chrome insert covering the bearing grease cover and lugs nuts.
      • Spinner knobs, suicide knobs - an egg sized knob mounted on the steering wheel to assist rapid turning. Many cars needed 5 or more turns of the wheel from full right to full left. Knobs often had pin-up girl pictures.
      • Steelies — stock steel rims
      • Stock — original equipment
      • Stone stock — all-original (usually referring to a project's starting condition); unmodified ("'53 Merc with a stone stock 350").
      • Stovebolt — Chevy straight 6
      • Straightback — sedan with vertical rear window and sheetmetal. (Known as squareback in the VW community.)
      • Street rod - A modified car licensed for use on streets and highways. --Traditionally designated as '48 and older by enthusiasts, SEMA, and states that issue specific street rod license plates. '49 and newer receive custom car plates. Antique, street rods, custom rod, and normal plates carry different rules under SEMA rules for state applied licenses.
      • Studillac ("stewed i lack") — Studebaker with transplanted Cadillac V8 engine
      • Suicided — changed from front- to rear-hinged ("suicide door")
      • Suicide front end — a front axle configuration where it is mounted forward of the front cross member or the end of the frame rails.
      • Suicide knob - see spinner knob
      • Taildragger - A vehicle lowered more in the rear than front. Often seen on leadsleds. Often a regionalized trend.
      • Tin Indian — Pontiac (for the grille badge)
      • Toploader — Ford 4-speed manual transmission
      • Touring — see Phaeton
      • Track T — Model T roadster built in the style of a dirt track race car
      • Trailer queen — pejorative term used in some circles for pure show cars which are never driven
      • Tri-Five — 1955, 1956, or 1957 Chevrolet
      • Tuck-and-roll — upholstery technique creating a "pleated" look
      • Tunneled — deeply sunken into fender
      • V-butted (or vee-butted) — with windshield center post deleted, original panes meeting in the middle (distinct from fitting a one-piece windshield), or to make such a change ("the windshield was vee-butted", "he vee-butted the windshield")
      • Vicky — Victoria body style
      • Weedburners - downward pointing zoomies
      • Wide whites — wide-stripe whitewall tires, typical of the 1950s, as opposed to modern ones
      • Woodie — Typically a station wagon manufactured by most of the major manufacturers where much of the body behind the firewall was replaced with wood construction.
      • Zoomie pipes (or zoomies) — short exhaust pipes with no mufflers, used for racing, or just for show (not street legal) Usually one pipe per cylinder. Pointing upwards called zoomies. Downwards are weed burners.
      • Pontiac tail lights
      • Any taillight equipped with a blue crystal to give it a "purple-ish" appearance when illuminated. Illegal in many states.
      • rarely, 1932 model of any manufacturer.
      • Antenna sunken into the body or fender
      • Headlight slightly sunken into fender
      • Tail lights slightly sunken into body or fender
      • Any GMC product
      • magnesium wheel, or steel or aluminum copy resembling one such
      • magneto
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